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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
BREAD PRODUCTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/042162
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed herein is a composition for producing a bread product. The composition comprises a flour, a whey protein, an alkali and an acidulant. The alkali is effective to alkalinise a hydrated composition whereby the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating is formed. The acidulant acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and, once acidulated, can react with the alkali distributed throughout the gas holding dough whereby a gas is produced.

Inventors:
LEWIS DEBORAH ANN (AU)
LEWIS DAVID ADRIAN (AU)
Application Number:
AU2020/050920
Publication Date:
March 11, 2021
Filing Date:
September 02, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BYRON FOOD SCIENCE PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
A21D2/26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOUNDRY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PTY LTD (Queen Victoria Building, New South Wales 1230, AU)
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Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A composition for producing a bread product, the composition comprising: a flour; a whey protein and an alkali, the alkali being effective to alkalinise a hydrated composition whereby the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating is formed; and an acidulant that acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali distributed throughout the gas holding dough whereby a gas is produced.

2. The composition of claim 1, wherein the whey protein is selected from one or more of the following: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, hydrolysate and native whey.

3. The composition of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the composition comprises between 4-18 %w/w of the whey protein.

4. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the alkali is effective to result in the hydrated composition having a pH of between 6.6 and 8.5.

5. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the alkali is selected from one or more of the following: potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), sodium bicarbonate (NaHCOi), ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3), sodium carbonate (NaiCC ) and potassium carbonate (K2CO3).

6. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the composition comprises between 1-6 %w/w of the alkali.

7. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the acidulant is selected from one or more of the following: gluconodeltalactone, sodium acid pyrophosphate, coated monocalcium phosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, encapsulated lactic acid, encapsulated tartaric acid and encapsulated phosphoric acid.

8. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the composition comprises an amount of the acidulant that is effective to neutralise substantially all of the alkali.

9. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the composition comprises between 1-9 %w/w of the acidulant.

10. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the flour is selected from one or more of the following: wheat flour, rye flour, barley flour, spelt flour, oat flour, rice flour, legume (pulse) flour, potato flour, buckwheat flour, cassava flour, tapioca flour, millet flour, triodia flour, wattle seed flour and corn flour.

11. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the composition comprises between 50-90 %w/w of the flour.

12. A composition for producing a bread product, the composition comprising: between 50-90 %w/w of a flour; between 4-18 %w/w of a whey protein; between 1-6 %w/w of an alkali that is effective to result a hydrated composition having a pH of between about 6.6 and 8.5; and between 1-9 %w/w of an acidulant that acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali whereby a gas is produced.

13. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the composition further comprises one or more additional ingredients selected from the following: a gum, flavourants, colourants, thickeners, salt, sugar, sweeteners, stabilisers, emulsifiers, antioxidants, preservatives, yeast products, gluten, bacteria and probiotics, vitamins and minerals, seeds, proteins, starches, fibres and pre-biotics, fats or oils, fruits, nuts, vegetables, egg products, meats and cheeses.

14. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein the composition is provided in the form of a dry-mix powder.

15. The composition of any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the bread product is selected from the following: a dinner roll, loaf bread, pizza, brioche, flat-bread, bun and a baguette.

16. A sachet comprising an amount of the composition of any one of claims 1 to 15 effective to produce the bread product upon hydration, mixing and baking.

17. A method of producing a bread product, the method comprising: adding a liquid to a dry-mix powder comprising: a flour; a whey protein and an alkali, the alkali being effective to alkalinise the hydrated composition whereby the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating is formed; and an acidulant that acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali distributed throughout the dough whereby a gas is produced, mixing the ingredients to form a gas holding dough; and baking the dough.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the ingredients are mixed for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

19. The method of claim 17 or claim 18, wherein the liquid is neutral in pH.

20. The method of any one of claims 17 to 19, wherein the liquid is selected from one or more of the following: water, a dairy milk, a nut milk, a soy milk, grain milk and coconut milk.

21. The method of any one of claims 17 to 20, wherein the ratio of the liquid to the dry-mix powder is from 40:60 to 60:40.

22. The method of any one of claims 17 to 21, wherein the dry-mix powder is the composition of any one of claims 1 to 15.

23. A bread product produced using the composition of any one of claims 1 to 15 or by the method of any one of claims 17 to 22.

Description:
BREAD PRODUCTS

Technical Field

[0001] The present invention relates to compositions which, when hydrated and baked, produce bread products. The invention also relates to methods of producing bread products and to bread products produced from such compositions and methods.

Background Art

[0002] Bread production is one of the oldest food processes and bread products are consumed globally in many forms. Leavened breads are traditionally based on cereal flours like wheat, barley, spelt, pulse and legumes etc., and are made using relatively similar processes. For example, the method for making breads from wheat ( Triticum aestivum) involves mixing wheat flour with water and, in the case of a yeast-leavened bread, an active yeast to form a dough. The so-formed dough is then rigorously kneaded for multiple lengthy periods of time (e.g. 20 minutes) in order to develop hydrated wheat proteins, referred to as gluten, which define a gas holding matrix and give structure to the resultant bread product. For yeast- leavened breads, the dough is then left to prove for 1-3 hours after kneading. During proving, the gluten fully develops (hydrates) and fermentation of the natural sugars occurs, with fermentation gasses (primarily carbon dioxide) being produced that become entrained within the flexible gas-holding matrix of the hydrated wheat proteins and cause the dough to increase in volume. This process may need to be repeated a few times because gluten is notoriously difficult to hydrate and conventional bread preparation therefore typically includes the steps of kneading, proving, knock-down, moulding and a second proving in the baking pan prior to baking.

[0003] When the dough is subsequently cooked (e.g. by baking), the gluten protein matrix sets by heat denaturation in its aerated state, resulting in a ready-to-eat bread. The resultant bread usually has a distinctive firm crust, chewy crumb and complex flavours developed from the combination of yeast fermentation products and a myriad of reaction products like, for example, products of the Maillard reaction between the carbohydrates and amino acids during heating. [0004] An alternate method for producing bread products uses a chemical leavening process. In this method, yeast fermentation is replaced with a gas forming chemical reaction. A leavening alkali such as sodium bicarbonate and a leavening acid such as buttermilk are added to cereal flour and water and kneaded for 20 minutes or so to form a gas-holding dough. When the formed dough is ultimately baked, the alkali reacts with the acid in the dough to release a gas (i.e. carbon dioxide gas when sodium bicarbonate is present), which is held in the dough protein matrix (formed by kneading the dough) as it sets during cooking such that a ready-to-eat “soda bread” is produced. Such bread products take between about 25-40 minutes to bake, depending on their size, and the resultant “soda bread” product has a distinctive dense and soft, short textured crumb, a crunchy crust and a bland soda flavour.

[0005] Home baking of bread products is a desirable activity. However, many people do not have the physical strength to knead dough or the time to wait for the kneaded dough to ferment and prove before it can be baked. Bread making machines are available, but these can be expensive and still many hours are required to prepare the bread mixture, knead the dough, prove the dough and then bake the bread. There are also limitations on the form and size of the breads that can be formed in such bread machines, as they only bake a single moulded loaf at a time. [0006] It would be advantageous to provide a bread product that can be produced without the need for physically demanding kneading or lengthy periods of time to prove before it can be baked.

Summary of the Invention

[0007] In a first aspect, the present invention provides a composition for producing a bread product. The composition comprises a flour, a whey protein, an alkali and an acidulant. The alkali is effective to alkalinise a hydrated composition whereby the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating is formed. The acidulant acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and, once acidulated, can react with the alkali distributed throughout the gas holding dough whereby a gas is produced.

[0008] The present invention arises from the discovery by the inventors that, when exposed to certain conditions, whey protein can mimic the functionality of matrix-forming molecules such as proteins in flour (for example wheat gluten) when producing bread products. The inventors discovered that whey protein can mimic the gas-holding matrix property of developed gluten, as discussed above for example, but without need for the extensive physical kneading step or proving step required to form the gluten gas holding matrix (kneading and proving are required to properly hydrate and develop traditional dough gluten before baking). The inventors also discovered that whey protein can provide similar heat setting functions to that of gluten. In effect, the whey protein in the present invention mimics the organoleptic and culinary properties of gluten in bread products. This discovery enabled the inventors to produce gluten-like textures (e.g. dough extensibility, gas-holding matrix and baked bread chewy textures) in bread products in a fraction of the time that would normally be required in conventional bread baking. The composition of the present invention provides an instant bread dry mix, with its unique combination of ingredients imparting a culinary functionality and resultant organoleptic properties similar to those of regular leavened breads, but without requiring any gluten- development step involving physic ally -demanding kneading and without any need to ferment and prove the dough.

[0009] The whey protein is present in the compositions of the present invention in a form and an amount whereby heating the hydrated composition causes the whey protein to set with what the inventors have found to be organoleptic properties similar to those of heat-set gluten proteins in traditional breads. The alkali, which dissolves when the composition is hydrated, is effective to adjust (or maintain) the pH of the hydrated composition to a pH at which the whey protein quickly solubilises and forms a dough with the flour and added liquid (as well as the other components in the composition). Similar to conventional gluten-developed breads, the resultant dough has a consistency that enables it to hold any gas which forms within the dough, and the dough will set upon heating. Further, when the hydrated composition is heated, the acidulant acidulates and the resultant acid is available to react with the alkali to form a gas (or gasses). As the components of the composition are intimately mixed to form the dough, the gas-producing reactants are distributed throughout the gas holding dough and the gas produced upon heating causes the dough to expand in a similar manner to that of breads produced using yeast or conventional chemical leavening agents. Thus, the bread product is produced in a fraction of the time required for conventional bread products.

