Submitted to: Cereal Foods World
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2004
Publication Date: 7/29/2004
Citation: Waniska, R.D., Cepeda, M., King, B.S., Adams, J.L., Rooney, L.W., Torres, P.I., Lookhart, G.L., Bean, S., Wilson, J.D., Bechtel, D.B. 2004. Effects of flour properties on tortilla quality. Cereal Foods World Journal. 49:237-244. Interpretive Summary: Tortilla popularity is growing in the USA and throughout the world. Good quality tortillas resist tearing, cracking, crumbling and breaking during preparation into fajitas, burritos, soft tacos, etc. and during consumption. Since tortillas in the USA are not usually consumed on the day of baking they must retain their flexibility for several weeks; therefore, long shelf stability of tortillas is a concern of tortilla processors. Since flour is the major ingredient in tortilla production, it is a major contributor to the quality and shelf-stability of tortillas. Enriched, bleached, hard-wheat flour is generally used for tortillas. Flours that produce extensible doughs yield large-diameter, opaque tortillas. Better quality tortillas, however, were prepared from hard wheat flour of intermediate protein content when compared to tortillas produced from high and low protein flours. This suggests that flour protein quality and amount are less important for tortillas than for bread. Tortillas made from each of the 61 flours in this study had acceptable appearance and opacity, attributes needed for the 'fresh' tortilla market. About half of the tortilla flours processed into tortillas exhibited the additional quality criteria of large diameter, long shelf stability and higher moisture content. Data from 28 flours yielding good quality tortillas provide more support for the impact of damaged starch and less support for the role of proteins. This research is of importance to those in the Wheat and tortilla industries and to researchers in Food science.
Technical Abstract: Sixty-one commercial tortilla flours were tested for tortilla properties using a standardized tortilla bake test. Flour, dough, and tortilla properties were evaluated. All flours tested yielded tortillas with acceptable appearance and opacity, attributes important for the tortilla market. Twenty-eight of the tortilla flours yielded tortillas with a larger diameter, longer shelf stability, and higher moisture content, attributes that are desirable for many retail and wholesale markets. Data for the flours tested confirmed the results of previous tortilla research, i.e., more protein or damaged starch in the flour corresponded to smaller diameter tortillas with improved storage stability and intermediate protein content yielded better quality tortillas. Data from the 28 flours yielding good quality tortillas provided more support for the impact of damaged starch and less support for the impact of proteins on tortilla quality: 1) tortilla diameter correlated with A starch granules and negatively with B starch granules and damaged starch measured by enzyme-susceptible starch (ESS); 2) tortilla stability correlated with mixing time and damaged starch measured by ESS and negatively with resistance to mixing; and 3) tortilla moisture content correlated with amounts of insoluble polymeric protein, soluble polymeric protein, and gliadin. The flour qualities needed to yield good quality tortillas are not well defined; however, components should include protein content (10.0'12.0%), intermediate protein quality, and lower levels of starch damage during milling.