Wheat flour tortillas are the fastest growing segment of the North American baking industry. As this market grows, the search for healthier alternatives to traditional foods also increases. Nutritionally, flour tortillas are rich in carbohydrates that generate a high glycemic index subsequent to ingestion, demonstrating a behaviour similar to white bread. Hence, the formulation of more nutritious tortillas, with higher levels of protein, dietary fiber and antioxidants, appears to be promising. Although the number of publications concerning the nutritional improvement of flour tortillas is limited, attempts utilizing soybean, whole wheat, and triticale flours have been reported. Additionally, as different ingredients are added to traditional formulations, the texture is very likely to be affected, as are the shelf-life and other sensory properties. Among other additives, hydrocolloids have been reported to improve the textural qualities of bakery goods and flour tortillas. They comprise a number of water-soluble polysaccharides with varied chemical structures providing a range of functional properties that make them suitable to this application. This paper discusses the tortilla market, reviews research attempting to develop novel and nutritious products, and discusses the application of hydrocoloids as texture improvers.
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Anton, A.A. Improving the Nutritional and Textural Properties of Wheat Flour Tortillas. CEREAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS 36, 301–311 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1556/CRC.36.2008.2.10