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The Use of Non-Wheat Flours (Legume/Other Plant-Based Flours)


In Baked Goods.
Maria M. Meza.
Thursday March 24th 2016.

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Obesity, overweight, and chronic diseases related to diet choices and lifestyle increase
every year. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention every year the obesity and
overweight percentages increases.1 Based on this evidence people is starting to replace
ingredients hight in fat and high in sugars/carbohydrates for healthier ingredients. Recipe
modifications is an approach to create tasty classic dessert and dishes with healthier properties,
sometimes to reduce fat and sugar content of a recipe, or to create new products for population
with special nutritional needs such as gluten-free intolerance populations. The addition or
replacement on some ingredients can enhance nutritional aspects of food such as increasing the
amount of protein and vitamins in food; some research support that recipe modification meets the
chemical standards of cooking, but specially has acceptability by the public. This paper will
focus on the modification and replacement of whole-wheat flours with legume-based flour in
baking goods, specifically its acceptability in flavor, texture, appearance, and nutrition.

United States is one of the biggest producers of wheat, the only countries that exceed this
production are China, some European countries, and India.2 Furthermore the high productions
levels are mostly related to the food industry either for food making such as baked goods, and as
food for cattle. United States harvests two types of wheat, winter wheat and spring wheat. As
their name indicate each of them is harvested and/or planted in a certain season of the year.
These crops produces five main types of wheat that usually makes flours for different purposes.
Hard red winter represents 40% of the total wheat production, and it is principally used for bread
flours. Hard red spring wheat accounts for 20% of wheat production, contains the highest protein
content, and it is mainly used for specialty bread. Another type of wheat is the soft red winter

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wheat, and this type is specifically used for cookies, biscuits, cakes, and crackers production.
Finally white wheat and Durum wheat accounts for the 10-5 % of the wheat production, and it
serve as flour for noodles, some crackers, cereals, white crusted breads. Durum wheat flour is
specifically used for pasta production.

Wheat is considered a grain. It is fundamental for human nutrition, due to its contribution
of energy to the diet, and when it is consumed in the whole-grain form contributes with
significant amounts of fiber, certain vitamins and minerals. For this reason many entities related
to health promote the consumption of whole-grain products, instead of refined wheat products.
Wheat products must contain most of the kernel structural parts; grain, endosperm, and bran
outer layers to be considered as a whole grain product.3 The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend
from three to five servings of whole grains for adults, and one to three servings for kids.4 Even
thought it is strongly recommend to consume a determined amount of servings a day of wholegrain products it is important to focus on the energy they provide, this means that if a person
consumes more grains than recommended this may be reflected on their weight, and in the health
as long-term outcome.

Nowadays there is a common knowledge regarding the importance of whole-wheat


products consumption, however with the development of society, working class populations
there are some misconceptions or eating patterns that may exceed the quantities and/ or quality
of whole grain products. Some people may consume five to seven servings a day of whole grain,
ignoring that this products might contain a significant amount of added sugars and sodium,

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which reduces the benefits of consuming whole grain products, and makes it something negative
instead. Furthermore whole grains consumption should stick to the servings recommended a day.
Some whole grain servings might account for 50% of the carbohydrate intake for day, so over
consuming this products might increment the caloric daily intake.5 Some studies indicate that the
replacement of whole wheat flour with legume-plant based flour might enhance the nutritional
quality of certain whole grain flours, by lowering the carbohydrates amounts, and increment
vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in plants.6

Food industry is working hard and experimenting with different ingredients to implement
them on their highly demanded products. There are many reasons why food industry is
implementing healthier ingredients. This generation is seeking for products that are healthier,
which means that enhances their nutritional intake, and diminishes the caloric intake (fat,
carbohydrates) per servings. Also governmental food regulations demands food industries to
enhance their foods nutritional value, due to the rising percentage of american population
suffering chronic disease. Another relevant reason is the increasing population that decides to
have alternative diets such as: Vegetarians, vegans, raw food movements, slow food movement,
and others. On the other hand there is population that requires special food due to health
conditions, for example celiac populations.

