Improved by leaps and bounds
As bakers have raced to create acceptable gluten-free products, some applications have proven easier than others to reformulate. Some products posed more challenges, but the investment in research and development has yielded impressive results. Other baked goods still face challenges in reformulating to remove gluten.
“Some products have always been more easily formulated as gluten-free than others,” said Harold Ward, director of technical service and product applications, Bay State Milling Co. “Examples of those more easily formulated are cookies and brownies. The more challenging products are still those that would, in a wheat-based product, rely on developing a gluten matrix for structure and gas retention, such as breads and tortillas.”
Since the early days of gluten-free formulating, bread has received most of the attention.
“As more gluten-free functional ingredient solutions have become available, the bread category has been able to take advantage and create products that, in some cases, are just as good as the wheat-based versions,” Mr. Rodriguez said. And lately, gluten-free tortillas are where much of the leaps and bounds have been made.
Much of these improvements can be attributed to ingredient advancements.
“Over the years we’ve seen a shift in ingredient technology when it comes to gluten-free formulations — from regular gluten-free flours to those with physical treatment to regular starches to modified starches,” Ms. Yin explained.
However, despite these improvements, yeast-leavened products continue to be more challenging, she said, because the gas retention capacity needed is so critical to the finished product characteristics. As bakers continue to research and test, suppliers have some ways around these issues to help bakers deliver the quality consumers expect.