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How to solve the “sticky” problem of gluten-free baking

Posted by Simon Shamoun | Dec 1, 2015 2:10:54 PM | Food Chilling & Freezing

Americans love trendy diets. Low carb, high-protein and lately – gluten-free – are the methods of choice in the battle of the bulge.

 

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A recent study by Mintel showed over 80 percent of respondents who said they ate gluten-free foods did so because of a perceived health benefit -- not because they have Celiac disease or are gluten intolerant.

 In North America, this consumer population is driving demand for gluten-free commercially prepared foods, particularly baked goods. Gluten-free food sales are projected to reach $2.34 billion annually by 2019 – a 140 percent increase over 2014 sales.

This also poses special challenges for commercial bakers. Without binding gluten, which gives bread volume, texture and elasticity, mixtures are softer and a lot stickier. 

The consequences:

  • Increased cycle time due to the need for additional cleaning and removal of product from mixers and blenders
  • Increased difficulty in achieving a thorough mix
  • Increased risk of over-mixing, which negatively impacts dough quality and texture.

The bottom line: all this stickiness contributes to yield losses per batch, which add up and drag down margins.

Commercial bakers do have some options. One is to add ingredients such as proteins, gums or binders – eggs, for example – to the mixture to improve elasticity. Another is to modify the mixing, blending and forming environments.

The best antidote to product clumping and sticking is cold. But before you break out the ice, think again: Chilling with water ice at the mixer is inherently prone to batch variation due to uneven moisture levels. This is especially challenging for bakeries seeking to scale up, who are striving for the consistency and quality their customers require.

One of the best things processors can do:  chill the dry ingredients immediately before and during mixing with an in-line ingredient chilling system. By lowering the temperature of the incoming dry ingredients – some of which may exceed 100 ºF in silos – as well as lowering temperatures during mixing, blending, forming and sheeting, processors can achieve precise product temperatures and increase quality and repeatability for higher quality throughput.

Another way processors can beat the heat is by cooling mixing bowls prior to use. One of the easiest ways, which requires less labor and floorspace, is modifying or retrofitting mixers and blenders with cryogenic chilling technology. After baking, cryogenic chilling can provide a quicker product cooldown and can help get your product packaged or frozen and packaged faster than with any other chilling method.

Click below to learn more about how high-efficiency cryogenic chilling can boost productivity, quality and yield in your bakery: 

 

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