How to give chapati a big boost in protein and fiber

Chapathi, the traditional Asian flatbread, can have a high protein and fiber content if made using food-grade distillers grains.

SDSU food scientist Padu Krishnan said distillers’ dried grains with solubles, or DDGS, could help improve human nutrition worldwide.

DDGS is produced as a co-product when corn is processed into ethanol.

Krishnan and his student, Soumya Ara, worked on the project with Kurt Rosentrator of the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory.

They found that using DDGS to 10 percent of the flour in chapathi, an Asian whole wheat unleavened bread eaten in South Asia and East Africa, increased fiber from 2.9 percent to 7.8 percent. Using 20 percent DDGS in the flour increased the fiber to 10.3 percent.

Similarly, protein increased from 10.5 to 12.9 percent when they made 10 percent of the chapati dough using DDGS. Protein increased to 15.3 percent using 20 percent DDGS.

Krishnan emphasized that DDGS is ideal for inclusion in the human diet because it is rich in dietary fiber, 40 percent, and also 36.8 percent in protein.

The results of the South Dakota State lab study, Krishnan said, are enough to get the food industry’s attention because it suggests a technique for fortifying food with a bland but highly nutritious ingredient that won’t interfere with the food’s taste.

Adding DDGS to flour makes chapatis significantly darker, especially at 20 percent replacement, Krishnan noted.

Says Krishnan: ‘However, the use of South Dakota white wheats such as ‘Alice’ and ‘Wendy’ in formulations gives us some leeway when color is an aesthetic criterion.’

Chapathi had a shelf life of one week at room temperature without preservatives and refrigeration, he added.

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