Gums Tackle Gluten-FreeGums Tackle Gluten-Free
August 2, 2007
Celiac disease symptoms might be many and varied, but the treatment, at least, is straightforward: adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. As awareness and diagnosis of the intestinal autoimmune disorder grows, so does demand for gluten-free products.
Individuals with celiac disease react to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and in related grains, such as kamut, spelt and triticale. Removing these from products, especially baked goods, often presents challenges for the food designer.
The biggest challenge is recreating the texture and mouthfeel of wheat-containing baked goods, as gluten is fundamental to their structure, says Sarah Landon, R&D chef, Gum Technology Corporation. Tear into a loaf of bread made with wheat flour and you will see hundreds of holes making up an intricate cell structure. If you make that same bread with gluten-free flour and tear into it, you will have a dense rock of a product no one would want to eat.
Most gluten-free recipes call for xanthan gum to replace gluten functionality, often in concentrations as high as 0.5% of the weight of flour. However, Landon says, these high levels can result in unnecessarily chewy products.
The companys Coyote Brand Stabilizer ST-101, an all-natural blend of xanthan and guar gums, can replace gluten functionality in baked goods. When used together, these gums react synergistically, resulting in a better and stronger product, Landon says. Xanthan alone can become a bit elastic, and guar alone can be somewhat gritty. But, together, they can be used in a lower concentration (about half that of xanthan alone), and adding the blend to gluten-free flour provides a replacement for the protein strands created in gluten development. This allows the bread to trap the gasses from the expanding yeasts, and the cell structure of the original bread is recreated. The blend provides structure and elasticity, and increases batter viscosity, suspension and emulsion.
The stabilizer improves crumb structure and rise to the point where, in most applications, the product looks very similar to the gluten-containing counterpart. To test the blend, Gum Technology developed a gluten-free brownie. We were not concerned with keeping calories or fat content low, Landon says. Our brownie has just as many calories, just as much fat and is every bit as much of a delectable treat as the original. The only difference is that our brownie contains no gluten. The company has also created gluten-free recipes for classic white bread, blueberry breakfast muffins, pie crust, pizza crust, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and banana bread.
The same stabilizer blend also provides viscosity and suspension in sauces, gravies, dips, dressings and any other product that requires thickening. In baked goods containing gluten, it also helps bind moisture, add cell structure and increase dough pliability, as well as freeze/thaw stability.
A fine, off-white powder, Coyote Brand Stabilizer ST-101 will not influence the finished products flavor profile. Typical usage levels for all applications are 0.15% to 0.75%. It meets all specifications outlined in the Food Chemicals Codex; can be safely used in foods as described in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Sections 184.1339 and 172.695; and is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.
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