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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Is This New Chickpea Flour a Game Changer for Gluten-Free Products?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A new multifunctional chickpea flour is being billed as a major breakthrough for gluten-free baking and manufacturing.

    Caption: A new multi-functional chickpea flour is being billed as game changer for gluten-free formulation. Photo: CC--Veganbaking.net

    Celiac.com 03/09/2018 - Imagine a gluten-free flour that can do all the things regular flour can do. Well, a food research team has created a highly functional, neutral-tasting chickpea flour that mimics wheat flour, but also “behaves like modified starch in some applications.” 

    The product is called "Artesa," and it has a very fine, flour-like particle size, a white color, good oil and water binding properties for products such as soup, sauces and gravies, and formulating characteristics, including elasticity and stretch that mirrors wheat gluten without added milk or egg protein, modified starch or gums. 

    The product also happens to be high in fiber and resistant starch, low in fat and has a low glycemic index. It contains more protein than rice, potato, tapioca, corn and sorghum. Chickpeas are also non-allergenic and non-GMO. 

    If Artesa works as advertised, their new flour could “significantly improve the organoleptic and nutritional profile of gluten-free pastas, baked goods, and desserts - without the use of gums and starches, claim its developers.” That means it can be used to create products that require a flour-like quality to them, such as cakes, breads, pasta and the like.  

    It may also work well as a fat and dairy replacement in soups, sauces and dressings, and to add protein and resistant starch to pizzas, beverages, baked goods and pastas. 

    After raising an initial $750,000 for artesa, parent company Nutriati followed with another $1.5m from NRV before closing its latest, $8m, funding round last year. 

    Gluten-free flour that mimics the properties of regular wheat flour has been something of a holy grail for manufacturers. Stay tuned to see how well the artesa campaign progresses, and whether it can live up to all the hype.

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    I can not wait for this product to come to market!  Imagine not needing gums to mimic “gluten”.  I react to Xanthan gum.  I also like the idea of distancing myself from rice products.  I am concerned about arsenic levels, especially in commercially sourced gluten-free products where I am not sure where the rice originated.  

    All bets are off if this product tastes beany like previous chickpea (garbanzo) flours.  It took a lot of spices to disguise that horrid taste!  

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    What makes it different from current chickpea flour?  Finer grind?  GMO?  non-GMO breeding to have more emulsifiers?

    I know you can make meringue with the liquid in a can of chickpeas (whips just like egg whites), so this isn't very surprising.  Also, Indian black gram should be looked at as another bready flour, it has thousands of years of history behind it.  Not to mention, short grain or "sweet" rice which has stretch and springy texture also. 

    I think the alternative flours all have their uses, but I also think we're missing part of the picture by not including the legume based flours from the Middle East and southern Asia. 

    I'm really surprised they'd advertise it as a "thickener" because a slurry of potato flour is delicious and has a better texture than wheat flour.  Even wheat flour when made into a roux can't match the taste and texture.  Of course, you have to use a stick blender on it.  But I do that for sauces anyway.

    Broken up tapioca bread can be a thickener too.  It disintegrates perfectly.  (I'm thinking of the EnerG one).  No stick blender needed in that case. 

    So, overall this is good news, great news, even.  For baking.  But I haven't had trouble making sauces.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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