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Pulses in Bakery

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Baked goods are a staple component of diets around the world. A study of nutrient intakes from diets as reported by Canadian adults found that as the percentage of total daily protein intake from plant sources increased, the primary protein source was from cereal-based food sources (breads, rolls, crackers, and grains) and the intake of other plant protein sources such as legumes was low (Fabek et al., 2021). It is well known that plant protein sources are typically deficient in one or more of the indispensable amino acids. Relying on one type of plant protein introduces risk for groups consuming higher proportions of their daily total protein intake from plant sources.

Reformulating cereal foods with pulse flours is an immense opportunity to improve the protein quality of baked products and address potential dietary intake concerns because of their significantly higher protein contents and the complementary nature of their amino acid profiles.

The addition of pulse ingredients to cereal foods can also complement the nutritional profile of products through combined increases in fibre, folate, iron, potassium, and other micronutrients (Marinangeli, 2020). A study examining the effect of reformulated traditional pan bread with 15% whole yellow pea flour not only reported significant improvements in the nutritional quality of the product but also noted a 4% decrease in the CO2 equivalent per kg of food (Chaudhary et al., 2018).

Working with pulse flour in baked products

Increasing the inclusion level of pulse flour typically results in proportional increases in nutritional quality. However, this may be at the expense of dough-handling properties and machinability. The higher protein and fibre present in pulse flours may reduce free water available in the system or physically interfere with dough handling. The reduced dough hydration and development may result in baked goods with a more densely packed microstructure exhibited as a reduction in product volume accompanied by increased product firmness.

However, many studies have identified substitution rates in which the nutrition profile is successfully enhanced with minimal effects on handling, product quality, and sensory properties. Specific inclusion rates based on the category of baked goods are highlighted in the sections below.

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