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Title:
INERT-GAS BASED UNLEAVENED DOUGH SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/037969
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention includes a ready-to-use unleavened food article that provides a baked product, such as a biscuit, pie crust or pita bread; a dried product such as pasta; or a fried product. the dough article comprises a substantially gas-impermeable container. The dough article also comprises an unleavened food having a flour to sugar ratio of 0 to 0.25 to 1.0. The food is disposed within the container. The dough article also comprises an inert gas that is disposed within the container.

Inventors:
Narayanaswamy, Venkatachalam (9180 Goldenrod Lane North Maple Grove, MN, 55369, US)
Kreisman, Linda R. (751 Goodrich Avenue St. Paul, MN, 55105, US)
Langler, James E. (60 Glen Edge Road White Bear Lake, MN, 55110, US)
Tobelmann, David W. (415 Sycamore Drive Plymouth, MN, 55441, US)
Sood, Vijay (19655 Waterford Place Shorewood, MN, 55331, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2001/047224
Publication Date:
May 16, 2002
Filing Date:
November 05, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GENERAL MILLS, INC. (Number One General Mills Boulevard P.O. box 1113 Minneapolis, MN, 55440, US)
Narayanaswamy, Venkatachalam (9180 Goldenrod Lane North Maple Grove, MN, 55369, US)
Kreisman, Linda R. (751 Goodrich Avenue St. Paul, MN, 55105, US)
Langler, James E. (60 Glen Edge Road White Bear Lake, MN, 55110, US)
Tobelmann, David W. (415 Sycamore Drive Plymouth, MN, 55441, US)
Sood, Vijay (19655 Waterford Place Shorewood, MN, 55331, US)
International Classes:
A21D4/00; A21D8/02; A21D10/02; A23L7/109; (IPC1-7): A21D10/02
Foreign References:
US6039994A2000-03-21
Other References:
See also references of EP 1331851A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
O'toole, John A. (General Mills, Inc. Number One General Mills Boulevard P.O. Box 1113 Minneapolis, MN, 55440, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is :
1. A readytouse unleavened dough article, comprising: a substantially gasimpermeable container; an unleavened food product having a water activity that is less than about 0.85, the dough comprising: flour, a fat and optionally sugar and another carbohydrate or protein wherein theratio of sugar to flour is 0.0 to 0.25: 1; and an inert gas disposed within the container containing less than 4% residual oxygen.
2. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough is substantially free of any C02 gas producing leavening agents.
3. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the water activity is less than or equal to about 0.5.
4. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough further comprises a polyol.
5. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the inert gas is nitrous oxide or nitrogen.
6. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the inert gas is a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide or nitrogen.
7. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough is substantially free of sugar.
8. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the gasimpermeable container comprises a pouch.
9. The dough articles of claim 1 wherein the gasimpermeable container comprises a baking pan.
10. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough comprises a cellular network.
11. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough is a pie crust dough.
12. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough is a pasta dough.
13. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough is a pita bread dough.
14. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the fat does not exceed about 50% of the dough by weight.
15. The dough article of claim 1 wherein the dough is a soy protein based dough.
16. A method for making a readytouse food product article, comprising: preparing a dry blend comprising flour and optionally sugar in a ratio of 0 to 0.25: 1, a carbohydrate or a proteinbased material ; preparing a wet blend comprising fat ; mixing the wet blend and dry blend to form a dough that has a water activity no greater than 0.85; adding the dough to a container and charging the dough and container with an inert gas ; and sealing the container with the dough and inert gas.
17. The method of claim 16 and further comprising adding a yeast flavoring agent to the dough.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein the yeast flavoring agent is added to the dry blend.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein the wet blend and dry blend are combined under anaerobic conditions.
20. The method of claim 16 and further comprising adding the dough to a gas impermeable container after injecting with the inert gas.
21. The method of claim 20 wherein the dough is added to the container at room temperature.
22. The method of claim 20 and further comprising sealing the container so as to form a headspace that has an oxygen concentration that is not more than 4% by volume.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein the sealed container is substantially free of pressurization.
24. The method of claim 20 and further comprising baking the dough in the container :.
25. A method for making a readytouse unleavened dough article, comprising: preparing a dry blend comprising flour and optionally sugar in a ratio of 0 to 0.25: 1 and optionally a carbohydrate or proteinbased ingredient ; preparing a wet blend comprising fat ; and mixing the wet blend and the dry blend to form a dough that has a water activity no greater than 0.85.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein the carbohydratebased ingredient comprises potatoes or rice.
27. The method of claim 25 wherein the water activity is no greater than 0.5.
28. The method of claim 26 and further comprising placing the dough in a container that is substantially impermeable.
Description:
INERT-GAS BASED UNLEAVENED DOUGH SYSTEM Background of the Invention The present invention relates to packaged food articles and to their methods of preparation. More particularly, the present invention relates to articles comprising a gas-impermeable container and an unleavened dough for baked goods or other unleavened fried or dried food products that are storage stable at room temperature.