[0010] In some embodiments, the whey protein may be selected from one or more of the following: whey protein isolate (e.g. an instantized whey protein isolate), whey protein concentrate, hydrolysate and native whey (e.g. sweet whey). In some embodiments, the whey protein may be whey protein isolate, this generally being the purest form of whey protein commercially available.

[0011] In some embodiments, the alkali may be effective to result in the pH of the hydrated composition being between about 6.6 and about 8.5. As will be described in further detail below, whey protein tends to be better solubilised and better able to contribute to the formation of a gas holding dough under neutral to slightly alkaline conditions. If the hydrated composition is too acidic, the whey protein would tend to agglomerate and not produce a good gas holding matrix nor would the dough rise as much on baking.

[0012] The alkali may be a gas-forming alkali, such substances being common in chemical leavening processes. The gas-forming alkali may, for example, be selected from one or more of the following: potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), sodium bicarbonate (NaHCCh), ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3), sodium carbonate (NaiCC ) and potassium carbonate (K2CO3). In some embodiments, the gas-forming alkali may, for example, be a combination of sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. In some embodiments, an additional, non gas-forming alkali (or combination of such alkalis), such as tripotassium phosphate (K3PO4), di-sodium phosphate dihydrate (Na 2 HP0 4 .2H 2 0) or K2HPO4 may also be included in the composition.

Such additional alkalis may help to further increase the pH of the hydrated composition, but without resulting in excessive gas (e.g. CO2) production, which might impart a soda or soapy taste to the resultant bread product.

[0013] In some embodiments, the acidulant may be selected from one or more of the following: gluconodeltalactone, sodium acid pyrophosphate, coated monocalcium phosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate and encapsulated acids such as lactic acid, tartrates, phosphates and sulfates. Such acidulants have slow rates of acidulation, meaning that the pH of the dough is neutral to alkali during mixing of the dry composition with the hydrating liquid, but that they acidulate (whereupon they can react with the alkali) mainly during heating of the composition and prior to the end of the bread product baking process.

[0014] In some embodiments, the composition may comprise an amount of the acidulant that is effective to neutralise substantially all of the alkali (i.e. prior to finishing baking of the bread product), although the use of an excess of an acidulant may impart a desirable acid pH in the resultant bread product (such as would be expected for sourdough bread products and/or if a lighter coloured crust or longer shelf life is desired, for example).

[0015] In some embodiments, the flour is selected from one or more of the group consisting of the following: wheat flour, rye flour, barley flour, spelt flour, oat flour, rice flour, legume (pulse) flour, potato flour, buckwheat flour, cassava flour, tapioca flour, millet flour, triodia flour, wattle seed flour and com flour.

[0016] In some embodiments, the composition may further comprise a gum (e.g. xanthan gum, guar gum, gum tragacanth, locust (carob) bean gum, agar gum, carrageenan and combinations thereof). Such a gum may help the dough to resist spreading before the baking and cooking occurs, especially if a non-moulded free-form spherical loaf of bread is desired.

[0017] In some embodiments, the composition may further comprise one or more additional ingredients, provided that these do not deleteriously affect the performance of the invention.

Such additional ingredients may, for example, be selected from the following: flavourants, colourants, thickeners, salt, sugar, sweeteners, stabilisers, emulsifiers, antioxidants, preservatives, yeast products, gluten, bacteria and probiotics, vitamins and minerals, seeds, proteins, starches, fibres and pre-biotics, fats or oils, fruits, nuts, vegetables, egg products, meats, cheeses and olive oil. [0018] In a second aspect, the present invention provides a composition for producing a bread product. The composition comprises (note that all %w/w values described herein relate to the dry composition, unless specified otherwise): between about 50-90 %w/w of a flour; between about 4-18 %w/w of a whey protein; between about 1-6 %w/w of an alkali (e.g. a gas-forming alkali) that is effective to result in a hydrated composition having a pH of between about 6.6 and 8.5; and between about 1-9 %w/w of an acidulant that acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali whereby a gas is produced.

[0019] In some embodiments, the compositions of the first and second aspects of the present invention may be provided in the form of a dry -mix powder (e.g. in a unit form). In some embodiments, the compositions of the first and second aspects of the present invention may subsequently be hydrated by mixing with an aqueous liquid (preferably one that is substantially neutral in pH), such as water or milk (e.g. a dairy milk, a nut milk, a soy milk, a grain milk or a coconut milk), depending on the desired bread product. Sweet whey (rennet or neutralised), which is about 0.85% protein and high in lactose, may for example be used in sweet bread products.

[0020] In a third aspect, the present invention provides a sachet comprising the composition of the first or second aspect of the present invention, in an amount effective to produce the bread product upon hydration, mixing and baking.

[0021] In a fourth aspect, the present invention provides a method of producing a bread product, the method comprising: adding a liquid to a dry-mix powder comprising: a flour; a whey protein and an alkali (e.g. a gas-forming alkali), the alkali being effective to alkalinise the hydrated composition whereby the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating is formed; and an acidulant that acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali distributed throughout the dough whereby a gas (or combination of gasses) is produced, mixing the ingredients to form a gas holding dough; and baking the dough.

[0022] In a fifth aspect, the present invention provides a method of producing a bread product, the method comprising: mixing an aqueous liquid and a dry-mix powder comprising a flour, whey protein, an alkali and an acid, whereby the hydrated composition is alkalinised such that the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough is formed; and baking the dough, whereby the acidulant acidulates upon heating and reacts with the alkali distributed throughout the dough to produce a gas.

[0023] In some embodiments, the ingredients are mixed for between about 30 seconds and about 3 minutes. The hydrated mixture may be manually stirred using a spoon (or other suitable implement) or may be mechanically mixed using any suitable mixing apparatus (typically for a shorter period of time, e.g. about 30-120 seconds).

[0024] In some embodiments of the method of the fourth or fifth aspect of the present invention, the dry-mix powder may comprise the composition of the first or second aspect of the present invention.

[0025] In a sixth aspect, the present invention provides a bread product that is produced from the composition of the first or second aspect of the present invention, or by the method of the fourth or fifth aspect of the present invention.

[0026] In some embodiments, the bread product may be a dinner roll, a bun, a baguette, baking tin formed-loaf bread, a flat bread (e.g. Turkish bread, pizza, pita or focaccia), English muffins, naan bread, croutons, pretzels and the like, sweet bread products such as bagels, soft sandwich breads, brioche, doughnuts, traditional sweet breads, celebratory breads, rolls and buns such as challah and the like.

[0027] Other aspects, embodiments and advantages of the present invention will be described below.

Description of Embodiments

[0028] The present invention provides compositions for producing bread products, bread products which have been produced from the compositions, as well as methods for producing bread products. The form and relative proportions of the whey protein, flour, alkali and acidulant in the compositions of the present invention result in the production of a cooked food product having organoleptic properties similar to that of conventional bread (including artisan breads), but which can be prepared in a fraction of the time and without any physically- demanding kneading or proving time. Bake times are also reduced by the present invention compared with conventional breads.

[0029] In one aspect, the composition comprises a flour, a whey protein, an alkali (e.g. a gas forming alkali) and an acidulant. The alkali is effective to alkalinise the composition when hydrated such that the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating (i.e. in its expanded state, see below) can be formed. The acidulant acidulates when the hydrated composition (i.e. the gas holding dough) is heated and, once acidulated, reacts with the alkali (which is distributed throughout the dough) whereby a gas (or combination of gasses) that is distributed throughout and becomes entrapped within the expanding and eventually setting dough is produced. Production of this gas occurs at the same time as the dough matrix reaches its desired volume and the set temperature, whereupon it sets resulting in the production of a fully aerated bread product having organoleptic properties similar to those of conventional breads, but without having had to develop the flour gluten proteins by kneading, nor needing to prove the dough.

[0030] In another aspect, the dry composition comprises: between about 50 and about 90 %w/w of a flour; between about 4 and about 18 %w/w of a whey protein; between about 1 and about 6 %w/w of an alkali (e.g. a gas-forming alkali) that is effective to result in a hydrated composition having a pH of between about 6.6 and 8.5; and between about 1 and about 9 %w/w of an acidulant that acidulates when the hydrated composition is heated and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali whereby a gas is produced.

[0031] Traditionally, high protein wheat flour is used in bread bakery, having about 12-15% protein as gluten as a dry flour. The flour gluten is very important in traditional bread production for developing a dough capable of holding the gas produced during the yeast fermentation step in yeast leavened breads, or that produced during the chemical-leavened gas formation step in soda breads.

[0032] In the present invention, however, there is no need for the high gluten protein content traditionally provided by gluten-containing flours from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or similar grains, and a very wide range of healthy cereal grains or legume flours can instead be used. The present invention does not rely on a gluten development stage to produce the gas holding matrix (i.e. kneading the dough) or the crumb and crust strength structure and texture. Instead, the chewy crumb texture expected of a bread product is surprisingly provided by the development the whey protein undergoes under the conditions described herein. Thus, gluten-free breads and legume- based breads (as well as traditional type breads with gluten) can be made in accordance with the present invention, with no kneading step and no proving/fermentation steps being required. The absence of these steps enables the bread product to have an ultra-fast preparation time and no requirement for kneading or proving time, which many people may find to be too physically demanding, require specialised culinary skills or equipment or otherwise not be convenient.

