Grain legumes, such as faba beans, have been investigated as promising ingredients to enhance the nutritional value of wheat bread. However, a detrimental effect on technological bread quality was often reported. Furthermore, considerable amounts of antinutritional compounds present in faba beans are a subject of concern. Sourdough-like fermentation can positively affect baking performance and nutritional attributes of faba bean flours. The multifunctional lactic acid bacteria strain Leuconostoc citreum
TR116 was employed to ferment two faba bean flours with different protein contents (dehulled flour (DF); high-protein flour (PR)). The strain’s fermentation profile (growth, acidification, carbohydrate metabolism and antifungal phenolic acids) was monitored in both substrates. The fermentates were applied in regular wheat bread by replacing 15% of wheat flour. Water absorption, gluten aggregation behaviour, bread quality characteristics and in vitro starch digestibility were compared to formulations containing unfermented DF and PR and to a control wheat bread. Similar microbial growth, carbohydrate consumption as well as production of lactic and acetic acid were observed in both faba bean ingredients. A less pronounced pH drop as well as a slightly higher amount of antifungal phenolic acids were measured in the PR fermentate. Fermentation caused a striking improvement of the ingredients’ baking performance. GlutoPeak measurements allowed for an association of this observation with an improved gluten aggregation. Given its higher potential to improve protein quality in cereal products, the PR fermentate seemed generally more promising as functional ingredient due to its positive impact on bread quality and only moderately increased starch digestibility in bread.
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