Julie Kindelspire, then a doctoral student, works at the SDSU Crop Quality Lab.
Julie Kindelspire worked on the mathematical model at the SDSU Crop Quality Lab.

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Researchers at South Dakota State University in Brookings have developed a mathematical model that uses specific dough parameters to predict loaf volume. The model could help wheat breeders determine which varieties make the best bread.

“It’s a shortcut,” said Julie Kindelspire, Ph.D., who was a doctoral student at South Dakota State University when the research took place. “What once took 11 equations to calculate now takes one.”

Food scientists examined 19 genotypes of hard white and red spring wheat grown in several years at six South Dakota locations.

Air cells inside the dough may determine loaf volume, said Padu Krishnan, Ph.D., a food science professor at South Dakota State University. Sifting the flour, mixing it with water and kneading incorporate air into the dough. The process creates a majority of the bubbles. Yeast produces the carbon dioxide that fills the bubbles.

Now a senior research scientist at ethanol producer POET, Dr. Kindelspire during the research discovered a correlation between the dough’s ability to stretch and the stability of the walls of the gas-filled bubbles.

“I found a relationship between dough extensibility and how it relates to strain hardening,” she said. “A higher strain hardening index is better for loaf volume.”

Researchers may use this simplified process to tell breeders which varieties have better baking potential.

“Breeders want me to look at the flour and tell them if this variety is good,” Dr. Krishnan said. “Now we have a faster way of doing that.”

Dr. Kindelspire said, “This shortcut works based on the data that I had. It will be interesting to see if it can be used in labs from other countries.”

The researchers will receive the Texture Technologies Quality Award for best paper at the AACC International annual meeting Oct. 23-26 in Savannah, Ga. Results of the study were published in the May-June 2015 issue of Cereal Chemistry.