Kolkata, July 19 (IANS) The common breakfast bread has been elevated to a nutrient-packed wheat product by scientists at Jadavpur University, who decided to go green and fortify it with coriander.
"We have studied the effects of supplementing the general bread flour with herbs such as coriander which has had a substantial effect in improving shelf life and nutrient levels," Utpal Raychaudhuri, a senior scientist at the university's Department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering, told IANS.
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 shelf life.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L. Umbelliferae) is considered both a herb and a spice, since both its leaves and seeds are used for seasoning. In India, it is known as 'dhania'. 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 shelf life 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, which had an attractive light green hue and powder leaf content between 3-5 percent 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 ageing and fight cancer, shot up by 50 percent in coriander-fortified bread as opposed to the unfortified sample.
Overall, the bread tasted better and the pleasant herbal aroma added to its appeal.
When it comes to fortified bread items like garlic, cheese, rice flour, corn flour, soy flour, cowpea, bengal gram, flaxseed, and fenugreek have been used as supplements.
Coriander-fortified common white bread will be a welcome addition to the genre.