ZEUS™ Hybrid Leavening System overcomes key challenges in tortilla manufacturing, delivering:
- A softer, fluffier texture
- Greater extensibility allowing easier rolling with no cracks or breaks
- A reliable pH reduction that more than doubles preservative effectiveness and increases shelf life
- Prevention of tortillas sticking and tearing after storage
The tortilla market is one of the fastest-growing bakery sectors in recent years with an annual growth rate of around 8% in Europe. In North America, they are the second most sold bakery item after white pan bread. Originally made from maize, it is now the wheat tortilla that makes up the vast majority (89%) of all new global tortilla product launches outside of Latin America.
A common problem in the industrial production of wheat tortillas is their limited shelf life. This is either due to dry-staling, which reduces product softness and rollability, or because of mould growth. Additionally, tortillas often stick together after prolonged storage in their packs, causing tearing when consumers try to peel them apart.
Attempts to solve these problems usually involve complex processing conditions and added ingredients, such as encapsulated acids, enzymes, emulsifiers, gums or additional fats. With the growing consumer demand for healthier products and cleaner ingredients, as well as a desire to avoid excessive raw material costs, tortilla manufacturers are seeking alternative solutions.
The ZEUS™ range of leavening systems is the latest innovation by the chemists and bakery experts at Kudos Blends. Utilising a groundbreaking new leavening technology, ZEUS™ Hybrid Leavening System provides controlled gas release, overcomes pH buffering and increases water binding to improve product quality and shelf life.
To demonstrate the benefits of ZEUS™ Hybrid Leavening System, Kudos Blends’ in-house bakers trialled wheat tortillas made with standard baking powder against tortillas made with ZEUS™ Hybrid, following an industrial recipe and using a heated tortilla press and electric hotplate to replicate commercial bakery processes. Samples were then assessed for softness, extensibility, rollability, sticking and pH in the analysis suite located within Kudos Blends’ Centre of Technical Excellence.
Fig. 1. Toughness and extensibility were measured using a TA.XT plus C texture analyser according to AIB bakery standards. A greater peak force indicates a tougher tortilla, while a greater distance to peak force signifies a more flexible and stretchy tortilla. All differences are statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Rollability (day 9)
Peelability (day 9)
Fig. 2. Rollability was determined by wrapping tortillas around a 2cm cylinder and evaluating the average number of cracks that occurred. Peelability was determined by the percentage of tortillas that remained completely intact when peeling apart a stack of 10 tortillas that had been stored for 9 days.
Analysis showed that tortillas made with ZEUS™ Hybrid were softer and more extensible than those made with standard baking powder. This result was evident both subjectively by a panel of sensory analysts as well as objectively using a texture analyser. Over time, standard tortillas became tougher and less flexible, while ZEUS™ Hybrid tortillas remained soft and pliable. Even after storage, the ZEUS™ Hybrid tortillas were much easier to roll without cracking and did not tear when pulled apart. End-product pH was reduced from 6.47 to 6.11 which, as shown in figure 3, more than doubles preservative effectiveness and considerably increases shelf life.
Fig. 3. Increasing effectiveness of potassium sorbate as pH decreases from 7,
as derived from the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.