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Enhancing zein-starch dough and bread properties by addition of hydrocolloids

 

Similar to gluten, zein can form a viscoelastic network upon hydration and shear. This makes zein a promising protein to develop gluten-free bakery products. In a Canadian study published in Food Hydrocolloids journal, the effect of addition of different hydrocolloids (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), guar and xanthan gum), and the inclusion of pregelatinized starch (PG starch) and lactic acid (LA) on zein-corn starch dough and bread properties was examined. 

The addition of HPMC, and to a lesser extent guar gum, significantly changed the viscoelastic zein dough properties and resulted in bread samples with improved loaf volume and sensory properties. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the formation of a continuous fine foam-like structure in the zein-starch dough when HPMC and guar gum were added. This finer structure translated in a lower dough stiffness and resistance to deformation, and a higher degree of deformation characterized by lower complex moduli and increased creep compliance values. Xanthan gum addition, conversely, had an adverse effect on zein bread loaf volume which was attributed to potential weak repulsion between xanthan and zein molecules. In addition, the amount of alpha-helix and beta-sheet secondary structures in bread samples was altered upon hydrocolloid and PG starch addition and played a role in bread crumb hardness. Overall, the zein bread with HPMC showed textural properties most similar to gluten bread. 

This research sheds light on different structure levels of zein-based gluten-free recipes as affected by inclusion of hydrocolloids, PG starch and LA, and provides a sound basis for the rational development of zein-based gluten-free breads. 

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