[0033] The bakery industry conventionally uses the word “gluten” to mean the rubbery component of hydrated wheat flour comprising the proteins prolamines (or gliadins) and glutelins (or glutenin). Both proteins are very hydrophobic and the input of mechanical energy is crucial to dough formation and hydration alone is not sufficient to make the dough. This tough silky dough can be stretched to form a thin continuous membrane (dough development). Interestingly, however, the inventors note that the dough of the present invention is softer, wetter and more delicate and would not form such a membrane without tearing. The inventors’ studies show the volume required in a traditional bread is attained by the present invention without the need to form the developed dough texture.

[0034] As the gas holding dough is formed by the whey protein in the dough instead of by developed gluten, people who are gluten intolerant can eat bread products of the present invention (i.e. which are made without gluten). It is noted, however, that gluten may be present in the compositions of the present invention, if desired, to impart typical gluten flavours and some increased firmness to the texture of the produced bread products.

[0035] Furthermore, the protein content of bread products of the present invention can be higher than traditional breads (typically 8.4-9.2%w/w) because the product includes both whey protein and flour protein. For example, in compositions including 9.7% whey protein isolate powder (90% protein) and 78% wheat flour (13.5% protein), the total protein content in the dry mix is about 19.4% (and about 11.4% in the resultant bread product). This is of course an advantage for the nutritional value of the bread product and especially in the case of gluten-free breads, which are usually notoriously less nutritional than gluten-containing breads.

[0036] The present invention also does not require yeast to produce the bread product, so people having have allergies to yeast can eat bread products of the present invention. In saying this, however, the development of some desirable bread flavours may occur during baking where yeast is present and, in some embodiments, yeast may be included in the composition of the present invention. In such cases, however, there is no time for the added yeast to start fermenting (and producing gas), but they do add a natural yeast flavour to the resultant bread product. Use of an instantized yeast may, for example, result in some sugar hydrolysis.

[0037] The compositions of the present invention may be provided in any suitable form. Typically, as the compositions are likely to be stored for some time before use, the composition may be provided in powder form for mixing with a liquid. Such “dry-mixes” are common in the food industry, generally have a good stability and are familiar to consumers and in food service. A dry-mix composition simply requires the consumer to add water (or another hydrating liquid) and hand mix the resultant mixture (e.g. with a spoon) in order to form a bread dough within 30- 60 seconds. Alternatively, an electric mixer can be used, in which case it may only take about 60 seconds to form the gas-holding dough. In contrast, for traditional bread doughs, this step takes up to 20-30 minutes and requires a vigorous kneading action, either by hand or by using an electric mixer with dough hook attachment, for example.

[0038] There is no need to prove the dough to develop the gluten or allow the yeast to ferment and form a gas to increase the dough’s volume prior to baking, as is required in traditional bread making (which can take up to 1-3 hours, or even overnight for sour dough breads and some “sponge and dough” methods). The dough produced in accordance with the present invention is simply placed on a baking tray or in a tin mould and baked for about 8-12 minutes for a 100- 250g small loaf, or for about 12-20 minutes for a 300-700g large loaf. If small dinner rolls are required (e.g. about 40g each), the cook time is in the order of 3-5 minutes, depending on how many are baked at once and the oven temperature.

[0039] The bread dry-mix preparations may be economically prepared industrially, using standard dry-mix operations as is typically used in the food industry. Unitary packs of pre weighed dry compositions provide a convenient and time saving consumer and food service product.

[0040] The compositions may also be used in larger scale preparations such as in food service (cafes, restaurants, cafeterias, armed-service or institutional food preparation kitchens, in-house supermarket bakeries etc.). Industrial operations may also utilise the process which would reduce the bread making time drastically, result in considerable energy savings, increase the overall efficiency and reduce the size of manufacturing plants.

[0041] In use, dry mix composition would typically be admixed with water (e.g. cold water, typically by hand, as noted above) to provide a bread dough product ready for baking. However, other liquid food components with a substantially neutral pH such as dairy milk or other types of milk (e.g. a nut milk, a soy milk, a grain milk or coconut milk) or various stocks (e.g. vegetable stock, meat stock, chicken stock, or the like) could also be used.

[0042] The form of the whey protein, flour, alkali and acidulant, as well as their relative proportions, in the compositions of the present invention result in the hydrated and baked compositions being bread products that have organoleptic properties similar to those of traditional breads. Based on the teachings contained herein, it is within the ability of a person skilled in the art, using no more that routine experimentation and possibly with some trial and error, to ascertain whether a particular composition falls within the scope of the present invention. The ultimate test is, of course, the taste and mouthfeel of the baked bread product when compared with traditional bread. The tests described herein are examples of suitable benchmarks for assessing a particular composition’s properties.

[0043] As used herein, the phrase “organoleptic properties similar to those of traditional breads”, and the like, is to be understood to mean that the resultant (cooked) food product, produced by heating the hydrated composition of the present invention, has organoleptic properties (e.g. taste, appearance, aroma, texture, mouthfeel, etc.) that mimic those of breads that have been kneaded and proved in the traditional manner (or which incorporate chemical leavening agents and which have just been kneaded) and have been cooked.

[0044] As used herein, the phrase “bread products”, and the like, is to be understood to describe the baked aerated form of a dough made by mixing flour, liquid and a leavening agent. Bread products encompass a very wide range of products having different shapes, sizes, textures, crusts, colours, softness, eating qualities and flavours.

[0045] As used herein and as would be understood by persons skilled in the art, when the term “about” is used in the context of the proportions of the ingredients in the composition, it means that the recited proportion may be varied by up to ±10%, provided that such does not deleteriously affect the effects of the invention.

[0046] Each of the components of the composition of the present invention will now be described.

Flour

[0047] The composition of the present invention includes a flour. Any flour material obtained from a food plant may be used in the present invention, as long as it provides the functionality described herein. When hydrated, the flour combines with the other ingredients in the composition to produce a gas-holding dough capable of expanding in volume as soon as the dissolved gas forming components are heated and react in the hydration and baking process. When the hydrated composition is heated, the flour imparts organoleptic properties to the resultant bread product that are similar to those of traditional bread doughs. The flour also provides a source of protein, starch, fibre and other micro -nutrients.

[0048] The flour for use in the composition of the present invention may be in the form of whole grain or seed flours or bran-removed or white flours or other portions of the original flour material (or mixtures thereof). The flour may contain gluten but this is surprisingly not essential to the functionality of the composition and resultant bread product. In contrast, gluten proteins are essential in traditional bread dough making and, as described above, the process of “gluten development” and the production of gas-holding doughs in traditional breads requires a lot of mechanical kneading and proving to form the viscoelastic dough capable of entrapping gas during the yeast fermentation step and subsequent baking. Importantly, this step is not necessary in the present invention. Whilst gluten containing flours such as seed grain flours like wheat, rye, barley, spelt, etc. may be used, it is not necessary to vigorously work the hydrated dry mix composition to form a dough.

[0049] The flour may, for example, be common baker’s flour, wholemeal or white, having a low, medium or high gluten level as is typical in the bakery industry. In addition, non-wheat gluten- containing flours can be used and still form good loaf volumes. These include oat, barley and rye flours that, if not used in accordance with the present invention, would require the addition of vital wheat gluten isolate to enable a bread loaf to attain a good volume.

[0050] Non-gluten containing flours which may instead (or in addition) be used in the present invention may include oat flour (noting that oat grains include avenin protein, which is similar to wheat gluten gliadin (a prolamin) and may therefore not be tolerated by some people), rice flour, corn/maize flour and starch, potato flour and starch, buckwheat flour, cassava flour, tapioca flour, millet flour, triodia flour, wattle seed flour, legume (pulse) flours (e.g. soy, field pea, chickpea) and other types of flours such as coconut, almond, banana, chestnut, potato, arrowroot, taro, manioc, for example. The present invention may therefore advantageously result in the production of a gluten-free bread product, which can be enjoyed by people who may be allergic or intolerant to gluten.

[0051] The flour is present in the composition in an amount such that the hydrated composition can form a gas-holding dough upon mixing and, when heated, result in a bread product having organoleptic properties similar to those of traditional breads. Typical amounts of total flour in the (dry) composition are between about 50 and about 90%w/w (although slight variances outside of these ranges may be useful). Too much flour may cause the resultant bread product to be too dry and too little flour may cause the bread to be too moist. [0052] In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include between about 60 and about 90%w/w, between about 70 and about 90%w/w, between about 70 and about 80%w/w, between about 60 and about 80%w/w or between about 70 and about 90%w/w flour. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include about 55%w/w, about 60%w/w, about 65%w/w, about 70%w/w, about 75%w/w, about 80%w/w, about 85%w/w or about 90%w/w flour. A composition for plain breads (whole meal, white or gluten free) having between about 74-78% flours in the dry mix has been found by the inventors to be particularly effective.

[0053] As noted above, the proportions referred to above are for the composition itself (e.g. the “dry-mix”). Before cooking, the composition is hydrated with an appropriate volume of an aqueous liquid.

Whey protein

[0054] The composition of the present invention also includes a whey protein. The inventors have surprisingly and unexpectedly discovered that compositions containing whey protein, along with the other essential components of the present invention, form a gas-holding dough when hydrated (e.g. by mixing the composition with water, e.g. cold water) and, when subsequently heated, set to form a product having remarkably similar organoleptic and physical properties to those of traditional and even artisan breads.