Due to populations with special nutritional needs, or a seeking healthy culture, recipe
modifications had grown over the years. Recipe modification is a process that includes cooking
techniques meant to reduce fat and sugar content of a recipe by eliminating or substituting

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entirely or in parts some ingredients, however it is fundamental to keep the original texture,
appearance, and flavor as similar as the original recipe. This research will explore the different
benefits of recipe modifications specifically the replacement of whole-wheat flours with plantbased flour in baked goods.7

Pulses are grain legumes, with a significant nutritional value due to their high content in
protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and low fat content.8 The best examples
of pulses grains are: Peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. These are considered as a unique food
due to their nutritional quality, and research indicate that they have an important role in lowering
risks of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes Mellitus , cancer, osteoporosis, reduction
of LDL-cholesterol, and gastrointestinal disorders.9 The health benefits of pulses lead food
science experts to implement them on baked goods ingredients lists. Cookies and biscuits are
baked goods that contains three principal ingredients: Flour, sugar, and fat, and other minor
ingredients all of these forms a dough.

There are several studies that explores the texture, appearance, and flavor of cookies
which whole-wheat flour had been replaced with pulses flours, such as: Pinto beans, green lentils
beans, chickpea, and soybean. In one of the studies, whole-wheat flour was replaced with
chickpea and soybean flour. The cookies were replaced with 25g, 50g, 75g, or 100g pulse flour/
100 g whole-wheat flour. The texture, flavor and appearance was compared to control cookies
(100g whole wheat/ 100 g whole wheat). For the physical analysis the 100g/100g cookies
presents a higher weight than the cookies with that only replaced 25g, 50g, or 75g.

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The pulse flour cookies had a higher weight and thickness than the control cookies, these
results are related to water retention by pulse flours. The spread of the cookies was lower in the
pulse flours cookies which is related to previous research that inversely relates high amounts of
proteins with low spread due to higher water retention.10 In the same way the texture was
measured according to the cookies hardness, which measures the peak force to snap a cookie; the
results showed cookies with lentil flours were harder than navy beans flour cookies, however as
an overall result pulses flour cookies showed more hardness than the control cookies. In regards
of appearance the pulse flour cookies had a whiter color than the control cookies. Nutrition wise
fully substituted cookies presented higher protein content than control cookies. In addition based
on a contrast analysis pulse flour cookies increased the antioxidant content by 207% more than
the control cookies, this is explained by the high contents of anthocyanin and phenolic
compounds present in pinto beans which contributes with their pigmentation.

Nowadays wheat-flour is the most common ingredient in baking goods. Wheat


contributes with many chemical, and physical characteristics of baked products. For bread
preparation wheat provides complex carbohydrates that serves as a fermentable product for
bacteria, which is a key step for bread texture and appearance.11 For bread making yeast is the
most common type of bacteria used, which utilizes sugar available in wheat to form carbon
dioxide, in this way the dough expands, therefore without this process bread would have a flat
appearance. In bread making processes the main concern while substituting flour is the failure of
the bread texture and peak related to lack of protein glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin and gliadin

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main function is to form proteins strands (gluten) that contributes with the elasticity and
extensibility of bread dough.12

One research explored the different outcomes of breads sourdough done with pulse
flours, substituted in parts. The main focus of this research was to increment the consumption of
legumes in the diet, due to its high protein quality and to incorporate legumes on the diet since its
consumption has declined over the past years.13 The pulse flours were based on chickpea, lentil,
and beans. The preparation of the dough mixed wheat, chickpea, lentils, and bean flours, in the
following proportions: 85:5:5:5% respectively. Results showed that bread with pulse flour had
presented a significant lower volume and crumb cells than the control bread. The addition of
legume-based flour increased acceptability in color, and acid taste. On the other hand elasticity
and dryness did not differed significantly between control bread and partially wheat-flour
replaced bread. Moreover the pulse flour bread presented high contents of free amino acids
(Glutamine, cysteine, valine, leucine, phenylalanine, Lysine, and arginine), however both control
and partially substituted bread presented higher amounts of protein in-vitro digestibility.14 There
is research that supports that legumes in this case chickpea, beans, and lentils have high amounts
of essential amino acid lysine, but that the most supportive fact is that amino acids present in
legume-based flour are more digestible than the one in whole wheat flour.15

Food industry has now developed many types of alternative foods, specially highly
consumed items such as nuts. Nuts are type of protein high in fats beneficial for health.
Furthermore the public is finding it more interesting to apply a diet higher in proteins and fats,

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and with this reducing the ingestion of refined or processed carbohydrates. By adding nuts in
preparations makes this idea possible and more accessible to public price wise. Currently most
supermarkets offers a wide variety of nuts-based products, with different prices, presentations,
and forms to make it more appealing for the public. People is interested in the application of
certain nuts-based flour to their diet, because there is strong evidence supporting health benefits
just by adding or replacing wheat-flour with almond flour on baked goods.

