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Will New Gluten-free Cassava Flour Rock Your Baking World?
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
A new production process for gluten-free cassava flour may mean superior products. Photo: CC-MShades
Celiac.com 11/01/2010 - American Key Food Products (AKFP) has announced a patent application for the production process for a gluten-free cassava flour. The company also announced that it has begun initial production of this new gluten-free flour at its manufacturing facility in Brazil.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten provides the structural elasticity in kneaded dough products, permits leavening, and supports the crumb structure and chewy texture of traditional baked goods.
In the last few years, a number of manufacturers have produced gluten-free flour and starch products for gluten-free baking. However, creating baked goods without gluten is challenging, and the resulting baked goods can often be dry, crumbly, or gummy products.
Cassava, or tapioca flour, has been one of the more promising ingredients for gluten-free baking. However, most traditional cassava flours have a coarse texture, similar to corn meal.
According to AKFP technical sales director Carter Foss, the company has spent more than a year developing the flour to have baking characteristics that closely mimic wheat flour in structure, texture and taste.
The result of the AKFP process, which uses the complete root, is a fine, soft flour that contains both protein and fiber. The patent application covers various aspects of the manufacturing process, including particular milling and drying procedures, as well as the resulting flour itself.
“During the processing of it, we have to get the physical characteristics made correctly or the flour fails. It over-bakes and turns to dust,” Foss said.
Foss says that AKFP cassava flour can replace combinations of flours, starches and hydrocolloids in gluten-free baked goods, allowing for a simpler ingredient statement.
After the pilot runs are completed at its new Brazilian facility, AKFP intends to have continuous production on line by the beginning of 2011.
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