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Behind the scenes of “gluten free” bread

Concerning food, consumers are constantly in search of well-being and taste. Accordingly, for several years, they have been looking for gluten-free products, for reasons of intolerance or by personal choice. However, gluten plays a vital role in the production of bread, thus requiring “gluten-free” bread recipes to be adapted via substitution of ingredients. In the world of bread making, Lesaffre, which has become a recognized expert, supports bakers on a daily basis by offering solutions for all types of bread and processes. In some countries, “gluten free” is an emerging niche market. Lesaffre has thus designed solutions for a result that is the closest possible to bread “with gluten”, based on an innovative method for sensory analysis focusing on texture: the Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS) approach.

A global underlying trend
The boom of the gluten-free products market goes as far back as the early 2000s. Research & Markets expects growth of 10.2% per year by 2019. The bakery sector occupies a place of choice and claims 46%, by volume, of the «gluten-free» market. This gap is expected to widen further, and, by 2018, the sector could corner two thirds of the value of «gluten-free» product sales.

Beyond allergy, comfort food
«Gluten-free» product consumption is far from limited to people affected by celiac disease. There are two major «gluten-free» product consumer groups (see Figure 1):
1 – Diagnosed celiac consumers with medical prescriptions, whether they be intolerant, allergic or sensitive;
2 – Consumers without medical advice bringing together people in search of comfort food, and who, by personal decision, follow the media-maintained fads. This segment of the population is more difficult to identify, probably because it also varies from country to country. It would represent up to 23% of the population according to some experts (Nutrimarketing, Datamonitor).

Figure 1: Consumer attitude towards the consumption of gluten-containing products



How to address the lack of gluten in bread?

Gluten is the protein fraction that is found in certain grains such as wheat, rye or barley, and plays a key role in the production of bread. Due to its viscoelastic properties, it allows the dough to rise, retaining the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast.

The absence of gluten impacts:
 the consistency of the dough: it is liquid, and difficult to shape, and requires a baking mould;
–  the sensory properties of the bread,
–  its conservation by accelerating the phenomenon of staling.

The challenge is to develop «gluten-free» bread as attractive in terms of texture and taste, and as close as possible to gluten-containing breads.

A new sensory method has opened new horizons for improving texture: the TDS approach
To support its bakery customers in improving their reve- nues, Lesaffre has adapted a specific method of sensory analysis, to better understand what happens in the mouth when consuming «gluten-free» products. Called Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS), it continuously assesses changes in organoleptic properties from putting bread in the mouth to swallowing. Panelists are trained in the use of 8 specifically developed texture descriptors, which serve to record their perceptions over the tasting (Figure 2).


Lack of resistance during mastication, easily chewed, soft product, notion of tenderness.
Melts in the mouth and volume decreases.
Sensation of a viscous and sticky texture during mastication.
Sensation of moisture and freshness in the mouth, «moist» product.
Adhesion to teeth.
Lumpy mouthfeel, sample disintegrates into pieces when chewed, lack of cohesion.
Sensation of lack of water in the product, absorption of saliva by the product.
The sample is sliced cleanly into pieces and separates easily. Jaw movements to cut the product are not of great amplitude.

Figure 2: The DTS approach

Traditional bread against «gluten-free» bread:
a sizeable difference

Using the TDS method, expert panelists first compared a traditional bread «with gluten» vs «gluten-free» bread representative of market standards. Below is a translation of the test as simplified graphs highlights the dominant perceptions noted (Figure 3 & 4).The presentation of the TDS results was simplified to facilitate unders- tanding of the general principle.
The size of the descriptor block is proportional to its dominance.

“A gluten-free bread has structural defects (crumb, crust) and dries quickly”



The graphs highlight the dominant perceptions noted: bread «with gluten» offers a dominance of «soft» and «sticky» that is not found in «gluten free» bread.

painsTowards a new softer «gluten-free» bread recipe

The TDS method allowed Lesaffre teams to improve the «gluten-free» bread recipe using novel texturants, including fibers and specific plant proteins.


