A General Mills patent involves producing white wheat flour and a raw dough with an extended shelf life. Refrigerated dough products maintain freshness during refrigerated storage, conventionally up to 90 days. The patent has been shown to increase the stability and refrigerated shelf life of the packaged raw dough composition to at least 120 days.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published patent No. 20170265484 on September 21.
Enzymes naturally present in wheat grain may cause spoilage, according to the patent. Such enzymes are more concentrated in the wheat germ and the wheat bran portions of a kernel, and they are less concentrated in the endosperm. In white wheat flour or dough, generally only low or medium ash/bran streams from the endosperm are used, which keeps enzyme levels inherently low. However, the amount of white flour produced from a given quantity of wheat grains is reduced, and the resulting product does not include potentially beneficial attributes that would come from the use of other milled streams, according to the patent.
The General Mills patent involves milling wheat grains into multiple product streams, such as a low ash stream, a medium ash stream and a high ash stream. The high ash stream is high in bran and, correspondingly, contains a significant amount of enzymes, but heat-treating the high ash stream deactivates enzymes, preferably fully but at least partially, according to Minneapolis-based General Mills.
The heat-treated high ash stream then is combined with the low and medium ash streams, which are produced solely from the endosperm of wheat grains, to establish a combined white flour. The white flour can be used in making a raw dough that will have an extended shelf life because of the deactivation of the enzymes. The dough then may be used in applications such as biscuits, rolls or croissants.