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Are Cockroaches the Key to Gluten-free Bread Nirvana?
Is flour made from the lowly cockroach the new gold-standard for gluten-free baking?
Will flour from cockroaches be the future of gluten-free baking? Photo: CC--SiamesePuppy
Celiac.com 03/09/2017 - It's cheaper, more nutritious, and properly delicious. Will gluten-free flour made from cockroaches change the way bread is made?
There's a great article over at Munchies. It's about two scientists from the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil, who have developed flour made from ground cockroaches that contains 40 percent more protein than normal wheat flour. Oh, and it happens to be gluten-free. Excited yet? Grossed out?
As part of their research, food engineering students Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon discovered a new way of producing cheaper, more nutritious food with the cockroach flour, since it contains a large amount of essential amino acids and some lipids and fatty acids as well—the keys for a balanced and healthy human diet.
These cockroaches are not the ones we find running or flying in city sewers or drains. They are a particular species, Nauphoeta cinerea, to be precise, and procured from a specialized breeder, where they are hygienically produced and fed on fruits and vegetables to meet all hygiene requirements required by ANVISA, the Brazilian health surveillance agency.
So, these are certified clean cockroaches, okay? And not only is the flour itself gluten-free, it's extremely high protein. Lucas and Menegon found that a bread containing just 10% cockroach flour presented a protein increase of 49.16 percent, when compared to bread made only with wheat flour. Also, at that ratio, the cockroach flour bread loaves keep the same flavor as their non-insect counterparts.
So, given the high protein, and the desirable elastic qualities, it seems a natural for someone to test out some gluten-free breads that use cockroach flour. We promise you updates on these and other gluten-free stories. Meantime? Tell us what you think. It obviously sounds gross, but what if cockraoch flour makes good gluten-free bread? Are you in or out?
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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