Preparing consistently high quality unleavened baked goods such as pie crusts, lefsa, fila dough, tortillas and unleavened bread such as pita bread from "scratch"has always been a difficult task to perform. Preparing dried dough products such as pasta has been particularly difficult and has required special equipment. Reproduction of good product quality has been an elusive feat in many households. Furthermore, with other options available, such as purchasing pre- prepared pasta, unleavened bread, pie crusts and frozen pie crust dough, homemakers do not have to make these products from"scratch."One problem with pre-prepared pasta, crusts, tortillas, and unleavened bread, however, is that these products do not have the fresh organoleptic properties of home-made baked goods.

Several products have been developed in an attempt to accommodate time restraints of homemakers and to provide a freshly baked product. These products include dry mixes and refrigerated doughs. For instance, EP Application No. 8687850, filed April 4,1997, describes a shelf stable cake dough that has a water activity below 0.85. The dough is packed in a gas-impermeable pouch in an atmosphere of an inert gas containing preferably less than 2% oxygen by volume. A high concentration of sugar is used to lower the water activity.

U. S. patent No. 5,178,893, which issued January 12,1993, describes a ready to bake dough, used to make bread, cookies, biscuits, and pastries. The dough includes water in a concentration of 8-20% by weight. The dough is prepared by making a premix comprising flour and fat and heating the premix. If water is added, the premix is heated under pressure.

Another shelf stable dough is described inU. S. Patent No. 4, 904,493, which issued February 27,1990. This patent describes a biscuit dough with a water activity within a range of 0.6 to 0.8. The dough is made with inactivated flour. EP Application 443 219 Al describes extending shelf life of a dough by sterilizing each of an aqueous phase, and oil phase, prior to mixing.

The Vasseneix patent, U. S. No. 5, 384, 139, which issued January 24, 1995, describes a method for rendering a food composition shelf stable. The method includes separating wet and dry components in compartmentalized packaging.

Summary of the Invention In its product aspect, the present invention resides in a ready-to-use unleavened dough article that provides a baked product, such as a pie crust, tortilla, lefsa, fila dough, or pita bread or a dried product such as pasta or a fried product such as a vegetable or soy-based meat analog. The dough article comprises a substantially gas-impermeable container. The dough article also comprises an unleavened dough having a water activity that is less than about 0.85. The dough is disposed within the container. The dough comprises flour, a fat and optionally sugar wherein the ratio of sugar to flour is 0 to 0.25: 1. The dough article also comprises an inert gas that is disposed within the container. The dough article contains less than about 2% residual oxygen.

In one method aspect, the present invention resides in a method for making a ready-to-use dough article. The method comprises preparing a dry blend comprising flour and optionally sugar in a ratio of 0 to 0.25: 1 and preparing a wet blend comprising fat. The wet blend and the dry blend are mixed to form a dough that has a water activity that is no greater than 0. 85.