“Assessment by the TDS method emphasizes that the new formula «gluten free» bread gains in appearance, in softness, in melting and in conservation.
It can also be baked in a deck oven, without a bread pan.”

After texture, the flavour challenge

If at the sensory level texture is one of the major criteria for assessment of a product (and for repurchase), flavor must not be overlooked, however, and is equally critical to customer satisfaction. Also, similarly to the work done on texture, Lesaffre also characterized with gluten or gluten free products in terms of odors and flavors, to enhance the gluten free product recipes. As such, natural sourdoughs prove valuable allies as they enhance the taste and improve conservation. Lesaffre thus proposes improvers, devitalized sourdough and starters that can restore the aromatic notes of good traditional bread.

On the process side, the Lesaffre R&D experts and Baking CenterTM technicians are able to solve machinability problems specific to «gluten-free» breads by offering a wide range of technical solutions meeting not only the challenge of texture and taste, but also that of the working of the dough.

Thus, based on the TDS method, Lesaffre has developed the «VitaSafe Gluten-free» range of mixes that includes six com- plete powdered preparations for the production of bread, pizza or pastry, consistent with regulations. «Gluten-free» bread consumers can now enjoy a round loaf, with an appe- tizing crust and a soft melting crumb, full of aroma, and that retains its qualities for hours and hours.



bionatisIndustrial feedback
Mr. Ambroisy, leader of BIONATIS
Bionatis specializes mainly in pre-baked and frozen organic bread, and now plans to invest in the production of «gluten-free» bread. Discover Bionatis:

Why is Bionatis investing in the «gluten-free» field?
Not so very long ago, gluten-free products were only available in specialized stores or via internet sales. Look at how sales outlets have developed in recent years. Consumers can find gluten-free products in any supermarket! There is variety, too, with for example «gluten-free» pizza dough, and quality has also improved considerably.

Bionatis will invest in this niche market by seeking products that exploit its expertise, via bread whose quality stands out from mass industrial products. This approach is similar to that conducted in the Organic market.

How do the Lesaffre solutions facilitate work on automatic lines?
What improvements have these new formulations brought to the finished product?

Thanks to the Lesaffre formulation, we will offer shaped bread, with a beautiful honeycomb crumb, whereas until now, our offer was limited to sliced pan bread. This bread will be much closer to traditional artisan bread, both in terms of appearance, and texture and taste, and will also incorporate interesting aromas.

And tomorrow?
We are working on the idea of supplying artisan bakeries with «gluten-free» bread in bake in the bag packaging. The consumer will be able to find quality «gluten-free» bread closer to home and, thanks to this bag without the risk of cross contamination. This system could be extended to catering.



Lesaffre View
François Blareau, Formulator – Baking CenterTM – Lesaffre International


What is at stake for «gluten-free» bread in industrial bakeries?
The consumer wants to eat «gluten-free» bread that is like traditional bread in terms of appearance, texture and taste. To meet their expectations, manufacturers must take into account the constraints of their production lines and find the best compromise between ease of implementation and a result that is as close as possible to conventional bread.

What solutions does Lesaffre provide?
To improve the machinability of gluten-free pasta, Lesaffre has reworked its Vitasafe mixes formulas. We incorporated new texturants, some fibers and specific plant proteins, which ensure an optimum development when baking, to obtain bread with improved texture and a well-developed crust.

Our formulas are very apt for automatic lines: an elastic dough, little stickiness, and with a firmer consistency for more flexible production, even without bread pans. In addition, these ingredients provide trace elements, fibers, and vitamins, which increase the nutritional density of breads and offset the risks of deficiencies often associated with diets based exclusively on gluten-free foods.

What future development prospects are envisaged?
Consumers want healthier products, but always prioritize taste. Today, our research focuses on specific aromatic solutions (taste, color) gluten to give breads the desired flavor profiles, developed from live active sourdough, an area developed by Lesaffre for over 20 years.

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