A new study suggests that bread from certain wheat varieties have differentiated sensory properties and that could mean customized breeding for more personalized food in the future.

A research group at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has developed the sensory profile of five different wheat varieties -three bread wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare L.) and two spelt wheat (T. aestivum ssp. spelta) and has found significant differences among them. 

Spelt wheat is an ancient grain that has drawn renewed interest over the last 20 years because of the organic farming fad. In order to study the sensory differences (which in other foods has led to claims of organic superiority over traditional farming) between the bread made with this type of wheat and the one made with bread wheat, researchers used five samples of different grain, two grains of spelt and three of baker wheat. The whole study was designed to make the breads from these five grain samples and was considered “monovarietal”.

Credit: UPM

Thus, all grains came from the same place (Vitoria), from the same harvest (2010/2011) and from organic farming. Besides, all samples were grinded with the same grinding diagram and with their flour they proceeded to make bread following the same protocol adding sourdough to achieve the best quality in the final product. After achieving the five types of breads, researchers developed the "sensory profile" with the help of judges trained for bread tastings and using relative attributes such as aroma, appearance, texture and taste.

There were significant differences among the types of bread, both in the alveoli structure and in the elasticity of bread crumbs made with spelt wheat and bread made with common wheat. They found differences in the attributes of smell and taste. Currently, sensory properties are not included as quality parameters for works of selection of new wheat varieties but knowing the outcome of the changing process from grain into bread may help pick new ways to modify wheat for particular desires.

Callejo MJ, Vargas-Kostiuk ME, Rodríguez-Quijano M (2015). “Selection, training and validation process of a sensory panel for bread analysis: Influence of cultivar on the quality of breads made from common wheat and spelt wheat”. Journal of Cereal Science, 61: 55-62, JAN 2015