Compared with traditional baking, ohmic heating has several advantages in enhanced bread quality and reduced baking time.
FREMONT, CA: Cooking is a science as old as time, but researchers are still figuring out innovative ways to improve it. Researchers from the Institute of Food Technology of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna have leveraged electric shocks to heat gluten-free varieties from the inside. The concept is called Ohmic heating, and it could save energy and time during the manufacturing process. Gluten-free bread is vital for those with some kind of allergies and conditions like Celiac disease. Scientists have successfully made gluten-free bread using Ohmic heating, in which the bread itself is a conductor for electricity. The test bread had more volume and uniformity and was made with less time and energy than conventional methods.
Ohmic heating is an emerging technology that has shown many benefits over other heating methods. Heat is distributed rapidly and uniformly, as heating happens volumetrically and does not depend on conventional heat transfer based on conduction, convection, or radiation. Major parameters affecting the heat generation during ohmic heating are the electrical field strength and the material's electrical conductivity. Both decide the electrical current and result in a temperature increase based on the total specific energy input applied and the material's specific heat capacity. The applied power impacts the heating rate. In a heterogeneous material like food, the electrical conductivity closely relies on certain properties and usually increases with temperature, water, and salt content.
Gluten-free (GF) batters usually come with several technological hurdles limiting performance during traditional baking and the resulting product quality. Because of the volumetric heating principle and faster heating rates, ohmic heating may be advantageous compared with traditional baking. Therefore, the potential of using ohmic heating as a new approach for gluten-free bread baking was explored. The effect of different ohmic heating process parameters on the chemical and functional properties and digestibility of bread was investigated in detail.