Optimising the nutritional value in gluten-free bread

Optimising the nutritional value in gluten-free bread

15 April 2021

Pulse flours and toasted pulses offer a great opportunity to boost the protein content in gluten-free bakery products

The demand for gluten-free applications is on the rise. A gluten-free diet is not just a necessity for people with coeliac disease but it has increasingly also become a lifestyle, following the “free from” trend and new consumer awareness towards clean eating. Consumers demand products they perceive as healthier alternatives to traditional products.


Market research firm Mordor Intelligence estimates the gluten-free foods & beverages market in Europe to increase with an average annual growth of 11 % during the forecasted period (2020-2025). They also found that when purchasing bakery products consumers not only look for products that are free from harmful ingredients, they increasingly look for products that contain healthy ingredients. Thus, as more and more gluten-free applications enter the market the challenge is to increase their nutritional and health value.


Gluten-free doesn’t have to equal nutrient-free

Due to their formulation, gluten-free bread is lower in protein than their traditional counterparts. Gluten-free bread is often made with processed flours and starch based ingredients which have poor nutritional value. To counteract these shortcomings pulses such as fava beans, lentils and chickpeas can be added to the formulation, significantly enhancing the nutritional value. Pulses naturally have a high fibre and protein content.


Together with Limagrain Ingredients, we offer three ranges of pulses suitable for the bakery segment: conventional precooked pulse flours, organic precooked pulse flours and toasted crushed pulses. The pulse flours are precooked to reduce any bitterness often found in legumes. The toasted pulses add crunchiness, nutrition and texture to bread and other baked goods. They are especially suitable as bread topping as they add crispiness and flavour, but they can also be used to add texture as inclusions.


Precooked pulse flours


per 100 g

Dietary fibre
per 100 g
Energy kcal
per 100 g
westhove faba bean flour 29.0 7.0 334.5
westhove red bean flour 23.0 19.0 308.3
westhove chickpea flour 23.0 11.5 356.0
westhove yellow lentil flour 26.9 5.4 348.0
westhove red lentil flour 29.0 6.8 347.0
westhove green pea flour 21.2 10.7 340.0
westhove chickpea flour ORG 23.0 11.5 356.0
westhove red lentil flour ORG 29.0 6.8 347.0
westhove green pea flour ORG 21.2 10.7 340.0


Adding pulses to gluten-free bakery products offers a wide range of advantages:

  • Improved overall nutritional profile
  • High protein content
  • Rich in dietary fibre
  • Excellent source of minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium etc.)
  • Added crispiness
  • Improved functionality



Pulse flours improve the formulation and quality of gluten-free bread

Formulating appealing high quality, gluten-free bread has proven to be a challenge as the functionality of gluten is difficult to duplicate. This tends to result in breads of lower quality, specifically in regards to loaf height, texture and crumb structure, leading to a dry and bland product with a limited shelf life. Pulse flours are a great option to improve gluten-free product formulation. Limagrain’s hydrothermically treated pulse flours can bring improvement on dough yield, better dough machinability (less sticky dough) and a more open crumb structure. Furthermore, in addition to improved colour development, pulse flours have excellent moisture retention and can help to improve shelf life.


Pulses as an innovational factor to traditional gluten-free bread

Adding pulses to gluten-free bread offers even more advantages than a boosted nutritional value. As the gluten-free market is dynamic it makes sense to rethink traditional products in terms of their appeal to the modern consumer. Adding pulse flours can help with reformulating traditional bakery products and give them a contemporary twist. They can be used for innovating products – e.g. by creating new recipes and expanding an existing product range. Pulses can also be used to position products based on their visual appeal, colour and ethnic attributes.


In conclusion, Limagrain’s range of Westhove pulse flours can enhance traditional gluten-free breads to make them more appealing to the health-conscious consumer thanks to the nutritional and health-promoting features of pulses and their innovational and functional properties.


Want to know more?

Contact us for more information on how to optimize the nutritional value in gluten-free bread.