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Selected lactic acid bacteria may be starter cultures for amaranth-based sourdough.

Amaranth-based gluten-free products may gain greater acceptance thanks in part to new information on preparing amaranth-based sourdoughs. While the processing of amaranth in baked goods is challenging, the use of sourdough fermentation can help exploit the advantages of this raw material.

Amaranth is already used in bakery products, but on a limited basis due to its unfavorable properties. Products containing amaranth are usually formulated in combination with other gluten-free cereals, such as rice, maize or millet, as their main ingredient. Results from recent research indicate that various strains of lactic acid bacteria may be suitable starter cultures for the production of amaranth-based gluten-free products, and sourdough may be part of the solution.

German scientists examined the fermentation properties of Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paralimentarius and Lactobacillus helveticus in amaranth-based sourdough. They wanted to validate the bacteria as starter cultures. The researchers evaluated the pH, total titratable acidity (TTA) and the lactic-to-acetic acid ratio of the sourdough, and the sensory properties of the resulting bread. They used fermentation temperatures of 30 C and 35 C to perform their analyses.

While fermentation pH, TTA and lactic acid concentration showed small variations among the starter cultures, L. helveticus reached the most intensive acidification level after initial adaptation to the substrate. Acetic acid production was independent of lactic acid metabolism. Furthermore, the lactic-to-acetic acid ratio exceeded recommendations by 10 to 35 times.

Overall, sensory evaluation showed no significant differences in the samples between the two fermentation temperatures. But amaranth-based sourdough fermented using L. helveticus showed the best sensory scores. The results provide relevant information on the fermentation properties required of a customized starter for amaranth flour.

FYI: Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, malts and triticale. It is used as an additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent. A gluten-tree diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease. The term gluten-free may indicate a supposed harmless level of gluten in a product rather than its complete absence.

Further information. Mario Jekle, Institute for Brewing and Beverage Technology, Technical University of Munich, Weihenstephaner Steig 20, D-85354 Freising, Germany; phone: -49-89-28901; fax: 89-289-22000; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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