Researchers at the University of Maryland have discovered how to boost the antioxidant content of pizza dough by optimizing baking and fermentation methods, reports a release on the university’s website.
The findings could lead to healthier pizzas.
According to the release, pizza bakers have known for some time that longer-baking times and higher temperatures can enhance the flavour of pizza.
Conditions boost antioxidants
The new study shows that these intense baking conditions also may boost antioxidant levels in dough, especially whole wheat varieties.
The researchers say they chose to investigate pizza dough because it’s one of the most popular wheat-based food products in the U.S.
In fact, according to ScienceDaily.com, American consumers eat 350 slices of pizza every second.
Through the experiment the researchers found that antioxidants increased by as much as 60 per cent during longer baking times and by as much as 82 per cent during higher baking temperatures, depending on the type of wheat flour and the antioxidant test used.
Also, longer fermentation times boosted antioxidant levels in some cases by as much as 100 per cent.
Only whole wheat pizza was used in the study, but the researchers say that the same cooking factors could also have an antioxidant boosting effect on refined pizza dough, but the effect won’t be as obvious.
And that’s because most of the antioxidants in wheat are found in the bran and endosperm components.
The study is part of an ongoing effort by researchers at the university to discover and develop new technologies that enhance the levels of natural antioxidants in grain-based food ingredients such as whole wheat flour.