Ancient wheats: potential for food processing
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Wheat is among the oldest and most extensively grown of all crops in the world. It is accepted that wheat was first grown as a food crop about 10000-8000 BC. Einkom and/or emmer wheat are generally considered to be related ancestors of modem species. Ancient wheats can be simply defined as the oldest or earliest cultivated wheats by mankind such as emmer and einkom or forgotten wheats such as spelt. Of these ancient wheats, spelt and einkom are currently of interest to researchers, processors and consumers. Most of the interest in these wheats arises from the claims that einkom and spelt proteins are not toxic for people having gluten intolerance, allergenicity or coeliac disease. Therefore, some of these wheats are being grown to provide organic alternative wheats which could be used in producing specialty bakery products, organic and health foods. For example, spelt wheat is already being used in producing specialty baked goods in Canada. Also, spelt wheat is reported to have a unique flavor and to be more nutritious. On the other hand, ancient wheats show poor quality in conventional breadmaking. Doughs prepared from einkom flour exhibited lower mixograph characteristics and were sticky, difficult to handle, and produced low bread loaf volumes. Also, spelt wheat produced bread with poor quality relative to that prepared from the common wheat cultivar Katepwa. In the present investigation, a diverse range of breakfast, bread and pasta products were processed from ancient wheats in order to evaluate their potentials for the food processing industry. Also, trials were conducted in order to improve the quality of the food products made from ancient wheats.
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