A doctoral student at South Dakota State University USA is conducting research into gluten-free children’s snack foods made of millet and quinoa. Gabriela John Swamy has found that soaking and sprouting the grains prior to grinding into flour helps to remove the outer coating and breaks down complex nutrients into simple parts.
For her research project, Swamy experimented to determine the optimal temperature of the water used to soak the grain and the soaking time. Flour made from the pre-treated grains was put through a single-screw extruder to create a puffed cereal product. The physical and chemical properties of the end product were analysed to assess the impact of: four different germination periods (24, 48, 72 and 96 hours); different temperatures of the water used to soak the grains; varied moisture content of the flour; the temperature at the die section; and the screw speed of the extruding process.
When compared to unsprouted grain, the carbohydrate digestibility of the extruded product increased 50 to 60 percent and the protein digestibility by 25 percent. Swamy also reported that without needing to add sugar to the flour, she was able to achieve an extruded product with no off-flavour or bitter taste due to the pre-treatment of the grains.
Swamy was awarded a Gerber Endowment Scholarship from more than 500 applicants and presented her research at the 2017 IFT Conference in June.