Detailed Description The present invention relates to packaged, ready-to-bake unleavened doughs for unleavened food products such as pita bread, fila dough, lefsa, tortillas, pasta, pie crust, as well as unleavened carbohydrate-based foods such as protein- based foods such as texture soy protein, characterized by shelf stability at room temperature and to their methods of preparation. Each of the unleavened doughs and unleavened food product components as well as product use and attributes and methods of preparation are described in detail herein.

Throughout the specification and claims, percentages are by weight and temperatures and degrees Fahrenheit unless otherwise indicated.

The unleavened food products comprise a gas impermeable container; a low water activity, unleavened dough or other unleavened food disposed within and partially filling the container ; and an unpressurized, inert low oxygen gas atmosphere in the unfilled head space.

The container used in one embodiment of the present invention is either flexible or rigid or semi-rigid and of any suitable shape or configuration. For example, one type of container suitable for use includes the gas impermeable container such as a pouch fabricated from flexible laminate materials having low gas permeability. A suitable laminate is a polyester-aluminum-polyester laminate. Also useful are tubs fabricated from plastic, glass or metal. In other variations, the container or portions thereof serve as a disposable baking container. For example, the container comprises an aluminum or an ovenable plastic baking tray or tub having an overlaying peelable foil membrane. Having the container function as a baking container adds further convenience by eliminating transfer of the batter or dough from the container to the baking utensil.

The food product further comprises a ready-to-bake unleavened dough disposed within the container. The dough comprises flour, fat and moisture.

The dough optionally includes a nutritive carbohydrate sweetener.

"Dough"as used herein refers to an intermediate food product that has a gluten-based structure. In dough, the gluten forms a continuous dough elastic medium into which other ingredients are embedded. A dough is typically prepared by mixing, and kneading and is often stiff enough to cut into various shapes.

Doughs generally are used to make unleavened products such as pita bread, tortillas, fila dough, pasta, pie crust, pasta and so on.

In contrast,"Batter"as used herein refers to an intermediate food product that comprises flour, water, eggs and salt and optionally fat and sugars that are a starch batter-based composition. In a batter, gluten development is purposefully minimized. Batters are inelastic. Liquid added to make the batter forms a continuous batter medium in which other ingredients are dispersed. A batter cooks into a soft, moist and sometimes crumbly product. A batter is typically prepared by blending, creaming, stirring or whipping and is generally thin enough to pour or scoop or squeeze out of container.

"Unleavened food product"as used. herein refers to carbohydrate- based foods such as lefsa, fila dough, tortillas, pita bread, pasta, and crusts and protein-based products such as texture soy protein. Carbohydrate-based foods typically have a gluten component "Barrier system"as used herein refers to a substantially gas impermeable container.

"Soy flour"as used herein refers to a product made by grinding defatted soybeans. Soy flour is typically mixed with wheat flour to increase the protein content of baked products.

Flour The present dough compositions comprise from about 5 to 80% of the dough as flour. Conventionally, flour is standardized to a moisture content of about 14% although flour with lower moisture content can be used. Flours useful herein are of a conventional type and quality including cake flour, bread flour, and all-purpose flour. Wheat flours are preferred but other flours conventionally used in the preparation of baked goods are also employed in full or partial substitution for the wheat flour. Traditional cake flour used for layer cakes has about 8% or less protein by weight of the flour. Pastry flour ordinarily has a protein level of about 10%. Other flours such as bread flour generally have a higher protein level of about 11 to 13% by weight. One protein range for wheat flour used in the present invention is between about 9 to 10% by weight of the flour. A general all-purpose flour is also usable. This type of all-purpose flour generally comprises a mixture of both and hard and soft wheat flours, i. e., both high protein level and low protein level flours. Such flours are useful if the average protein content ranges from about 8 to 10% by weight.

