Finger millet flour may boost bakery nutrition: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

The use of finger millet flour in bakery products may help to boost their nutritive profile without affecting quality or taste, according to new research.

The study, published in Journal of Texture Studies, ​reports that replacement of wheat flour with 60 per cent finger millet, which is a good source of minerals, increases the nutritive value of muffins, without negatively impacting the texture, flavour or overall quality of the muffins when compared to 100 per cent wheat flour.

In addition, the researchers, from the Central Food Technological Research Institute, India, said that the addition of emulsifiers and hydrocolloids significantly improved the quality of the muffin batter mix.

“Use of a combination of polysorbate-60 and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose significantly improved batter characteristics of muffins with 60 per cent finger millet flour, with respect to viscosity, overall quality of muffin with reference to volume, grain and texture,”​ said the authors, led by Dr Venkateswara Rao.

Rao and his colleagues said that the information from the study may benefit the baking industry.

Whole grain

The authors noted that the consumption of whole grain cereals is associated with reduced incidences of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

“In many nations, including the developed countries, the consumption of whole grain products is far below recommendation,”​ they said.

Rao and his team noted that that the consumption of composite flour based on wheat and millets “is becoming popular because of economic and nutritional advantages.”

Finger millet flour, also known as African millet or Ragi, is a mixed grain flour produced from the hardy finger millet (Eleusine coracana​) cereal that is grown in arid and elevated areas in African and Asia.

Such non-wheat cereal flours and other grain by-products can also be used to replace part of wheat flour in preparation of bakery products, said the authors.

Study details

Initially Rao and his colleagues investigated the effect of replacing wheat flour with 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 per cent finger millet flour on the batter microscopy, rheology and quality characteristics of muffins were studied.

They reported that nutritional value of the mixture increased with the amount of added finger millet, however increasing levels of finger millet flour also decreased the gluten and protein contents.

“The muffin batter at 80 and 100 per cent levels … lacked the cohesive property of the normal cake batter,”​ said Rao and co-workewrs.

The authors then tested 60 per cent finger millet flour in addition to emulsifiers and hydrocolloids.

It was found that the combination of additives in muffins with 60 per cent finger millet flour improved the coherence of the muffin batter matrix, and significantly improved the volume and quality characteristics of the muffins.

Source: Journal of Texture Studies
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4603.2011.00309.x
“Effect of replacement of wheat flour with finger millet flour (Eleusine corcana) on the batter microscopy, rheology and quality characteristics of muffins”
Authors: J. Rajiv, C. Soumya, D. Indrani, G.V. Rao

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