Pulse-Flour Bakery Products a Success in the United Kingdom - PulsePoint
December 17, 2018
Collaborative research by Cigi and Warburtons has lead to a deeper understanding of pulse ingredients in bakery products – and positive feedback from retail outlets and consumers
by Noelle Chorney
Imagine a world where breads made with pulses are as common as breads made with wheat flour. We are not there yet, but the powerhouse team of a grain market development institute and the United Kingdom’s (UK) leading independent baker is paving the way for pulse ingredients in bakery products. The Canadian International Grain Institute (Cigi) and Warburtons have partnered to release several new bakery products into UK retail markets, to critical acclaim.
“This partnership has been a great decision for Warburtons,” says Program Manager Adam Dyck. “We get to work with a world class organization in the milling, baking, and analytical fields.”
While Warburtons first established its relationship with Cigi through Canadian wheat, pulses are the new frontier when it comes to milling and testing product. This collaborative relationship between Cigi and Warburtons allowed staff from both organizations to start thinking about potential synergies between pulse processing research and translating that into bakery products.
The team is deepening basic knowledge and building a database related to processing, milling, and baking with peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans. Warburtons has released six new products, including breads, bagels, and flatbreads using different formulations of Canadian pulses. Cigi will continue to transfer the knowledge gained from this project, to the pulse and food industries. In late 2018 Cigi presented at AACC International’s annual meeting as well as at the Canadian Pulse Research Workshop, with articles planned for peer-reviewed
journals as well.
The research is extremely timely, considering the public’s growing interest in healthful foods, with a particular focus on protein. “There is growing global demand for plant-based protein. Inclusion of pulse flours is an elegant way to do so,” says Dyck. “We have been able to deliver pulses in a familiar format. Retailers are really supportive of this innovation, and when we put pulses on the package label, consumers understand that it means they are getting higher protein and fibre.” Dyck mentions that Warburtons is seeing a draw of new consumers to their pulse products in the wrapped bread market.
While the team began with specific questions about what pulses could do as flour ingredients in bakery products, “we learned that every pulse type is different. You cannot class peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans together, even if they are all under the pulse umbrella. Each type has unique functionality, attributes, and flavour. We are looking at all different types, and even specific varieties,” says Cigi Project Manager Lindsay Bourré.
Another variable that is being investigated is the effect of pre-fermenting on pulse flours during the baking process. “There is quite a bit to learn about the actual process. We have now moved on to looking at different formulations using live cultures and how they interact with pulses, which is showing promise. When we add pre-ferments to bread, we notice changes to the quality and flavour properties of the breads. There is a lot of potential for different pulse types,” says Bourré.
For all the team has already learned, “we are still in our infancy,” says Dyck. “We are still learning a lot about pulses as ingredients. Warburtons has been working on wheat since 1876, and we have only been working with pulses for the last three years. We are just now moving beyond evaluating pulses based on colour, shape, and size, and focusing more on functionality, flavour, and nutritional profiles.”
“It is all positive — any time we are talking about new, high value markets for a commodity, it is good news for the grower. We are moving away from referring to pulses as a commodity, and towards thinking of them as ingredients, and that is a higher value market segment,” says Dyck.
At this point, the research work is never done. “Even more unanswered questions have arisen from the questions we asked in the first place,” says Elaine Sopiwnyk, Cigi Director of Grain Quality. Bourré agrees, “Once you think you have solved something for one pulse, you move on to the next one and learn that there is a whole new set of questions.”
“We are grateful to Cigi for what we have accomplished and are able to do today. We have got a lot more work to do. We have opened Pandora’s Box for pulses, and we need to keep the momentum growing,” says Dyck.