[0055] The whey protein is present in the compositions of the present invention in a form and in an amount whereby, when hydrated, the whey protein combines with the other ingredients in the composition to produce a gas-holding dough capable of expanding in volume as soon as the dissolved gas-forming components are heated and react in the baking process. Heating of the hydrated composition causes the whey protein to set with organoleptic and physical properties similar to those of set gluten, such that a bread product having the expected organoleptic and physical properties is produced. The inventors have found that the whey protein reaches a denaturation temperature from about 70°C during baking, whereupon it begins to set at about 70- 90°C.

[0056] As noted above, the gluten in traditional bread making acts by forming gas holding matrices and has thermal setting characteristics. The water solubility of gluten proteins is quite low and, in order to hydrate the protein in the flour (or that added to the flour as an isolate), extensive mechanical energy has to be exerted over a long period of time in the form of kneading the dough. This kneading eventually results in the formation of a gas-holding viscoelastic dough. Viscoelasticity is the ability of a material to stretch and easily change shape - like a thick or viscous liquid - without breaking or tearing and to partly return back to its original shape. [0057] The inventors have surprisingly and unexpectedly discovered that whey protein, in the compositions of the present invention, sets within the aerated dough/bread product during baking, giving similar texture to that of set developed gluten in traditional breads, but without any reliance on kneading or proving operations. Whey protein also has a relatively bland taste, which does not tend to deleteriously affect the flavour of the resultant bread product. Furthermore, the nutritional profile of whey protein exceeds that of wheat protein, making these bread products highly nutritious foods, especially with respect to essential amino acids (whey protein has one of the highest protein availability index of food proteins) and particularly branched chain amino acids like leucine, important for muscle building and maintenance.

Indeed, the inventors have found that bread products made in accordance with the present invention may contain higher levels of protein than traditional bread (e.g. about 13% w/w finished product compared with about 4-12% in normal bread). Further, the essential amino acid profile and protein digestibility index of the bread products of the present invention can be higher than normal wheat breads, due to its whey protein content.

[0058] Whey protein may be provided in a number of forms, the most common of which are whey protein isolate (which contains 88-90% or more protein by weight and is processed to substantially remove fat and lactose), whey protein concentrate (which contains between about 29%-89% protein by weight as well as fat, cholesterol and lactose), hydrolysate (whey proteins that are processed for easier metabolizing) native whey (which is extracted from skim milk and not a by-product of cheese production) and sweet whey. Any form of whey protein where the protein has not been irreversibly denatured and which can be solubilised would be expected to function in the desired manner.

[0059] Any of these forms of whey protein may be used in the present invention, although whey protein isolate (WPI), e.g. instantized whey protein isolate, preferably containing un-denatured and soluble whey protein, is generally preferred because of its relatively high protein content (which assists with gelling), lower fat content (fat may adversely affect the taste and texture of the dough), reduced salt content (which may alter the taste, ionic strength and pH of the dough) and substantial absence of cholesterol and lactose (a sugar, and one not usually found in breads). WPI also has a bland flavour, is white to cream in colour and typically processed from sweet dairy whey which is instantized (for example by spray drying) and readily available from dairy powder processors.

[0060] Such whey proteins may, for example, be produced by membrane separation processing or by ion-exchange methods and are readily commercially available. Alternatively, whey protein can be used from recombinant technology where whey proteins are expressed in microbial fermentations for example from yeast, which are commercially produced for the food industry. An example of a commercial whey protein used in this invention is Provon® 292 produced by Glanbia Nutritionals, which is an instantized whey protein isolate filter-extracted from sweet whey providing a highly pure at greater than 90% un-denatured protein that is high soluble, bland and lacking lactose and fat.

[0061] In some embodiments, however, it may be advantageous to use other forms of whey protein, or to combine different forms of whey protein (e.g. with the whey protein isolate), if that combination imparts desired functionality or properties (e.g. a different set of nutritional profiles). Use of non-detrimental amounts of whey proteins other than isolate may also reduce the overall cost of the composition. Additional amounts of non-functional whey protein can be added to the composition (i.e. in addition to the functional whey protein described above) in order to provide an enrichment to the bread product. For example, a hydrolysed whey protein (broken down into its amino acids) preparation would not be functional in the manner described herein, but would add a nutritional value to the bread product. Fresh whey could be included in the aqueous phase for mixing with the dry powder ingredients of the composition, in addition to a more concentrated WPI for example, which could utilise otherwise short shelf-life by-products of the dairy industry, thereby lowering wastes and energy usage.

[0062] Routine experimentation, possibly with some trial and error, using different quantities and forms of whey protein(s) can be carried out in accordance with the teachings contained herein in order to produce a composition having the desired properties for any given application.

[0063] The amount of whey protein in the composition will depend on factors such as the nature of the bread product the composition is intended to produce (e.g. sweet or bland or type of other flours added), the protein content in the source of the whey protein and the other ingredients in the composition. The inventors believe that the dry mix composition should include between about 4 and about 18%w/w of the whey protein. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include between about 4 and about 13%w/w, between about 5 and about 10%w/w, between about 7 and about 10%w/w, between about 8 and about 12%w/w or between about 9 and about 1 l%w/w whey protein. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include about 4%w/w, about 5%w/w, about 6%w/w, about 7%w/w, about 8%w/w, about 9%w/w, about 10%w/w, about ll%w/w, about 12%w/w, about 13%w/w, about 14%w/w, about 15%w/w, about 16%w/w, about 17%w/w or about 18%w/w whey protein. Alkali and acidulant

[0064] The composition of the present invention also includes an alkali and an acidulant. The alkali is effective to alkalinise the hydrated composition in the manner described herein, and the acidulant is effective to acidulate when the hydrated composition is heated such that the effects described herein occur.

[0065] As used herein and in the context of the present invention, which relates to the art of food technology, an alkali and an acidulant will be understood to mean food basicity and acidity regulators or, alternatively, pH control agents which are food additives and which are used to change or maintain pH (acidity or basicity) in food products. As used herein, “alkalinise” is to be understood as adjusting the pH of the hydrated composition towards a more alkaline pH as a result of the alkali dissolving. As used herein, “acidulation” (or acidulate, etc.) is to be understood as the acidulant becoming a reactive acid, e.g. as it dissolves or disassociates. In other words, the free acid level increases, whereupon it is able to react in the manner described herein.

[0066] Unlike traditional bread-making, which relies on yeast fermentation of the sugars to form carbon dioxide that subsequently aerates the dough, aeration of the dough/bread product in the present invention is performed by chemical leavening agents producing a gas. However, these leavening agents uniquely perform two necessary and different functions during the bread making process: firstly, adjusting the pH of the hydrated composition to a pH which enables the formation of a gas-holding dough and, secondly, aerating the so-formed dough during subsequent heating. These functions will now be described.

[0067] The compositions of the present invention include an alkali which, once hydrated with the other ingredients in the composition, is effective to alkalinise the hydrated composition whereby the whey protein is solubilised and a gas holding dough that is settable upon heating is formed. In effect, the alkali dissolves in the hydrating liquid and increases (or maintains) the pH of the hydrated composition in order to provide for the effects described herein. It is not necessary for the hydrated composition to be alkaline (i.e. have a pH of greater than 7), provided that the effects described herein are achieved.

[0068] A gas-holding and heat setting matrix in the form of a gas-holding dough is formed when the whey protein in the composition is hydrated under approximately neutral or alkaline conditions in the presence of a flour and water. In order to achieve this effect, the pH of the dough should be close to neutral and preferably slightly alkaline (e.g. ideally between about 6.6- 7.8, although a pH of up to about 8.5 may also be effective). Such a pH solubilises the whey protein and is optimal for the b lactoglobulin (for example) to react with the hydrated flour to form a viscous gas-holding matrix (in the manner described above). In contrast, the ideal pH for maximum gluten development is acid (pH 5-6).

[0069] Without wishing to be bound by theory or the exact biochemistry of this complex reaction, the inventors believe it is likely that the pH of the hydrated composition controls the solubility and gelling temperature of the whey protein in its gas-holding matrix. When the composition is hydrated and mixed, the alkali dissolves and creates a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, which favours solubilisation of the whey protein in an open molecular structure and enables it to form intimate chemical bonds with the flour. After that, the acidulant starts to acidulate (e.g. by slowly dissolving or only partly disassociating), whereby it is able to react with the gas forming alkali and aerate the dough as the whey protein sets on heating.

[0070] In some embodiments, for example, the alkali may be effective to adjust the pH of the hydrated composition to between about 6.6 and 8.5 (preferably between about 6.8 and about 7.8). If the pH of the hydrated composition is too low (e.g. less than about 6.6), then the whey protein tends to agglomerate (curdle) as the isoelectric point of b lactoglobulin (the primary protein in whey protein) is 5.1 and it agglomerates irreversibly at about 65°C. If the pH of the hydrated composition is too high (e.g. above about 8.5), then weaker gels are formed, which would affect bread volume and texture. Too high a pH may also result in off-flavour development (soda flavour) and premature browning of the crust. Further, bread products having a pH outside of these ranges may also have organoleptic properties incompatible with bread products.

[0071] The timing of the pH adjustment effected by the alkali is crucial. When hydrating the dry mix (e.g. with ambient water during the short mixing step), it is important to adjust or maintain the pH to enable the whey protein to solubilise and form a gas-holding matrix in the forming dough, and also be in this conformation while the hydrated composition is heating during the baking step. Highly water-soluble alkalis (e.g. NaHCCh) are preferred, as these quickly adjust the pH of the hydrated composition in order for the whey protein to function in the necessary manner.

