USA - In the quest for gluten-free alternatives, carob germ emerges as a noteworthy contender.
Known for its properties resembling wheat gluten, it was recognized back in 1935 but hasn't become a staple in gluten-free baking—until now.
Accounting for 17-25% of carob seeds, the germ is a byproduct of producing carob bean gum.
Rich in protein, when milled, its flour boasts protein concentrations between 58-67%. This high-protein content brings about exciting possibilities for baking, particularly gluten-free delicacies.
The proteins in carob germ, known as caroubin, offer stiffer emulsions than soy protein and wheat gluten.
These emulsions can help stabilize gluten-free cakes and muffins that demand strong emulsification during mixing.
Caroubin proteins have a knack for absorbing water quickly, making the dough stiffer. This bound water plays a pivotal role in the carob germ dough’s network formation.
However, carob germ is not without its challenges. At high mixing strains, the protein tends to break down quicker than traditional wheat gluten.
This means industrial bakers need to tread carefully, maintaining low mixing speeds to prevent overmixing.
Pre-hydrate the carob germ and add it later in the mixing process, ensuring the network remains intact.
In taste tests, carob germ-infused goods were denser and chewier than their chickpea, pea, and soy counterparts. Still, flavor profiles remained consistent, hinting at potential success in the market.
With sustainability becoming increasingly crucial, the potential to upcycle carob germ in baking could be a game-changer.
Incorporating carob germ might just be the shift that brings forth a new era in gluten-free baking. As with all ingredients, it has its challenges, but its benefits could very well outweigh the drawbacks.
As the industry continues to evolve, carob germ is one ingredient worth keeping an eye on.
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