Chlorination of wheat flour in the EU countries has been replaced in recent years, to some extent, by heat treated flour which is used to produce high ratio cakes. Heat treated flour allows high ratio recipes to be developed which generate products with longer shelf life, finer texture, moist crumb and sweeter taste. The mechanism by which heat treatment improves the flour is not fully understood, but it is known that during the heat treatment process, protein denaturation and partial gelatinisation of the starch granules occurs, as well as an increase in batter viscosity. Therefore, it is important to optimize the flour heat treatment process, in order to enhance baking quality. Laboratory preparation of heat treated base wheat flour (culinary, soft, low protein) was carried out in a fluidised bed drier using a range of temperatures and times. The gluten was extracted from the final product and its quality was tested, to obtain objective and comparative information on the extent of protein denaturation. The results indicated that heat treatment of flour decreases gluten extensibility and partial gelatinisation of the starch granules occurred. After heat treatment the gluten appeared to retain moisture. The optimum time/temperature for the heat treatment of base flour was 120-130°C for 30 min with moisture content of ≈12.5%.
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