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News Article

Making bread climate change resistant

Collaboration designs a cheaper sustainable loaf with 30% cassava.

A 3-year collaboration between Danish and Brazilian researchers to find ways of producing bread with less wheat has succeeded in using enzymes to produce a loaf with up to 30% cassava flour without a decrease in quality. This work could lead to more affordable bread as wheat prices rise in a warmer world.

The project, entitled "Bread and meat for the future" performed a series of studies designed to use enzymes to improve the baking properties of cassava flour in breadmaking. Researchers at University of Copenhagen and from Brazil combined with colleagues from Aarhus University and the Danish companies Easy Foods and Novozymes.

Their work so far has found that cassava can be substituted for wheat flour up to 20-30% without loss of flavour or aroma. Dough properties are less good at that level of substitution, however. The altered dough viscosity and starch behaviour resulted in loaves that rose less, were more dense and had a coarser texture.

The researchers tested the effects of several enzyme treatments on dough behaviour using combinations of alpha-amylase, xylanase, lipase, laccase (polyphenol oxidase) and glucose oxidase. While glucose oxidase had little effect on the dough, all the other enzymes had beneficial effects. Xylanase had the best effect, making the dough more malleable and increasing the volume of the loaf and making it softer.

The research was presented by the Danish lead researcher Leif Horsfeld Skibsted at a conference at São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) recently.

African researchers are also examining wheat-cassava breads driven by a long term government initiative in Nigeria to reduce dependence on wheat imports and use its cassava crop.

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Article details

  • Author(s)
  • I. Hoskins
  • Date
  • 30 October 2017
  • Subject(s)
  • Food technology