Given that gluten-freealthough an inflated marketisn’t a trend that’s going anywhere any time soon, finding alternatives to traditional wheat flour for bakery items has been a challenge for the industry. A new study published in the Journal of Food Science found navy bean flour may offer a healthy gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in cake (published online April 28, 2015).
In the study, whole navy bean flour and its fine and coarse particle size fractions were used to completely replace wheat flour in cakes. Replacement of wheat flour with whole-bean flour significantly increased the protein content. The protein content was adjusted to three levels with navy bean starch. The effect of navy bean flour and its fractions at three levels of protein on cake batter rheology and cake quality was studied and compared with wheat flour samples. Batters prepared from navy bean flour and its fractions had higher viscosity than the cake flour. Reducing the protein content by addition of starch significantly lowered the viscosity of cake batters. The whole navy bean flour and coarse bean fraction cakes were softer than cakes made with wheat flour but had reduced springiness. Principal component analysis showed a clear discrimination of cakes according to protein. It also showed that low-protein navy bean flour cakes were similar to wheat flour cakes. Navy bean flour with protein content adjusted to the level of cake (wheat) flour has potential as a healthy alternative in gluten-free cakes.