[0072] Any suitable food grade alkali may be used in the present invention, provided that it alkalinises the composition upon hydration and does not detrimentally affect the setting of the composition (in particular the whey protein) or its resultant organoleptic properties. The alkali may function to maintain the pH of the composition at a desired pH, or may function to increase the pH of the composition to a desired pH. [0073] The alkali would typically be provided in the form of a gas-producing alkali, which reacts with the acid to produce a gas. Ideally, the gas-producing alkali should react to produce edible and substantially bland-tasting gas(es) and other by-products. Suitable gas-producing alkalis are well known to those skilled in the art of chemical leavening agents. Specific gas-producing alkalis trialled by the inventors include potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), sodium bicarbonate (NaHCC ), ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3), sodium carbonate (NaiCC ) and potassium carbonate (K2CO3). Combinations of gas-producing alkalis may also be used, such as combinations of sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate, for example.

[0074] Non-gas forming alkalis such as K2HPO4, tri-potassium phosphate (TKP, K3PO4), di sodium phosphate dihydrate (Na2HP04.2H20) and combinations thereof may optionally be included in the composition (e.g. in combination with a gas-producing alkali). Such additional alkalis may help to further increase the pH of the hydrated composition, but without resulting in excessive gas (e.g. CO2) production, which might impart a soda or soapy taste to the resultant bread product.

[0075] The amount of the alkali in the composition will depend on factors such as the nature of the bread product, the salt content of the hydrated composition, the pH of the mixing liquid and the degree of aeration required. The inventors believe that the dry mix composition should include between about 1 and about 6%w/w of the alkali. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include between about 2 and about 6%w/w, between about 4 and about 6%w/w, between about 1 and about 4%w/w, between about 3 and about 6%w/w or between about 4 and about 6%w/w of the alkali. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include about l%w/w, about 1.5%w/w, about 2%w/w, about 2.5%w/w, about 3%w/w, about 3.5%w/w, about 4%w/w, about 4.5%w/w, about 5%w/w, about 5.5%w/w or about 6%w/w of the alkali.

[0076] The composition also includes an acidulant that acidulates when heated (i.e. as the gas holding dough is heated) and which, once acidulated, can react with the alkali whereby a gas is produced that is distributed throughout the setting dough. It will be appreciated that a small proportion of the acidulant in the composition will likely dissolve (or disassociate, etc.) upon hydration and subsequently react before the heating step. However, this proportion is small enough to not affect the overall performance of the present invention. Indeed, the inventors have found that the embodiments of the dough described below were able to withstand a considerable bench-time without any deleterious effects to the performance of the final bread product, making the composition quite practical in home use or in food service and in industrial settings. [0077] The rate at which the acidulant acidulates is important. If an acidulant reacts too quickly following hydration, the alkali might be neutralised before the whey protein and flour can produce the necessary gas-holding dough matrix and the gas produced thus escape. If the acidulant takes too long to acidulate, however, then it may not be able to react with the alkali as the reactive medium (e.g. water) is driven off during the cooking step. As noted above, acidulation also affects setting of the whey protein matrix.

[0078] Timing of the acidulation (i.e. acid release) is ideally when the acid solubilises mostly after the hydrated composition is mixed and the dough shape formed. As the baking process starts, the free acid level increases and is then available to react with the gas-forming alkali in the matrix and causes the dough to quickly expand (e.g. typically 2-2.4-fold volume increase) before the heat set temperature is reached and the final loaf volume is achieved.

[0079] The acidulant’ s controlled acidulation may be a result of any suitable mechanism. In some embodiments, for example, the acidulant may have a low solubility in water, but which increases with temperature. In some embodiments, for example, the acidulant may be encapsulated within a coating which slowly dissolves upon exposure water. In some embodiments, for example, the acidulant may only partly disassociate in solution, but the rate of disassociation increases with temperature. Such functionality is well known to those skilled in the art of chemical leavening agents.

[0080] The acidulant becomes more available for reaction as the temperature of the gas holding dough (throughout which it is distributed due to it being in intimate mixture with the other ingredients of the dry composition) rises in the oven (e.g. set at 190-220°C), whereupon it can react with the gas-producing alkali to form the gas (typically carbon dioxide gas). The formed gas is then in turn trapped within the matrix formed by the dough of hydrated flour and whey protein, which ultimately sets in an aerated form, creating the finished baked bread product (e.g. loaf of bread). This whole process, from the addition of water to the dry mix composition to the finished baked bread, can take less than 20 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. In contrast, the fastest commercial method for producing bread products known to the inventors takes about an hour (and requires the use of specialised equipment).

[0081] Examples of suitable acidulants for inclusion in the compositions of the present invention include slow acting leavening acids capable of use in food products, such as glucono-delta- lactone (a lactone that when dissolved in water forms gluconic acid), coated monocalcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, encapsulated lactic acid, encapsulated tartaric acid, encapsulated phosphoric acid and the like. Other known leavening acids may also be able to be used. [0082] The inventors have found that glucono-delta-lactone is an especially useful leavening acid because it is a slow acting (release) acid at room temperature and it hydrolyses to bland tasting gluconic acid (and some acetic acid), which impart bread flavours as well as extending the microbial stability of the baked bread. Glucono-delta-lactone has also been used in Japan since about 1960 in the production of tofu and is used in fermented meats and is a very safe ingredient. Glucono-delta-lactone will dissolve in the added water and start to acidulate slowly and when heated, especially under high pH, the rate increases significantly (the inventors expect that it is probably an exponential rate in the course of the production of the baked bread product).

[0083] The neutralising value (parts by weight of alkali to be neutralised by 100 parts of the leavening acid) may be controlled to result in an overall neutral to slightly alkali pH for the majority of the baking (heating) time. If an acid bread is desired (e.g. to simulate a sour-dough bread style) the inventors note that an encapsulated lactic acid can, for example, be included in the formulation. Such an acid does not release its acidity until the bread volume has been stabilised by the whey proteins during the latter stages of the baking process, resulting in a bread product having acidic characteristics. Another way to produce a bread product with acid properties would be to increase the amount of the leavening acid such that it was greater than the neutralising value of the alkali used.

[0084] The amount of the acidulant in the composition will depend on factors such as the nature of the bread product and other ingredients in the composition, the pH of the mixing liquid, the degree of aeration required and the desired acidity of the resultant bread product. The inventors believe that the dry mix composition should include between about 1 and about 9%w/w of the acidulant. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include between about 2 and about 9%w/w, between about 4 and about 9%w/w, between about 7 and about 9%w/w, between about 4 and about 8%w/w or between about 5 and about 7%w/w of the acidulant. In some embodiments, for example, the composition may include about l%w/w, about 1.5%w/w, about 2%w/w, about 2.5%w/w, about 3%w/w, about 3.5%w/w, about 4%w/w, about 4.5%w/w, about 5%w/w, about 5.5%w/w, about 6%w/w, about 6.5%w/w, about 7%w/w, about 7.5%w/w, about 8%w/w, about 8.5%w/w or about 9%w/w of the acidulant.

[0085] It is within the ability of a person skilled in the art, using the teachings contained herein and no more than routine experimentation, to determine whether a particular alkali and acidulant will be suitable for use in the composition of the present invention. Other potential ingredients

[0086] The composition of the present invention may also optionally include additional ingredients, where such ingredients improve the composition and resultant bread product without detriment to the functional and organoleptic properties described herein. Examples of such additional ingredients will be described below.

[0087] The composition may also include a gum, which may advantageously help the dough to resist spreading before the baking and cooking occurs, especially if a non-moulded free-form spherical loaf of bread is desired. Suitable gums include xanthan gum, guar gum, gum tragacanth, locust (carob) bean gum, agar gum, carrageenan and combinations thereof. When present, such a gum may be between about 0.1-3 %w/w of the (dry) composition.

[0088] The composition may also include a yeast, which may result in the development of some desirable bread flavours during baking. Use of an instantised active yeast, for example, may result in some sugar hydrolysis and development of the consequential flavours. There is little time for any such added yeast to start fermenting and producing significant amounts of gas. Inactive yeast could be used to add flavour.

[0089] The composition may also include added gluten, which imparts typical gluten flavours and some increased firmness to the texture of the produced breads.

[0090] The composition may also include sodium chloride (i.e. salt), which has been reported to induce gelation in whey proteins due to increased ionic strength effects (noting that it is important not to induce gelation of the whey protein prior to the formation of the gas-holding dough). Sodium chloride may also be used to enhance the taste of the resultant bread product. If present, the sodium chloride should amount to no more than about 2%w/w in the (dry) composition.

[0091] The composition may also include a sugar, which sweetens the composition and resultant bread product, and may also impart a cooked colour to the food product (as is desirable for crust colour and flavour formation, for example), due to the sugar caramelising on the crust during baking. Sweeteners may also be present for producing sweet bread products like bagels, softening sandwich breads, doughnuts, traditional sweet breads, celebratory breads, rolls and buns (such as challah) and the like. Sweeteners may also extend shelf life and beneficially modify the texture of the bread product. The sweetener may be a food grade carbohydrate, such as honey, corn syrup solids, corn syrup, lactose, dextrins, sucrose, dextrose, fructose, starch, modified starch, fructose, maltodextrin, polydextrose, polyhydric alcohols or combinations thereof. [0092] If present, the sugar or sweetener is present in a sweetening effective amount, for example, in an amount ranging from about 0.5 to about 10% w/w of the (dry) composition and more preferably from about 1% to about 5% w/w.

