Food rheology From February 2018 newsletter

The impact of ingredients on bread structure and quality

It's important to understand the impact of different ingredients on structure and texture when considering the formulation or reformulation of bread. Past member funded research projects have looked into the functionality of a range of ingredients in bread, and their impact on bread quality.

Waxy wheat flour

The use of waxy wheat flours could lead to a cleaner label product as enzymes and emulsifiers are usually used to control bread firmness. A member funded research project showed that loaves that included waxy wheat flour had a lower initial firmness and stayed softer than the standard loaf for the first five days. The inclusion of waxy wheat flour also gave higher specific volume loaves, however the loaves had a coarser internal structure.

Bran flour

Most UK adults aren’t consuming enough fibre. Enriching fibre levels in bread could have a positive impact on the national diet. We investigated the effect of different processes and ingredients on the quality of wheat and oat bran bread. The results showed that the type of mixer used to produce the dough could significantly increase the bread volume. However, pre-soaking and finer flour particle size did not improve the quality of the fibre enriched bread.


Many bakery manufacturers want to reduce the levels of salt in their products. However, salt plays an important functional role as it controls the behaviour of water. We found that halving the salt level of starch gels made them harder and increased retrograded starch levels at both refrigerated and ambient temperature - this produced a firmer loaf.


The production of gluten-free bread can be difficult as dough structure development traditionally relies on the interaction between the process used and properties of the flour. Research we conducted showed that the quality of gluten-free bread can be improved by modifying dough production and processing. The dough was processed at a lower temperature for a longer time. Once the starch in the system started to gelatinise, it 'took over' the maintenance of the bubble structure. The temperature was then raised to achieve a final product with the desired crumb and crust properties.

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