By Ubaida Akbar
Development of food products using composite flour has increased and has attracted much attention from researchers- especially in the production of bakery products. As a part of my research work during my Master’s in Food Technology , I, as a researcher, developed and evaluated different parameters of composite flour noodles using different proportions of wheat, rice and corn with other ingredients with its impact on textural, rheological, morphological and sensory quality as well as its overall acceptability. Five different combinations (T1 to T5) with varied amount of wheat, rice and corn flour were formulated. Among the various combinations treatment T1 (wheat 100%) rated the best (8.00) in sensory evaluation and among the blends treatment T3 (wheat: corn 50:50) was rated for highest overall acceptability scores (7.10). Highest tensile strength was observed in T2 (Rice: Wheat 50:50) followed by treatment T5 (Rice: Wheat: Corn 34:33:33). The highest visco-elastic behavior was observed in wheat flour noodles followed by wheat+corn blends. Microstructure of noodles got influenced and varied among different treatments.
Cereals like wheat, rice, maize and millets are staple food grains for majority of people around the world. These are rich source of carbohydrates and supply calorie and other nutrients to the consumers. Apart from value addition by processing to traditional products from these grains, development of newer products offers variety, convenience, quality, cost efficiency and scope for increasing nutritional value. Composite flours may be considered firstly as blends of wheat and other flours for the production of desired products. These are considered advantageous in developing countries as it reduces the importation of wheat flour and encourages the use of locally grown crops as main raw material.
Wheat is the most important staple food crop for more than one third of the world population and contributes more calories and proteins to the world diet than any other cereal crop. It is considered a good source of protein, minerals, B-group vitamins and dietary fiber. Wheat flour is used to prepare bread, produce biscuits, confectionary products, noodles and vital wheat gluten or seitan. Wheat grains are also rich in pantothenic acid, riboflavin and some minerals, sugars and so on.
Rice (Oryza sativa) is a principal cereal, a leading food crop of the world and a staple food of over approximately half of the world’s population. Its annual consumption is next to wheat. It is commonly used either as brown or white rice, which is produced by removing the hull and bran layers of rough rice kernel through dehulling and milling processes respectively. Rice is favourable due to its features like containing no gluten, low in sodium and low in protein constituents.
Corn,(Zeamays) also known as maize, is one of the most successful cereal grasses of all time. Corn, being popular as a food item, is enjoyed by people in various forms, like, whole corn, corn flour, corn starch, corn gluten, corn syrup, cornmeal, corn oil, popcorn, cornflakes and so on. Apart from satisfying the taste buds of its users, corn is also a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Apart from the nutritional benefits, corn provides various health benefits too. Corn, being a rich source of folate, is found to beneficial for the formation of new cells. Folate is also helpful in preventing birth defects, colon cancer and heart diseases. Thiamine in corn is good for carbohydrate metabolism, energy production and cognitive functions. Fibre content helps to reduce cholesterol, constipation and the risk of colon cancer. Corn contains a carotenoid called beta-cryptoxanthin, which is good for the health of the lungs and also prevents lung cancer. Corn can promote cardiovascular health, if consumed in moderate quantities, regularly. Composite flours have been used for the development of various products and so on.
Noodles are a form of pasta that are becoming extremely popular in India even as a continental and Italian delicacy. Instant noodles are prepared by means of an extrusion machine and can be described as hard, brittle pieces, formed into different shapes by extruding, cutting and drying tough dough made from semolina or farina mixed with water. Noodles, made from flour or purified starches from different plant sources are consumed in Asia. Noodles prepared from rice flour are one the most popular products in Asian countries. Traditionally, rice based noodles are produced from flours with medium to high amylose contents. Instant noodles are among the popular products due to their convenience with an acceptable mouth feel. These properties are affected by the interactions of certain ingredients including water, starch, gum and others.
From the present study composite flour noodles were produced from wheat, rice and corn flour in single and blended form which were of significant difference from each other. Among all the formulations , noodle sample prepared from wheat and combinations of wheat in corn in terms of sensory and physiochemical attributes gave the best results. During the storage period of 40 days, there was significant increase in the moisture (%) content & ash (%) of all treatments. The protein(%),fat(%) , fiber (%) of all the treatments decreased significantly with storage. The packaging material (LDPE) used for the storage of the composite flour noodles was overall good. Hence, it is recommended that the composite flour noodles should be packed in airtight and moisture proof bags especially in the areas of high humidity to prevent the microbial growth and maintain its quality when stored under room temperature. It was also found that the composite flour noodles have antioxidant properties and hence good for health. Thus, this fiber rich noodle will be a good source of ready to eat noodles for children, teenagers, sports persons and so on.
The author has Completed an Msc in Food Technology from the Islamic University Kashmir. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org