Whole Grain Saltine Crackers: Formulation, Processing, and Quality Improvements
Whole grain foods have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their nutritional and health benefits. Their end-product performance has also improved thanks to modifications in processing technology and the use of functional ingredients. In this study, laboratory-scale methods for producing saltine crackers fortified with whole wheat and whole barley were developed from a method for producing traditional saltine crackers, including formulation, processing procedures, and quality parameters. End-product quality was evaluated using stack weight, stack height, specific volume, and breaking strength. During whole grain cracker processing, the high water-absorption capacity of whole grain flour had a detrimental impact on dough processability and end-product quality attributes. Results showed that saltine crackers containing higher levels of whole grain flour had a shorter stack height and lower specific volume. The addition of endoxylanases, gum arabic, and vital wheat gluten helped to improve the quality attributes, especially stack height and specific volume, of whole wheat saltine crackers. The effects of addition of three types of gums (gum arabic, guar gum, and xanthan gum) were compared for quality improvement of whole barley-fortified saltine crackers.