Viability of Yacon and Maca as Flour Substitutes for Baking

A study has shown that maca and yacon root powders can be successfully used as substitutes of wheat to create gluten free and nutritious baked goods.
  • Date
    16 Aug 2016
  • Country
    Brazil
  • Institution
    Federal University of Technology - ParanĂ¡
  • Professional
    Marcela Marta Lazaretti Tormena
  • Type of Study
    Human Trial
  • Time Frame
    One day

Yacon and maca are two South American superfoods, associated with countless health benefits. Yacon is a tuber recognized for its beneficial effects on digestive health and diabetes. Maca, on the other hand, is a nutritional powerhouse known to restore hormonal balance and boost stamina, as well as for improving fertility and libido. This study intended to verify whether the flour of yacon and maca can be used as a wheat flour partial substitute.

The Study

Researchers in this study baked a chocolate cake using three types of flour: wheat, yacon, and maca. Each cake was baked with two or three different flour compositions: 1) wheat, yacon, and maca; 2) yacon and wheat; and 3) maca and wheat. The tasters evaluated the samples using a free-choice profiling method, which required them to describe the cake's appearance as well as its texture, aroma, and taste.

The Results

The study has found that the chocolate cake baked with higher maca content was characterized with more brownness, as well as burnt aroma and taste. Chocolate cake made with higher amounts of yacon powder resulted in a more attractive appearance. It was also described as being softer with a sweeter and chocolatier flavor.

What Does This Mean?

In the recent years, celiac disease and gluten intolerance have been on the rise, as well as diabetes and obesity, which calls for an exploration of other sources of non-gluten flour, as well as low-calorie alternatives in order to substitute, partially or completely, wheat flour in baking. Maca and yacon root powder candidates are particularly beneficial due to their added medicinal effects on health. To produce baked goods that are completely gluten-free other flour substitutes include amaranth flour, banana flour, maize flour, and coconut flour.

Bibliography

  • Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Application of multi-block analysis and mixture design with process variable for development of chocolate cake containing yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) and maca (Lepidium meyenii), 2017