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Gluten powder may boost pasta quality: Study

By Nathan Gray , 21-Jun-2011

The addition of gluten powder to pasta made from poor quality flour may lead to greater quality and improved consumer acceptance, says new research.

The study, published in Journal of Texture Studies, reports that the addition of three grams of powder to pasta made from poor quality, low protein flour, can increase the quality and colour of the cooked pasta.

“This study shows an easy and applicable method of improving the quality of pasta made from low protein wheat flour using gluten powder,” said the researchers, led by Mahsa Majzoobi from the department of food science and technology, at Shiraz University, Iran.

The researchers said that the findings to their study “may be useful for pasta producers in some parts of the world where ordinary wheat flour is the most available type of flour for pasta production.”

Pasta production

The researchers noted that one of the most important factors influencing the quality of pasta is the protein content and gluten quality of the flour used. They noted that the protein content of semolina is normally higher than 12.5 per cent, while almost all non-semolina flours have lower protein content, making them unsuitable for pasta production.

Majzoobi and colleagues added that glutenin, a low molecular weight fraction of gluten, is crucial for the production of high-quality pasta.

Due to the high price and falling supply of semolina and other gluten rich flours, in some parts of the world pasta’s have been partially or totally substituted with other flours, including as ordinary wheat flour, corn, rice, oats, legumes or pea flours.

However, the replacement or partial substitution of semolina with other flours has adverse effects on the quality of the final product, said the authors.

“Common problems with these types of pasta are their unacceptable colour, high cooking loss, low cooking weight, and soft and sticky texture,” they explained.

The new study investigated whether the quality of spaghetti made from bread wheat flour of low protein content was improved through the addiction of different levels of gluten powder.

Study details

Gluten powder was added at 0.5, 1.5 and 3 per cent was added to low protein wheat flour to assess any effect on the quality of the spaghetti produced, said the researchers. The samples were cooked in either distilled or salted water (2 per cent salt).

Majzoobi and colleagues reported that the addition of gluten reduced cooking loss and increased water absorption, noting that the parameters were “increased further when salt was added to the cooking water.”

They added that increasing the gluten level decreased the adhesiveness, while it increased the cohesiveness, elasticity and breaking strength of the cooked samples, whilst noting that higher levels of gluten resulted in a darker, more yellow colour.

“According to the taste panel, a sample containing three per cent gluten powder cooked in salted water was recognized as the best,” they reported.

Source: Journal of Texture Studies
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4603.2011.00308.x
“Effects of gluten powder on the quality of wheat flour spaghetti cooked in distilled or salted water”
Authors: M. Majzoobi, R. Ostovan, A. Farahnaky

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