[0093] The sweetener may also be a non-nutritive sweetener, such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame (e.g., acesulfame-K), neohesperidin dihydrochalcone, stevia sweeteners, thaumatin, glycyrrhizin, maltitol, lactitol, isomalt, fructooligosaccharide sweetener, and the like. If present the non-nutritive sweetener is present in the dry composition of the present invention in amounts as low as 0.001% w/w, although amounts of between about 0.05% and about 2.5% w/w may be more useful, depending on the intensity of the non-nutritive sweetener.

[0094] The composition may also include an emulsifier in order to help homogenise the ingredients of the composition and more evenly disperse them. Commercially available emulsifiers include lecithin, lysolecithin, phosphatidyl-choline rich fractions of lecithin, polysorbates, mono and diglyceride, diacetyl-tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, monosodium phosphate derivative of mono and diglycerides, polyoxyethylene sorbitan fatty acid esters, sucrose fatty acid esters, esters of acids selected from the group consisting of fumaric, lactic, tartaric and citric acids in combination with fatty acids or fatty alcohols, esters of acids selected from the group consisting of fumaric, lactic, tartaric, citric, acetic and succinic acid in combination with mono or diglycerides, or a combination thereof and the like. The emulsifier, if present, is present in an emulsifying effective amount, for example, an amount ranging from about 0.05 to about 5% w/w, e.g. from about 0.1 to about 1% w/w of the dry composition.

[0095] The composition may also include a flavourant. Suitable flavouring agents include dextrose and other sweeteners, spice extracts, including but not limited to, dried fruits, nuts, onion, seeds, flowers, herbs, rhizomes, vegetables, legumes, chillies and pepper, and the like, dry dairy products such as cheeses, yeast hydrolysates and extracts, flavour enhancers, salt and the like. If present, they are present in flavouring effective amounts and typical of traditional recipes, such as from about 0.01% to about 10%w/w, e.g. from about 0.2% to about 5%w/w of the dry composition.

[0096] The composition may also include a colourant, which may be important for marketing and to assist with consumer acceptance of the bread product. Suitable colouring agents include typical colourants added to breads including vegetable, fruit and other plant extracts. If included, the colouring agent is present in trace amounts, such as from about 0.01% to at most about 2% w/w, e.g. from about 0.1% to about 1.5% w/w, e.g. from about 0.1% to about 1% w/w of the dry composition. [0097] The composition may also include an antioxidant in order to increase the shelf-life of the product and prevent rancidity from occurring. Antioxidants known in the art may be used, including tocopherol, ascorbic acid, and the like. If present, they are present in anti-oxidant effective amounts, e.g. less than about 4% w/w of the dry composition.

[0098] The composition may also include a stabiliser (which may function in a similar manner to an emulsifier or gum, described above). The stabiliser may help the dough to resist spreading before the baking and cooking occurs, if a spherical loaf of bread is desired, for example. Omission of the stabiliser tends to result in the formation of a flatter bread, which is desirable when traditional Turkish-style bread products are required. Stabilizers may comprise one or a plurality of constituents which serve to emulsify as well as to stabilise the product. Examples include but are not limited to vegetable gums, e.g., xanthan, locust (carob) bean gum, agar gum, carrageenan, guar, gum tracanth, each of which may optionally be mixed with dextrose, starch, alginate, carrageen and mono and diglycerides. If present, the stabilizer is present in stabilizing effective amounts, ranging, for example, from about 0.1 to about 10%w/w of the dry composition.

[0099] The composition may also include a vitamin or a mineral as is common in some markets. The vitamin components may, for example, include Vitamin A, B, E, luteins and the like. Exemplary minerals include calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and sodium and the like (these may also be present in their salt forms). If present, the vitamin or mineral components are included in an amount of from about 0.01% to about 2% w/w of the dry composition.

[0100] The composition may also include a preservative in order to increase the shelf-life of the dry mix and the finished bread product if it is to be kept for extended period of time at room temperature during distribution and consumption. Any suitable food grade preservative may be used, with specific examples of suitable preservatives including calcium propionate, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, propyl paraben or combinations thereof. If present, they are present in effective amounts, e.g. less than about 1% w/w of the dry composition.

[0101] The composition may also include shelf-stable probiotic and prebiotic components and/or other nutrition enhancing ingredients. If present, they are present in effective amounts, e.g. less than about l%w/w of the dry composition.

[0102] The composition may also include fats or oils and other lipids to modulate texture, flavour and nutrition profile of the bread. If present, they are present in effective amounts of about 1-5% w/w in the dry composition. [0103] The composition may also include other additions, more for their flavour and variety than their functional properties. For example, particulates like nuts, whole seeds, grains, kibbled grains, dried fruits or vegetables, water activity controlled dried fruits or vegetables, confectionery, dietary fibres and other such inclusions commonly found in bread bakery products may also be included. When present, such other additions may comprise between about 10-25% of the dry mix.

[0104] The dry ingredients may be mixed using any suitable technique in order to produce a powder “dry-mix”, which has a free flowing crumb-like admixture that is generally resistant to oxidation and rancidity but may also be vacuum and/or nitrogen packed. Ideally, the particles in the powder fraction have a small particle size such that the product has a smooth mouth feel, that is, no particulate sensation can be perceived in the mouth, which is a characteristic of bread products.

[0105] The composition of the present invention may be stored in an air-tight and moisture-proof container and preferably away from light, and is expected to be storage-stable for up to 12 months under normal ambient temperatures.

[0106] The (dry) composition of the present invention may be admixed with any effective amount of a hydrating liquid. In some embodiments, for example, the hydrating liquid may be in the range of between about 35%w/w and about 50%w/w (e.g. between about 40%w/w and about 50%w/w or between about 42-46%w/w) of the hydrated composition. The hydrating liquid may be provided in the form of an ambient or cold liquid, depending on the given application.

[0107] The dry composition may be hydrated by mixing with an aqueous liquid, preferably one that is substantially neutral in pH, depending on the desired bread product. Non-limiting examples of suitable hydrating liquids include water, milk (e.g. a dairy milk, a nut milk, a soy milk, a grain milk or coconut milk) and various stocks (e.g. vegetable stock, meat stock or chicken stock and the like).

[0108] The dry mix composition of the present invention can advantageously be used to produce cooked bread products having organoleptic and physical properties similar to that of bread, in less than 10 minutes (for small bread products). The dry mix only requires the addition of water (or other suitable liquid) and stirring with a spoon to wet the flour and other components and bring them into a soft dough. This takes less than 1 minute and no kneading is required. Once the dough is formed it is ready to place on a baking tray or in a baking pan in a desired shape. Then it is baked in a pre-heated fan oven at 220°C for less than 10 minutes e.g. 8-10 minutes for a small loaf/bun of about lOOg. The baked bread is then de -panned and cooled on a wire mesh until cool enough to eat (e.g. 5 minutes). The length of time to bake the dough would primarily depend on the size of the loaf, with factors such as crust hardness and shape affecting the bake time to a lesser extent. By way of example, a 200g loaf/bun bread product would likely take about 12 minutes to prepare, and a 400g product about 17minutes. The inventors expect that the shortest time for a loaf of bread as large as 700g would be about 25 minutes.

[0109] The formed dough may be left for a time (e.g. 20-30 mins or more) on the bench prior to baking without any detrimental effect to the resultant baked bread quality.

[0110] In a typical preparation, for example, the present invention provides an instant bread dry mix composition for forming breads in only a few minutes (e.g. less than 11-12 minutes total preparation time). The composition may include a flour, a whey protein, gas forming salts including an alkali and an acidulant and, optionally, a gum. The cook simply adds water to the dry composition, stirs for 30-60 seconds to form a dough, places the dough on a baking tray and immediately bakes the dough in a conventional fan oven at 190°C for 3 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the loaf). The loaf is ready to eat as soon as it has cooled enough.

[0111] In another typical preparation, seed flour, whey protein isolate, a gas forming alkali and an acid are provided as a supplied dry premix, and the cook simply places a measured amount in a small mixing bowl and adds the required amount of water. For example 60 g of dry premix is combined with 40g of tap water. The moisture content of the dough or batter is about 35-48% and the baked bread about 32-45%. The water activity of the baked product is about 0.89-0.91. The mixing time required to form the dough or batter is about 30-60 seconds, typically by hand using a spoon. The resultant dough is scooped onto a baking tray and the desired shape formed. Then, without any further time required (e.g. within 0-20 minutes), the so-formed dough is baked in a pre-heated domestic oven at about 200°C (or 190°C fan forced). The baking could also be done in a commercial oven for industrial food service. After about 2 minutes in the oven, the dough’s volume begins in expand, reaching full volume within about 5 minutes cook time. During the last 3-5 minutes of baking, the crust forms and colour and associated flavour develop. The breads are ready within about 10 minutes bake time. If the loaf is larger e.g. 500g batch, the time will take a few more minutes to finish the bake. If the loaves are smaller, e.g. 30-40 g each and 10 rolls/buns per batch, the time may be reduced to about 5-7 minutes. If only one small loaf is baked (e.g. lOOg), 7-10 minutes should be adequate.

