Stanley Cauvain, director at Baketran, on the challenges of adding fibre and protein

The manufacture of bread, cakes and pastries has a long history of providing human nutrition and in the current health-conscious environment has key roles to play.

The opportunities for adding fibre and protein-rich ingredients can extend the options for consumers and contribute to their healthiness.

It has long been recognised that the texture of foods is key to consumer acceptance of products. The presence of large particles of wheat bran tends to have a negative impact on bread texture making it dense and less appealing.  Not all sources of fibre negatively impact bread quality to the same degree as wheat, and the inclusion of non-wheat sources of fibre can improve the texture, mouthfeel and flavour of breads.

When reformulating breads to increase fibre content, some recipe and process changes may be required to return texture to a widely acceptable condition.

While bread with increased fibre has to some extent become common, the same cannot be said for cakes. The presence of fibre in a cake recipe has a negative impact on cake volume and texture. However, the opportunities are there, provided reformulation is combined with changes to the cake mixing process. The creation of a stable foam in cake batters is crucial to delivering a product with suitable volume and light aerated texture. This does not necessarily mean adding emulsifiers, rather it requires an understanding of the underpinning principles of cake making. There is no reason why cakes cannot be made with fibre-rich ingredients, such as legumes and nuts, and in doing so increase their healthiness.

Wheat and the flours produced from it provide a rich, though not a fully rounded, source of proteins in the diet. Once again, there are a wide variety of protein sources that could be used in baking to supplement the wheat protein. Of course, the vast majority of protein-rich ingredients will not complement the formation of a gluten structure in bread. The addition of non-wheat protein can have negative impacts on texture, and their addition to bread requires careful management.

Cakes are not traditionally thought of in the context of increased healthiness through the addition of protein-rich ingredients. While we do not seek to develop a gluten structure in cake batter, a protein network will form and contribute positively to eating qualities through increased crumb strength.

Baking Technology and Nutrition is written by Stanley P Cauvain and co-author Rosie H Clark. It is published by Wiley