In January 2001, Toronto-based Canada Bread relaunched its Dempster’s® WholeGrains™ product line with six varieties of breads made with whole grain flour. This relaunch proved successful, dramatically growing the company’s wheat and grain products market share. Since the launch, the company has expanded its Dempster’s® WholeGrains™ offerings to include 12 Grain, Bran, Flax, Multigrain, Soy, Stone Ground Whole Wheat, Sunflower Multigrain,Wheat & Oats with Honey, and 100% Whole Wheat.Out of these breads, one of the biggest sellers is Flax.
Flaxseeds have arrived in the baking industry as an essential ingredient in grain bread formulas. These beneficial ingredients are chock full of healthful properties and easily are incorporated into bakery food formulas. Flax, a blue flowering crop that produces flaxseeds, is mainly grown in Canada. In the United States, the majority of flax is grown in North Dakota. Flaxseeds contain various types of oils, including low levels of saturated fats, moderate amounts of monosaturated fat and high levels of polyunsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats contain the essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alphalinolenic (ALA) acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid. These healthful essential fatty acids play a significant role in improving human health. Clinical research shows that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids lowers the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels. Besides omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds contain protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, lignans, vitamins and minerals.
The omega-3 fatty acid content of flaxseeds allows bakery foods with flaxseeds to use a Food and Drug Administration-approved health claim.When a bakery food contains at least 260 mgs of ALA per Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC), “High in/Excellent source of/Rich in” claims can be used on product packaging. This regulation requires that the claim specify the type of omega-3 fatty acid present in the product.
Omega-3 fatty acids also qualify for structure/function claims, such as “Omega-3s support cardiovascular health,” “Omega-3s support healthy brain and eye development,” or “Omega-3s are beneficial to health maintenance.”To use a structure/function claim, bakers must ensure the accuracy and truthfulness of the claim.
Flaxseeds are sold in whole seed, ground and oil forms. Ground flaxseeds allow consumers to gain the maximum benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed suppliers offer bakers many forms of flaxseed, including milled flaxseed, flaxseed meal and flaxseed flour. According to one flaxseed supplier, milled flaxseeds provide 100% of the nutritional value of flaxseeds in an easy-to-formulate form.
Milled flaxseeds have a similar texture to wheat bran and can partially replace flour in bakery foods. Flaxseeds also reduce shortening and oil usage and increase dough’s water absorption.
Flaxseeds impart a nutty flavor on bakery foods when used in large percentages. In smaller doses, flaxseeds have no effect on flavor. However, flaxseeds will affect baking, causing additional browning of bakery foods. Bakers can lower the temperature of their ovens to compensate for this additional browning.