Examples

[0112] Examples of specific embodiments in accordance with the present invention will now be described. Example 1

[0113] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical bread roll, but here made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Table 1

[0114] The dry mix compositions were prepared from the ingredients in Table 1, and labelled

Bread 1A & IB. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare the breads, 61 parts by weight of powder was combined with 39 parts cold tap water in a bowl, and easily hand-mixed with a spoon for 30-60 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted to form a scoopable dough. A total dough weight of lOOg was used in this example. The pH of the dough was measured in triplicate at room temperature by inserting a pH meter into the dough and was found to be 6.951. The resultant doughs were placed on a flat metal baking pan in the desired conformation of a dinner roll and immediately baked in a domestic fan forced oven set at 190°C. The breads were baked for 10 minutes then left to cool for 30 minutes on a rack.

[0115] Observations for Bread 1 A: The resultant dough was very easy to hand mix just with a spoon and easily could be scooped and formed into a roll shape on the pan. Once in the oven, the bread dough began to expand within 2-3 minutes, began browning at about 5 minutes and reached full volume at 6-7 minutes. The dough showed some spreading at the base within the first 2-3 minutes, until the crust formed, and then rose in a round disc shape to about a 100% increase in volume (it doubled in height) from the original dough. After baking and upon cooling, the bread crust was crispy and the bread crumb was very light yellow to white with a springy texture, was well cooked and moist tasting and slightly chewy. The crumb showed an even cell structure distribution throughout a cross-section of the loaf, with fine cells of l-3mm in diameter. The flavour of the bread was of mild wheat flour with browning flavours. This example shows that a very good bread loaf can be made, except that the viscosity of the dough was a bit low, resulting in some base spread before the dough began to heat set. This could, however, be viewed as a desirable attribute for a different shaped bread suitable for sandwiches, flat breads and the like.

[0116] Observations for Bread IB: The resultant dough was very easy to hand mix just with a spoon and easily could be scooped and formed into a roll shape on the pan. On baking, the bread dough began to expand within 2-3 minutes, began browning at about 5 minutes and reached full volume at 6-7 minutes. After baking and upon cooling the bread crust was crispy and the bread crumb was very light yellow to white with a springy texture, was well cooked and moist tasting and slightly chewy. The crumb showed an even cell structure distribution throughout the cross- section of the loaf with fine cells of l-2mm in diameter. The flavour of the bread was of mild wheat flour with browning flavours. The conformation shape of the loaf was about a 100% increase in volume from the dough, had a spherical shape, with no base-spread from the initial dough shape. This example shows that the added gums help increase the viscosity of the dough, eliminating and base spread before the dough begins to heat set and forming a spherically shaped dinner roll or bun.

Example 2

[0117] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical bread roll, but here made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention compared with an attempt with a conventional bread recipe (using chemical leavening agents) using the process of the present invention.

Table 2 [0118] The dry mix compositions were prepared from the ingredients in Table 2, and labelled Bread 2A & 2B. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare the breads, for 2A, 61 parts by weight of powder was combined with 39 parts cold tap water and for 2B, 60 parts by weight of powder was combined with 40 parts water. Each were hand-mixed with a spoon for 30-60 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted and a scoopable dough was formed. The pH of the doughs were measured in triplicate at room temperature by inserting a pH meter into the dough and was found to be 7.101 for Example 2 A and 7.110 for Example 2B. A total dough weight of lOOg was used in this example. The resultant doughs were placed on a flat metal baking pan in the desired conformation of a dinner roll and immediately baked in a domestic fan forced oven set at 190°C. The breads were baked for 10 minutes then left to cool for 30 minutes on a rack.

[0119] Observations for Bread 2 A: The resultant dough was very easy to hand mix just with a spoon and easily could be scooped and formed into a roll shape on the pan. The bread began to expand (without spread at the base) within 2-3 minutes, began browning at about 5 minutes and reached full volume at 6-7 minutes. After baking and upon cooling the bread crust was crispy and the bread crumb was very light yellow to white with a springy texture, was well cooked and moist tasting and slightly chewy. The crumb showed an even cell structure distribution throughout the cross-section of the loaf, with fine cells of l-2mm in diameter. The flavour of the bread was of mild wheat flour with browning flavours. The conformation shape of the loaf was about a 100% increase in volume from the dough, had a spherical shape, with no base- spread from the initial dough shape. As in Example 1, this example shows the baked bread form as a well formed spherically shaped dinner roll or bun with excellent organoleptic characteristics.

[0120] Observations for Bread 2B (which does not contain whey protein): On mixing the dry ingredients and water, it was very difficult to form a dough by hand and using a spoon. The dough that was able to be formed was firm and very dense. On baking, the dough did hold its original shape, but did not expand as much as sample 2A, and did not brown very much. After baking and upon cooling, the bread crust was short and fragile to touch and, when lightly pressed, collapsed into the centre. The crust was pale beige grey with little browning development. The bread crumb was light yellow to white with a doughy uncooked pasty texture and appearance. The taste was of raw flour and the product was pasty, showed no springiness and was considered inedible. The crumb showed an uneven cell structure distribution throughout the cross-section of the loaf, with mostly dense globules of undercooked dough which collapsed into a dense pasty mass when lightly pressed between the fingers. The conformation shape of the loaf was about a 30-40% increase in volume from the dough, had a spherical shape, with no base-spread from the initial dough shape.

[0121] This example shows that a conventional chemically-leavened bread product could not be made using the process of the present invention, especially within 10 minutes bake time.

Example 3

[0122] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical bread roll made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention and testing the effect of gluten replacement by whey protein.

Table 3

[0123] The dry mix compositions were in Table 3. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare lOOg of bread doughs, 58 parts by weight of the powders were combined with 42 parts cold tap water. Each mixture was hand-mixed with a spoon for 30-60 seconds until the powder is evenly wetted and formed a scoopable dough. The pH of the doughs were measured in triplicate at room temperature by inserting a pH meter into the dough and was found to be 7.021 for Example 3 A, 7.092 for Example 3B and 7.095 for Example 3C.

[0124] For sample 3A, the dough formed very easily in 30-40 seconds, was soft and tender and held it shape, but was firmer than samples 3B and 3C. For sample 3B, the dough was also easy to mix and similar to 3A but slightly less viscous. For sample 3C, the dough was the easiest to blend and mould. All three doughs held their shape in the pan with no base spread before cooking. The doughs were placed on a flat metal baking pan in the desired conformation of a dinner roll and immediately baked in a domestic fan forced oven set at 190°C. The doughs were baked for 10 minutes, in which time the doughs increased in volume by about 100% and formed a golden, light brown smooth crust. The breads were removed from the oven and cooled for 30 minutes on a cooling rack before analysis.

[0125] For sample 3A: the loaf had a smaller final volume by about 15% (compared to samples 3B and 3C). The bread crust surface was the dullest and had a less yellow and more beige tone. The crust was crispy and the bread crumb was very light yellow to white with a springy texture. The bread had a moist taste and the flavour of mild wheat flour with browning flavours with a slight floury finish. The crumb of sample 3A showed an even cell structure distribution throughout the cross-section of the loaf, with fine cells of l-2mm in diameter, and showed more drag when cut that samples 3B and 3C.

[0126] For Sample 3B: The volume was greater than sample 3A and slightly smaller than 3C. The crust was slightly crispier and thicker than that of sample 3 A and was similar to sample 3B. The taste was clean with a chewy and springy texture, good wheat flavour and less floury finish than sample 3A.

[0127] For Sample 3C: Sample 3C had the largest final volume of the three samples. The crust was smoother and more even brown yellow than sample 3 A or 3B. The crust was crispy, the crumb had a more evenly distributed cell structure, 2-3mm diameter through the cross-section, with less drag when the loaf was cut. The crumb was a little more yellow than samples 3A and 3B; the texture was chewy, springy, not mealy, and the sample had more rounded flavour with a clean finish and less floury aftertaste.

[0128] In current bread bakery, extra gluten is often required to aid in the development of a gas holding dough formed during kneading of the wet ingredients. These tests showed that the present invention does not benefit from added gluten and that it can be replaced with a modest increase in whey protein content (sample 3C) which showed the greatest volume development and without the need for a kneading step. As gluten is not very soluble and requires extensive mechanical kneading to develop a solubilised gluten in gas holding matrix, in an ultra-quick method of the present invention it resulted in a residual floury taste and impeded loaf volume development.

Example 4

[0129] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical bread roll made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention and testing the effect of total gluten replacement in a rice bread.

Table 4

[0130] The dry mix composition was prepared from the ingredients in Table 4. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare lOOg of bread dough, 56 parts by weight of the powder was combined with 44 parts cold tap water. The mixture was hand-mixed with a spoon for 30-60 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted and formed a scoopable dough. The dough formed very easily in 30-40 seconds, was soft and tender and held its shape well. The pH of the dough was measured in triplicate at room temperature by inserting a pH meter into the dough and was found to be 7.025.

[0131] The dough was placed on a flat metal baking pan in the desired conformation of a dinner roll and immediately baked in a domestic fan forced oven set at 190°C. The dough held its shape in the pan with no base spread before cooking. The bread was baked for 9 minutes, during which time the dough increased in volume by about 80% and formed a light golden brown smooth crust. The bread was removed from the oven and cooled 30 minutes on a cooling rack.