While chlorinated flours are used herein, unchlorinated flours are also usable. Enzyme inactivated flours are also usable. In particular, flours that are free of alpha-amylase activity and have a very reduced lipasic and peroxidasic activity are usable. In addition wheat flour, corn flour, rice flour, buckwheat, potato flakes and soy flour are used for some carbohydrate-based embodiments of the present invention and either supplant or replace the wheat flour. Soy flour typically defatted. Pasta is typically prepared from wheat flour, buckwheat, rice flour or a combination of these flours.

Sugar The dough compositions of the present invention also essentially comprise 0-5% of sugar or a nutritive carbohydrate sweetener ingredient in a ratio of about 0.0-to-0.25: 1.0. Typically, sucrose is used in mixes for baked goods as the sugar ingredient, although up to about 30% of the sugar in the present invention food products is supplied by dextrose or other nutritive carbohydrate sweetening agents such as corn syrup solids. Commercially available milled sugar usually contains up to about 4% starch as an aid to maintaining its free-flowing properties.

In embodiments where sugar is used, ordinary granulated sugars are satisfactory for use in the dry mix. These sugars include sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, lactose, brown and invert sugars, alone or in combination. The preferred sugar is sucrose.

Sugar to Flour Ratio The baker's ratio is the weight ratio of sugar to flour. The baker's ratio is used to provide desired baked good attributes. The baker's ratio of the food products of the present invention range from 0% sugar to a ratio of about 0.25: 1.

Fat The dry mix compositions of the present invention, in some embodiments, comprise from about 0 to about 50% of an edible fat or shortening ingredient. A shortening component adds richness to the eating properties of the finished baked goods as well as aids in the leavening process. The particular fat constituent level will depend particularly upon the desired type of finished baked good desired and its properties.

Conventional shortening materials are suitable for use as the shortening ingredient of the present doughs. Such conventional shortening materials are well known in the dough art. The conventional shortenings useful herein include fatty glyceridic materials classified on the basis of their physical state at room temperature. Liquid shortenings or oils are usable and provide an advantage of ease of incorporation. Solid shortening is usable and provides an advantage of desirable mouth feel upon consumption of the baked good. More commonly are mixtures of liquid and solid shortenings. These mixtures are fluid or plastic depending in part on the level of solid fatty materials. Shortenings of this type comprise a liquid oil containing from about 2-26% normally solid fatty glycerides. That is, a solid content index,"SFI", at 70"and 4% to 6% at 100°F.

Solid fatty glycerides include fatty monoglycerides and diglycerides of saturated fatty acids having 16-22 carbon atoms. The liquid shortening is animal shortening, marine, vegetable or synthetic oil, such as sucrose polyesters, which are liquid at ordinary room temperature. Representative of such liquid shortenings include coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, corn oil, safflower oil, poppyseed oil, soybean oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, babassue oil, lard, tallow, and the like. Other suitable shortening materials and methods of shortening preparation are described in detail in Bailey "Industrial Oil and Pat Products," (3rd ed. 1964) which is incorporated herein by reference.

Mixtures of the above oils are usable as are solid fatty materials, such as saturated triglyceride fats. In general, from about 1.5 to 25% triglycerides which are solid at 70°F are added to a liquid oil.

The preferred oils are soybean oil hydrogenated to an iodine value of from about 105 to 115, preferably about 107, corn oil, palm oil, hydrogenated palm oil, lard and tallow oils. Preferably, the oils used to prepare the shortening composition will contain only from about 1-7% hardstock. Hardstock is a hydrogenated triglyceride having an iodine value of 8 or less. Preferred hardstocks include hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, hydrogenated palm oil and hydrogenated lard or tallow.

Some embodiments of the unleavened doughs of the present invention further comprise about 0.2-5% of emulsifiers. The shortening provides a convenient carrier for addition of emulsifiers to the dough. The emulsifiers aid the realization of baked goods with improved grain structure and texture. The emulsifiers are also useful to maintain the emulsion integrity of the dough over extended room temperature storage.

