"We have studied the effects of supplementing the general bread flour with herbs such as coriander which has had a substantial effect in improving shelflife and nutrient levels," Utpal Raychaudhuri, a senior scientist at the university's Department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering, said.
Lipi Das and Runu Chakraborty were the other members of the research team whose findings -- published in the Journal of Food Science and Biotechnology -- showed that coriander remarkably delayed the bread's going stale, while the microbicidal (germ-killing) property of the herb added to its shelflife.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L. Umbelliferae) is considered both a herb and a spice, since both its leaves and seeds are used for seasoning. The leaves, stem, roots, and seeds of natural herbs are rich in minerals, micronutrients, antioxidants, dietary fibres and essential oils which may have microbial properties against food-borne pathogens such as the Salmonella species.
The shelflife of bread is influenced by mainly two factors -- going stale and microbial deterioration.
"In this novel study, dried and powdered coriander leaves were incorporated into raw materials for baking bread such as wheat flour, sugar, shortenings (refined vegetable oils), salt and compressed baker's yeast," Raychaudhuri explained.
For comparison, a control was also baked which had no coriander supplement.
The final product had a light green hue, and powder leaf content between 3-5% of the weight of wheat flour was found to be the optimum supplementation level. Moreover, the coriander supplement helped retain moisture and improved the quality of the bread.
In terms of nutrients, antioxidants, which delay aging and fight cancer, shot up by 50% in coriander-fortified bread as opposed to the unfortified sample.