[0132] The resultant rice bread roll had a smooth surface crust and a fine cell structure and crumb. The bread had a shorter texture than the wheat-based breads but it was moist and chewy, the flour was well hydrated and cooked and had a pleasant texture. The bread cleared the mouth easily. This test shows that a gluten-free bread can be produced in less than 10 minutes bake time. Example 5

[0133] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical pan-formed bread loaf including a light wholemeal wheat flour and made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Table 5

[0134] The dry mix composition was prepared from the ingredients in Table 5. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare 500g of bread dough, 55 parts by weight of powder was combined with 45 parts cold tap water. The mixture was hand- mixed with a spoon for 90 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted and formed a scoopable dough. The dough formed very easily in 90 seconds, was soft and tender and held its shape well. The pH of the dough was measured in triplicate at room temperature by inserting a pH meter into the dough and was found to be 6.980.

[0135] The dough was placed into a 1,200ml rectangular loaf baking pan and immediately baked in a domestic fan-forced oven set at 220°C. The dough held its shape in the pan with no base spread before cooking. The bread was baked for 20 minutes, in which time the dough had increased in volume by about 100% (doubled in height) and formed a light golden brown smooth crust. The bread was removed from the oven and cooled 30 minutes on a cooling rack.

[0136] The resultant wholemeal bread loaf had a smooth surface crust and a fine cell structure crumb. The bread was moist, tender and chewy and the bread cleared the mouth easily. Example 6

[0137] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical free-formed bread loaf including a light white wheat flour and made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Table 6

[0138] The dry mix composition was prepared from the ingredients in Table 6. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare 500g of bread dough, 59 parts by weight of powder was combined with 41 parts cold tap water. The mixture was hand- mixed with a spoon for 90 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted and formed a scoopable dough. The dough formed very easily in 90 seconds and was soft and tender and held its shape well and had a pH reading of 7.8. The dough was placed onto a flat oiled and dusted baking sheet and immediately baked in a domestic fan-forced oven set at 210°C. The dough held its shape, with no base spread before cooking. The bread was baked for 15 minutes, in which time the dough increased in volume by about 100% (doubled in height) and formed a light golden brown smooth crust. The bread was removed from the oven and cooled 30 minutes on a cooling rack.

[0139] The resultant free-form white wheat bread loaf had a smooth surface crust and a fine cell structure crumb. A sample of crumb and crust was diluted 1:10 in demineralised water, macerated and left to equilibrate for 10 minutes at room temperature, covered to prevent drying out. The pH meter probe was inserted into the mixture and reading take in triplicate. The pH of the bread was 7.002. The bread was moist, tender and chewy and the bread cleared the mouth easily. Example 7

[0140] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a sourdough style gluten-free and yeast-free bread made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Table 7

[0141] The dry mix composition was prepared from the ingredients in Table 7. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare lOOg of bread dough, 56 parts by weight of the powder was combined with 44 parts cold tap water. The mixture was hand-mixed with a spoon for 30-60 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted and formed a scoopable dough. The dough formed very easily in 30-40 seconds mixing time, was soft and tender and held its shape well. The dough pH was 7.20. The dough was placed on a flat metal baking pan in the desired conformation of a dinner roll and immediately baked in a domestic fan forced oven set at 200°C. The dough held its shape in the pan with no base spread before cooking. The bread was baked for 9 minutes, during which time the dough increased in volume by about 2-fold and formed a light golden smooth crust. The bread was removed from the oven and cooled 30 minutes on a cooling rack. The pH of the baked bread (1/10 dilution in distilled water) was 5.4.

[0142] The resultant bread had a smooth surface crust and a fine cell structure crumb. The aroma was typical of freshly baked bread. The bread had a springy texture and it was moist and chewy crumb with a distinctive crusty texture. The flour was well hydrated and cooked and had a normal bread-like texture. The bread cleared the mouth easily and there was a slight sour/tangy taste at the finish, which is similar to traditional sourdough style breads.

[0143] This test shows that a sourdough style gluten and yeast-free bread can be produced in less than 10 minutes bake-time.

Example 8

[0144] The following example demonstrates the preparation of a quick-bake bread composition and product in the form of a typical pan formed 600g bread loaf including white wheat flour, with added active yeast but no added gluten and made using a method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Table 8

[0145] The dry mix composition was prepared from the ingredients in Table 8. The powder ingredients were evenly combined by sieving three times. To prepare 600g of bread dough, 60 parts by weight of powder was combined with 40 parts cold tap water. The mixture was mixed with a domestic electric mixer for 90 seconds until the powder was evenly wetted and formed a scoopable dough. The dough formed very easily in 90 seconds and was soft and tender and held its shape well. The dough was placed onto an oiled and dusted rectangular bread baking pan (approx. 21.5 x 11 x 6cm L x W x H dimensions) and immediately baked on the middle rack of a domestic fan-forced oven set at 220°C. The bread was baked for 15 minutes at 220°C and then for an additional 5 minutes at 200°C, giving a total of 20 minutes cook time. During the baking period, the bread dough increased in volume by 2.3 fold (doubled in height) and finally formed a light golden brown smooth crust on all sides by 20 minutes bake time. The bread was removed from the oven and cooled 30 minutes on a cooling rack.

[0146] The resultant pan-baked white wheat bread loaf had a smooth surface crust and a fine cell structured crumb. The bread crumb was springy, moist, tender and chewy and the bread cleared the mouth easily. The crust was crisp and crunchy. The aroma was of freshly baked bread being of yeast and baked wheaten flour. The bread loaf was packed in film and stored for 3 days at ambient temperature (approx. 22°C) and did not become stale. The bread was sliced and toasted in a domestic radiant heat toaster and produced a very good toasted bread slice, like normal bread toast.

Example 9

[0147] The following example demonstrates the preparation of samples of: (A) a commercial traditional bread dry mix composition; (B) using sample A but without the time consuming steps of kneading, yeast fermentation and proving; and (C) using sample A in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

Table 9

1. Contains: unbleached wheaten flour, salt, malt flour, inactive dry years, Ascorbic acid, enzymes, thiamine, folic acid, emulsifier. [0148] Each of the recipes A through C were prepared by blending the dry mix powders and adding water to make 500g total dough weight. The process used for each samples A-C was as follows:

A. Flours and water at 30°C were mixed in an electric mixer bowl with a dough hook for 6 minutes to form a dough. The dough was covered and fermented (proved) at 30°C for 40 minutes, by which time the dough had doubled in size. The proved dough was lightly kneaded and shaped into a log and placed into an oiled baking tin. The dough was allowed to prove uncovered at 30°C for 30 minutes. It was then baked at 200°C in a fan- forced oven for 25 minutes. Total preparation time was 103 minutes.

The baked loaf had a golden brown crust of 2mm thickness which was crispy. The crumb cell structure was even and fine (2-6mm diameter), white and springy. The texture was chewy, good bolus, drier than sample C, had a yeast and wheat flavour and was a bit pasty to finish.

B. Flours and water at 30°C were mixed in an electric mixer bowl with a dough hook for 1.5 minutes to form a dough. The dough was scoop into a single lump and placed into an oiled baking tin. It was then baked in a fan-forced oven at 200°C for 25 minutes. Total preparation time was 26.5 minutes.

The baked loaf had a grey colour and almost no crust (1mm) which was dry. The crumb cell structure was not formed, it was very dense and pasty doughy looking and was grey- white coloured. The texture was dense, pasty, slimy and raw tasting and inedible.

C. Flours and cold tap water were mixed in an electric mixer bowl with a flat beater for 1.5 minutes to form a dough. The dough was scooped into a single lump and placed into an oiled baking tin. It was then baked in a fan-forced oven at 220°C for 15 minutes, then at 210°C for 8 minutes. Total preparation time was 24.5 minutes.

The baked loaf had a golden brown crust of 3mm thickness which was crispy. The crumb cell structure was even and fine (l-6mm diameter), was more tender than samples A and B and was springy. The texture was chewy, had a good crispy crust and good bolus, was moister than samples A and B, had a yeast and wheat flavour and a clean taste finish. It was deemed the best overall loaf quality.

[0149] A 1 day shelf-life test (room temperature) was performed, after which sample C was still soft, tender and not stale at all compared with sample A, which had significantly firmed up and was stale. [0150] This example shows that using a simple commercial bread baking dry mix to bake a loaf of bread took over 100 minutes (9A). If the kneading and proving steps were omitted for the commercial bread baking dry mix preparation, however, a bread loaf fails to form (9B).

However, if the commercial dry mix (9A) is supplemented with the components of the present invention (9C) a successful loaf of bread could be achieved and, compared with 9A, the preparation time was reduced to less than 25 minutes (a 75% reduction), the volume of the loaf was increased by 25% and the overall quality and shelf life was increased significantly.

[0151] Embodiments of the composition of the present invention, and the bread products that can be produced from such compositions, may have one or more of the following advantages:

• a bread product having organoleptic and physical properties very similar to those of traditional leavened breads can be formed quickly, without the need for kneading or proving steps;

• the total preparation time is significantly reduced compared with that required for traditional leavened breads (taking minutes instead of hours);

• the composition can be provided in the form of a dry-mix powder, which has a long storage stability and is highly convenient for the home cook (as well as in food service operations and industrial uses);

• production of the bread product is far simpler than for traditional leavened bread production methods, and much more easily achievable by the everyday cook;

• the bread product can be yeast, gluten, egg and lactose free, and thus enjoyed by people who may be intolerant of such ingredients;

• the protein content, the essential amino acid content and the protein availability index of the bread products is generally higher than that of traditional breads; and

• much less energy is used in the preparation of the bread products.

[0152] It will be understood to persons skilled in the art of the invention that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0153] It is to be understood that any prior art publication referred to herein does not constitute an admission that the publication forms part of the common general knowledge in the art.

[0154] In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.