The emulsifier typically comprises from about 1 to 20% of the shortening component, preferably about 5 to 15% and in some embodiments from about 10 to 15%. Emulsifiers may be prehydrated in an aqueous dispersion and added to the dough. The emulsifier in other embodiments are part of an emulsion or dispersion with or without a fat component.

Generally useful as the emulsifiers are partially esterified polyhydric compounds having surface-active properties, This class of emulsifiers includes among others mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, organic acid esters of monoglycerides of fatty acids, organic acid esters of monoglycerides, and fatty acid esters. Mono and di-glycerides of fatty acids such as monostearin are commonly used'emulsifiers. Preferably, they are added as distilled monoglycerides because of their improved purity and better functionality due to decreased interference form diglycerides.

Organic acids such as acetic acid, lactic acid, citric, acid, diacetyltartaric acids are used to form esters with monoglycerides to give Acetem, Lactem, Citrem, and Datem, respectively. These fall under the category of organic acid esters of monoglycerides. Some of the subclasses of emulsifiers included in the fatty acid ester category are: polyglycerol esters of fatty acids (PGE's) wherein the glycerol moiety can be up to 10 or more glycerol molecules and the fatty acids can be palmitic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid and so on, propylene glycol fatty acid ester (PGME's) with stearic acid such as propylene glycol monostearate (PGME's) and so on; sorbitan fatty acid ester which are esters of fatty acids with sorbitol anhydride or sorbitan. Some examples are sorbitan monostearate (Span 60) and sorbitan monooleate (Span 80). Sorbitan esters can be reacted with ethylene oxide to form polyoxyethylene sorbitan esters such as polysorbate 60 (polyoxy-20- ethylene sorbitan stearate), polysorbate 80 (poly-20-ethylene sorbitan oleate), polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate (Tween 80) and so on ; sodium steroyl lactylate (SSL) ; sorbitan tristearate (STS); sucrose ester of fatty acids.

Another class of emulsifiers call phospholipids (for e. g. Lecithin) can also be used.

Moisture The unleavened doughs of the present invention have a total moisture content of 10-20%. The total moisture includes water provided with or associated with the various essential and optional ingredients. For example, total moisture includes the moisture associated with flour, starch, flavorings and especially liquid eggs, if used. The total moisture is determined by a vacuum oven drying of the doughs herein. In some embodiments, very little or no added water is employed to formulate the present unleavened doughs because moisture is provided in pasteurized liquid eggs and the residual moisture associated with the dry ingredients.

In other applications, dry eggs may be used and water is added to the dough as part of an emulsion or emulsifier dispersion.

The particular selection of ingredients and concentration are selected to provide doughs having a water activity that is less than 0.85. For some embodiments, the water activity is less than 0. 50 and may be 0.25. Selection of such water activity value is important in achieving a balance between microbial shelf stability and dough handling characteristics. Water activity may also be reduced by using polyols such as glycerol and sorbitol.

The present unleavened doughs are preferably not acidified and thus range in pH from about 6.0 to 8.0. The doughs herein are preferably essentially free of conventional leavening acids. The combination of a low oxygen gas in the head space and low water activity are sufficient to maintain shelf stability at room temperature.

If desired, the doughs further comprise about 1-8% of a humectant, preferably about 1-6%. Humectant addition is helpful in achieving the present essential water activity level and the microbial shelf stability at room temperature provided by the present food products. The humectant is any commonly employed humectant ingredient. Preferred humectants are selected from a group consisting of sorbitol, xylitol, manitol, glycerin, glycerol, propylene glycol and mixtures thereof.

In other embodiments, the food articles of the present invention comprise an anti-mycotic ingredient such as sodium, potassium sorbate, calcium propionate, parabensorpropionicacid. While not needed to maintain shelf stability addition of such anti-mycotic ingredients so desired from a food safety standpoint anti-mycotic in case the physical integrity of the food product is comprised and compromised and oxygen leaks into the head space.

