Emulsifiers for GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCTS
Producing gluten-free products without compromising the sensory properties is a true challenge for the food industry. Let’s discover the role of food emulsifiers.
On May 16th, International Celiac disease Day is celebrated to inform about this condition that affects approximately 1,4% of the world population, whose prevalence has increased over time in the last twenty-five years (Global Prevalence of Celiac Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis).
Celiac disease is a chronic digestive disease in which patients have inflammation or irritation in the small intestine, which causes difficulties with absorbing nutrients from the diet. This inflammation occurs when the person eats some cereals containing gluten. Gluten is the name given to specific proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and related grains. Foods such as pasta, cookies, bread, and certain doughs used for pastries and bakery usually contain gluten. This is due to this protein’s unique properties to foods like viscosity and plasticity.
From a technological point of view, gluten provides cohesion, viscosity, extensibility, and elasticity. This is essential in the case of pasta, bread, muffins, and some other doughs, for example. The absence of gluten in foods causes a reduction in volume and a hardening of these products over time with a consequent reduction of the shelf life.
In gluten-free pasta, wheat flour has been replaced by other flour (rice and corn are preferred), and the proteins contained cannot form a network like gluten does. Thanks to specific production processes, including heating and the addition of food additives, gelatinized starch substitutes protein (gluten) to create the network that provides pasta with its typical elasticity and texture. This is the reason why many gluten-Free pasta products include Distilled monoglycerides.
When substituting gluten, it is necessary to work on the nutritional profile of gluten-free products more thoroughly so that they have the same contributions as other products. This can be achieved in many ways, such as using gluten-free cereal flours like rice.
LECISOL RF (lecithinated rice flour) can be used as natural bread improver. It is special lecithin in powder form and easily incorporated into baked goods and pastries. It acts as an anti-staling agent and dough conditioner, improving machinability, loaf volume, and crumb structure. However, we recommend completing it by adding a convenient amount of L-ascorbic acid and enzymes.
The existence of gluten-free products of high quality and affordable price is essential for the quality of life of celiac people. In the past, there weren’t equivalents for typical wheat-based foods like bread, pasta, and all types of bakery, and people with gluten intolerance were forced to avoid these foods. Over the last decade, many alternatives emerged, and nowadays, supermarkets have experienced increased shelf space dedicated to gluten-free products.