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Physical properties of gluten-free cookies made from amaranth–oat composites

Functional ingredients derived from by-products of grain milling industries have potential to improve health benefits of food products.  A new study by Inglett and Liu published in LWT – Food Science and Technology journal found that some amaranth-oat composites (3:1) could improve the nutritional and physical qualities of cookies. The two cereals complement each other since amaranth is rich in amino acid lysine, vitamins and minerals whereas oats contain other essential amino acids such as leucine and threonine. Additionally, oats contain beta-glucan, which is known for its blood cholesterol lowering effects.
Researchers developed gluten-free cookies using a blend of amaranth flour and oat products with the objective to compare their dough and final product to dough and cookies made out of amaranth or wheat flour alone.  They analysed physical and sensory properties such as water-holding capacity, pasting viscosity, rheological properties, water loss, moisture content and water activity, geometrical properties (width, thickness), color, texture, color and flavour.   
Results showed that amaranth and amaranth-oat composites were more viscous than wheat flour alone and also had better water-holding capacities. Wheat flour had the lowest water-holding capacity (92.37g /100g) comparing to amaranth-oat bran composite (3:1) (147.03 g/100g) and amaranth-whole oat flour composite (3:1) (131.43 g/100g). The researchers reason that this may be, in the case of amaranth composites due to starch gelatinisation and interactions with beta-glucan.    The amaranth composites dough also exhibited higher elastic properties that wheat dough which could improve retention of shape during handing and baking.  Overall the researchers concluded that cookies made from amaranth-oat composites are very suitable for preparing cookies that are acceptable in terms of colour, flavour and texture thus providing useful information for new functional foods.
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