The food product of the present invention is specifically described in terms of baked goods such as pita bread, tortillas, and pie crusts ; dried goods such as pasta and fried goods, such texture soy protein. These products are made from an unleavened dough with a pH of about 6 to 8. The unleavened dough products of the present invention do not require a conventional acidlsoda chemical leavening system or a yeast-based leavening system.

The unleavened dough of the present invention optionally includes a variety of ingredients suitable for rendering finished baked goods prepared therefrom more organoleptically desirable. These optional dry mix components include anti-oxidants, flavor/coloring agents, flavor chips, nuts and fruit pieces or other edible inclusions. Some embodiments of the unleavened dough of the present invention also may include an ingredient such as inactivated yeast cells to impart a : yeast flavor.

Another optional ingredient includes nonfat dry milk solids. Nonfat dry milk solids aid the structuring of the finished baked good. If present, such dry milk solids comprise from about 0.5 to 2.0% of the present doughs.

The product of the present invention also includes a container, unleavened dough stored within the container, with a headspace over the dough and inert gas within the head space. The inert gas comprises N20, C02 or N2 or combinations of these gases. Residual oxygen content is less than 4% and for best results is less than 2%.

For some embodiments, the headspace comprises at least 10% (v/v) ofCO2, and may be at least 20%. At such levels, the CO2 provides modest preservative properties against spoilage.

METHOD OF PREPARATION The unleavened doughs of the present invention are prepared by blending the essential and optional components such as flour, salt, optionally sugar, shortening or oil, water and glycerol or other polyol together in such a conventional manner as to produce a well blended dough. The unleavened dough is prepared from a wet emulsifier premix blend and a dry blend. The wet emulsifier premix blend includes oil or liquid shortening, eggs, glycerol, emulsifiers and so on. The dry blend includes flour, optionally sugar, salt and so on. The dry blend and wet blend are then combined under anaerobic conditions to form a dough. The unleavened dough is, for example, prepared in a batch or a continuous mixing device.

Doughs and/or other unleavened food products are then charged or are otherwise disposed within the container to partially fill the container. The container is then flushed with an inert gas to insure low oxygen in the headspace.

Oxygen is equal to or less than 4% by volume. The containers are then sealed to form the finished ready-to-bake container articles. The articles have an extended shelf stability at room temperature and do not require refrigerated storage.

The temperature of dough and other unleavened food products during the filling step can be at room temperature to warm temperature, e. g., 60° to 100F° (15.6° to 37. 7° C). The packaged ready-to-bake baked dough articles and other unleavened food articles herein do not require heat treatment such as pasteurization or refrigeration in order to obtain shelf stability notwithstanding having a relatively high pH. The products enjoy microbial stability and retain their good baking properties for as long as four to nine months at room temperature storage. The articles are packaged to be substantially unpressurized, i. e. can be packaged at atmospheric pressure.

The present doughs are conveniently prepared into finished baked goods by simple addition to a suitable baking container or pan and baking to form a finished baked good is charged into a baking container and baked for sufficient times, for example, at 160° to 218.3° C (325° to 425° F) for about 10 to 40 minutes to form a finished baked good.

Baking time depends on the thickness of the dough in the pan, with a longer bake time required for a thicker (higher) dough. Bake times range between about 10 to 45 minutes. The resultant finished baked goods are characterized by a firm texture. Some of the finished baked good embodiments are further characterized by being somewhat expanded and typically have densities ranging from about 0.3 to 0.6 g/cc. The finished baked goods are ready for immediate consumption or can be prepared on a commercial scale for distribution.

The present invention finds particular suitability for use in connection with baked items such as pie crust, pita bread, and so forth; fried items such as tortilla dough, and fila dough; dried items such as pasta dough ; and other unleavened food products such as textured soy protein. Also, while the present articles do not require refrigeration, the articles can be cooled and stored at refrigeration temperatures.

Thus, since the invention disclosed herein may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or general characteristics thereof, some of which forms have been indicated, the embodiments described herein are to be considered in all respects illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is to be indicated by the appended claims, rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes, which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims, are intended to be embraced therein.