First it is important to consider the nutritional qualities of almonds. Even thought it high
in fat it provides a significant amount of unsaturated fats, which is related with positive
properties that prevents cardiovascular diseases. Also almonds provide with a high content of
calcium, this is why many vegetarian and vegan populations choose almonds as a significant
calcium source. Moreover they provide a significant amount of dietary fiber, which is beneficial
for an overall population. Almond flour is currently applied to many baked goods, and has
demonstrated an overall public acceptability. A research implemented almond flour for cookies
and compared its sensory and chemical characteristics with cookies prepared with whole-wheat
flour.16 For results the almond flour cookies presented higher content in proteins. As far as for
carbohydrates the almond flour presented a significant difference between whole-wheat flour and
almond flour cookies, 6775 g/100 g and 11.5 g/100 g, respectively. Finally another nutritional
quality of almond flour is the high contents of antioxidants.

Celiac populations had benefited from flour alternative products. Celiac disease is
inmuno-mediated enteropathy in which a gastrointestinal tract is unable to process and tolerate

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gluten, a protein present in almost every whole wheat product.17 The development of new
cooking techniques, cooking agents that diminished gluten formation, and alternatives baking
flours had helped the celiac patients significantly. Nowadays there is almost every type of
product available that is gluten-free, however food science specialists have to constantly
innovate ways to produce baked goods, and at the same time finding gluten-free thickening
agents not harmful for consumers. The following research wanted to innovate other legumebased flours to use it instead of soybean, and chickpea flour. This research prepared four
different type of legume based flour bread and compared the difference in sensory, chemical
outcomes, and acceptability of different legume-based flour.

The results showed that the loaf specific volume of the chickpea bread was the highest,
and it is related to the high protein amount present in chickpeas, compared to the other breads
made with pea, soy, and carob germ flours. One fundamental food principal for gluten-free baked
goods is that protein is an emulsifier which will contribute with bread volume; this explains why
low protein, 1.5%, carob germ flour had the lowest loaf volume.18 The bread was sensory
evaluated by regular bread consumers. The consumers were provided with one hedonic scale of
nine points. Soya bread got the highest score for appearance, chickpea bread got the highest
score for softness, Carob germ bread got the lowest scores, and it was assumed that it was due to
the low volume which diminished the overall appearance.

Nowadays most of the food that is available to the public is full of preservatives, and
chemicals that somehow are beneficial for the overall populations. Looking things from that

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perspective there is nothing more convenient than consuming healthier choices that enhances the
nutrition quality of food. Most of the studies came across and repeatedly mentioned about the
high amounts of antioxidants in legume-based flours. This factor is beneficial for the consumers,
because each time the chances to get any type of cancer increases for everyone, no matter what
type of diet is being followed or how healthy a person is.

Another benefit about alternative products such as legume-based flour is that nowadays
people can freely choose how to eat, based on their beliefs or diet choices. The supermarkets
counts with enormous varieties of food products that makes the vegetarian, vegans, restricted fat
or carbohydrates diets patients eating patterns easier than how it used to be. Food industry grows
each day, there are evident benefits, but also uncountable cons regarding the development of the
industry. Future generations of nutrition professionals, politics, and others will decide the path
that food industry will take.

This topic is not specifically controversial, but there are a lot of misconceptions regarding
gluten-free products; many people consider it as a weight-loss diet, which is really orientated for
population unable to process adequately gluten . Also there des-information regarding the right
way to prepare recipe modifications, some people does not prepare their modified baked recipe s
with the exact amount of ingredients or following the proper instructions that will result in poor
quality products. Furthermore there are certain population with chronic diseases that ignore the
fact that they can modified a high-fat recipe for one that tastes as good as the original recipe, but
more nutritious. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to inform populations that recipe

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modifications seeks to be as delicious as their original recipes, and the interesting part is that
they can modify it following rules, but also being creative based on their food preferences.

Finally every aspect related to food, is a dietitians concern; specifically these types of
research that seeks to improve the quality of a certain food. With this food advances dietitians
can break paradigms that claims that nutritious foods are only about boring, un-flavored salads
that helps people loosing weight. On the contrary nutritious foods is a complex of different
colorful, flavorful food, and daily basis behaviors that helps humans to live in wellness state of
body and mind.

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References

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