Chia's bright bread future

21 August 2013 (16/08/2013) reports that adding chia seeds to bread recipes significantly increases final product levels of proteins, lipids, ash and dietary fibre, and consumers like it too, according to research.

Scientists in Valencia at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology have been evaluating the potential of chia seeds as a bread making ingredient. They discovered it was possible to create products with increased nutritional quality by adding 5% chia and ground chia seeds (whole chia, semi-defatted chia and low-fat chia flour).

The addition level was in response to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) judgement in 2009 that chia seeds and whole ground chia seeds are safe to be used in the European community as novel food ingredients at this level within bread products.

Sensory analysis in the study showed that the inclusion of chia, “increased overall acceptability by consumers.”

When compared with regular control samples, the products developed with chia did not differ in terms of quality. Although differences were found in loaf specific volume and crumb colour.

In addition,“the chia ingredients produced practically no alteration in the mixing and over mixing properties, with the exception of water absorption, mainly because of the presence of mucilage.”

“The thermal properties of the starch did not alter substantially with the inclusion of chia. However, the incorporation of chia inhibited the kinetics of amylopectin retro gradation during storage.” This would be mean a delay in bread staling.

The researchers concluded that, “the inclusion of chia seeds or flours had a positive effect on the technological and sensory value of the bread products, and therefore its inclusion is recommended, even at levels greater than 5%.”

The chia seed has been a staple in its native Mexico and Guatemala and was favoured by the Aztecs, but it is only in recent years that it has followed other ingredients like quinoa and goji and gained 'consumer buzz' status. Chia contains a high proportion of natural antioxidant compounds (tocopherol, beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and flavonoids such as quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol), which enhance shelf-life and add nutritional value to products. Chia seeds have a high fibre content and are also a source of riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, magnesium and copper.   

Source: European Food Research & Technology “Evaluation of performance of dough and bread incorporating chia (Salvia hispanica L.)” Authors: E. Iglesias-Puig and M. Haros