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Psyllium optimizes baking quality of bread.

Psyllium is a soluble fiber that comes from a plant most commonly grown in India. Soluble fiber becomes gelatinous and sticky in water. It is not absorbed in the small bowel, but is broken down in the large bowel and becomes a food source for the bacteria that live in the colon. Psyllium is a bulking agent that promotes bowel regularity.

Recent interest in psyllium has arisen primarily due to its use in high-fiber breakfast cereals and from claims that high-fiber cereals containing psyllium are effective in reducing cholesterol levels. The goal of scientists in Kuwait was to develop a high-fiber pan bread using psyllium as a source of soluble dietary fiber. They found that adding up to 5% psyllium can improve the baking characteristics of bread.

The researchers conducted farinograph tests for whole wheat flour (WWF), white flour (WF) and WF containing 1% to 5% psyllium. They used the straight-dough bread manufacturing method of the AACC to make pan bread. Specific loaf volume was determined by using the rapeseed displacement technique. The scientists measured texture using a commercial texture analyzer. The farinograph water absorption (FWA) value for WWF was 68.5%, compared with 64.5% for WF. Every 1% of psyllium added to wheat flour resulted in a 4% increase in FWA values.

The peak time was 6 min for WWF and 8 min for WF. The addition of psyllium increased the peak time to 11 min. Dough stability values were 16.5 min for WF, 9 min for WWF, 13 min to 14 min for WF containing 1% to 3% psyllium, and 11 min to 12 min for WF containing 4% to 5% psyllium.

The specific loaf volumes of white pan bread containing 1% to 5% psyllium were 4.0 cc per g to 4.4 cc per g, compared with 4.1 cc per g for the control bread. The loaf volumes totaled 3.5 cc per g to 3.3 cc per g for whole wheat bread containing 1% to 5% psyllium, compared with 3.3 cc per g for the control bread.

The test white bread with 5% psyllium had a compression force of 252.8 g compared with 420.4 g for the control bread. The compression force for the whole wheat bread with 5% psyllium was 348.0 g, compared with 492.5 for the control bread.

Further information. H. Alomirah, Biotechnology Department, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, P.O. Box 24885, safat, 13109 Kuwait; phone: +965 3980466; fax: +965 3989495; URL:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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