Soft and stretchy flatbread with much less fat

Good for the waistline, good for the bottom line – low-fat tortillas are a winnable challenge

 Fat reduction is an excellent place to start whether you are looking to raise the nutritional profile or cut the cost of your tortilla formulation. Just as with any other food product, that means compromises, both functional and sensory. But, with a little help, it is possible to make up the shortfall.
 
With the fat content of a typical wrap at 5-10%, fat reduction by 50% or more will bring considerable savings. The question is: how do you compensate for the loss of dough elasticity and eating quality?
 
Restoring elasticity
At DuPont Nutrition & Health, we have investigated ways to restore elasticity in order to maintain the desired tortilla diameter. One obvious method is to subject the dough to more pressure during pressing. The drawback of this approach, however, is that it will often result in a tortilla with an irregular shape.
 
Alternatively, we have found that the use of enzymes can clip the structural proteins and fibres in flour. In this way, the processing aids relax the dough, giving it the elasticity required to press it out to the standard diameter.
 
Keeping the softness
Eating quality is also critical, as the fat provides the soft, moist feel that turns such flatbreads into a pleasant, sensory experience. This is where emulsifiers make a difference by forming a complex with amylose, one of the two starch fractions. The emulsifier, which is widely used in bread, has a crumb softening effect that consumers perceive as fresh and moist.
 
The emulsifier and enzymes we have tested are part of a customised blend specifically developed for fat-reduced tortillas. For best results, the blend should be used in addition to an ingredient solution for optimising tortilla softness and flexibility and extending shelf life.
 
Check out your flour
Before adding any emulsifier-enzyme system to your formulation, you need to test the quality of your flour. Selecting the right dose depends on gluten content and strength and the amount of non-starch polysaccharides in the flour – not to mention the total fat content of the tortilla recipe.
 
Once you get it right, it should be plain sailing. Even with just 2% fat based on the flour, few consumers will notice the difference.
 
We used POWERFlex® 401 from the DuPont™ Danisco® range for our trials.