According to a study from Milan, Italy, "An increase in celiac consumers has caused an increasing interest of food companies in research and development of substitute products, which may exhibit higher sensory acceptability. Although specific gluten-free breads (GFBs) have been developed, little is known about the sensory profile of such products."

"The purpose of the present study was to apply the sensory profiling method to the six most consumed gluten-free breads in the Italian market in order to identify sensory descriptors that can best characterize these products. Sensory evaluation was combined with chemical and physical measurements. Products were evaluated by 10 trained celiac assessors who identified 17 descriptors for appearance, aroma, taste and texture. The most significant variables in discriminating among samples were the following sensory descriptors:
* Porosity, crust and crumb
* Color
* Softness by hand and mouth
* Cheese odor
* Corn odor
* Fermented odor
* Sweet
* Salty
* Adhesive
* Rubbery and the instrumental parameters associated to crust and crumb color and texture.

"A good correlation between sensory and instrumental measurements was observed," wrote E. Pagliarini and colleagues, University of Milan.

The researchers concluded, "The identification of the most relevant sensory features of GFB could facilitate the setting up of new formulations of bakery products that interpret at best the hedonic dimension of this increasing target of consumers."

Pagliarini and colleagues published their study in European Food Research and Technology ("Sensory Evaluation of Gluten-free Breads Assessed by a Trained Panel of Celiac Assessors." European Food Research and Technology, 2010;231(1):37-46).

For more information, contact M. Laureati, University of Milan, DISTAM, 2 Via Celoria, I-20133 Milan, Italy.

From the May 24, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition