Development of an analytical concept for quality assurance of spelt sorts from biodynamic farming

Funding: Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen "Otto von Guericke" e.V. (AiF)
Project Duration: 01.09.2007 – 31.05.2009
Project Manager: Beate Hajek
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This project aims at fast methods for evaluating functional characteristics (physicochemical, electrochemical, microscopical, technological, rheological properties) of spelt flour in order to predict baking quality of the raw material. In the course of the project traditional methods will be combined with new approaches to a quality management concept. The next step will be implementation at a farm that is committed to organically grown production.

Although spelt is closely related to wheat, both cereals have different characteristics which affect the baking process. For example, the amount of crude gluten in spelt is much higher than in wheat. This crude gluten of spelt has a different structure: it is more smooth and elastic than the one from wheat. As a consequence, a dough made from spelt may become slobbery and too soft for processing. For spelt, three functional groups are relevant for its performance: proteins that generate crude gluten, starch that sets the gelatinization characteristics and other polymer carbohydrates and relevant activities of enzymes. Ionic interactions, for example between proteins and minerals, affect the baking process.

Traditional methods like analytics of wheat flour (falling number, gluten index, content of protein and crude gluten) are modified and combined with modern approaches (for example aggregation tests of crude gluten). An integrated concept for quality assurance will be developed in accordance with a standardized baking process. These measures make baking quality for spelt flour predictable. The analyzed flours came from organic farming compatible to DEMETER principels. No additives that improve the baking quality are permitted except for acerola cherry - therefore it is very important to offer good quality to bakeries and consumers. Processing instructions for certain flour qualities are supposed to improve safety in the mill and bakery and boost customer satisfaction.