Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 41: 213-223, 1991.
9 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Quinoa flour in baked products
K. L O R E N Z & L. COULTER
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins,
CO 80523, USA
Received 15 September, 1990; accepted 1 November, 1990
Key words: quinoa, bread, cake, cookies, baking
Abstract. The performance of quinoa-wheat flour blends (5/95, 10/90, 20/80, 30/70) were
evaluated in breads, cakes and cookies. Breads baked with 5% and 10% quinoa flour were of
good quality. Loaf volume decreased, crumb grain became more open and the texture slightly
harsh at higher usage levels of quinoa flour. A bitter aftertaste was noted at the 30% level.
Cake quality was acceptable with 5% and 10% of quinoa flour. Cake grain became more open
and the texture less silky as the level of quinoa substitution increased. Cake taste improved
with either 5% or 10% quinoa flour in the blend. Cookie spread and top grain scores
decreased with increasing levels of quinoa flour blended with high-spread cookie flour. Flavor
improved up to 20% quinoa flour in the blend. Cookie spread and cookie appearance was
improved with a quinoa/low-spread flour blend by using 2% lecithin.
Quinoa originates from the highlands of South America. Currently, it is
grown for its grain in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia
(Carmen, 1984). The grain is resistant to drought and frost. It can be grown
on poor soils and at high altitudes. Quinoa has potential agronomic importance elsewhere in the world, because it can adapt to produce high yields
under adverse conditions (Wilson, 1985). It has been grown experimentally
in other areas of the world where climatic conditions are similar to those of
its native South American mountains. In Colorado, the grain grows at high
elevations, but is limited by temperature to locations between 2,000 and
3,500m. Only one numbered variety, D407, is available for experimental
production in Colorado. It has early maturity, a semi-dwarf growth habit,
yellow compact heads and medium-small kernels. In two years of trials, it
has produced consistent yields of 12001bs/acre in the San Luis Valley of
Colorado (Johnson and Croissant, 1985).
The proximate composition of quinoa ranges from 10 to 18% for protein,
from 4.5 to 8.75% for crude fat, from 54.1 to 64.2% for carbohydrates, from
2.4 to 3.65% for ash and from 2.1 to 4.9% for crude fiber (White et al., 1955;
DeBruin, 1984; Lamenca, 1979). The proximate composition of the grain
varies with species. In comparison to wheat, quinoa is generally higher in
protein, fat, ash and fiber. The amino acid balance of quinoa is better than
that of wheat or corn, because the first limiting amino acid, lysine, is present
in relatively higher amounts in quinoa seeds (White et al., 1955; VanEtten
et al., 1963; Mahoney et al., 1975).
Quinoa seeds contain saponins. These bitter compounds are located in the
seed coat and make the grain less appealing to birds (Risic and Galwey,
1984). Most varieties contain these compounds, which affect their color and
palatability (Johnson and Croissant, 1985). Saponins can be removed by
washing the grain vigorously in cold, running water, then drying overnight
at 60~ (Mahoney et al., 1975) or by repeated washing of the grain in
alkaline water, coupled with pounding and rubbing to remove the pericarp
(Simmonds, 1964). The saponins can also be removed by soaking in water
overnight in a refrigerator followed by a quick, hot rinse. Saponin content
is checked by placing the grain in a tube, adding water and vigorously
shaking it for 30 sec. If no foaming occurs, all saponins are assumed to have
been removed. The grain must then be dried quickly to prevent germination
(Risic and Galwey, 1984).
A barley pearling machine modified for on-farm use has been used in
Colorado for pericarp and saponin removal of quinoa (Johnson, 1987).
Quinoa may be used either as a whole grain or ground into a flour. As a
whole grain it may be incorporated into soups or cooked and served in a
manner similar to rice (Weber, 1978; Bean and Fellers, 1982). The grain may
also be fermented to make a beverage called "chicha" (Simmonds, 1964). A
coarse bread "Kispina" has been prepared from quinoa flour (Weber, 1978).
Noodles have been made using 40% quinoa flour without adversely affecting the appearance of other characteristics of the final product. A number
of quinoa recipes for cookies, chowder, croquettes and casseroles have
recently become available (Gorad, 1986). Quinoa was used in a composite
flour blend for Bolivia (Bean, 1981; Bean and Fellers, 1982). Levels of 5 and
10% quinoa in a wheat flour-quinoa blend caused a decrease in loaf
volume. Potassium bromate added at 20 or 40ppm counteracted this
volume decrease and produced breads similar to wheat bread with no dough
Though quinoa can be used in various ways, very few scientific reports
mention its effects on the sensory, nutritional and functional qualities of
breads, cookies or pasta.
In this study we report the performance of quinoa flour used in blends
with wheat flour to bake breads, cakes and cookies.
Materials and methods
Sample identification and proximate composition
All wheat flours were obtained from a commercial source. The quinoa flour
was ground from variety D407, grown in the San Luis Valley of Colorado,
using a Udy cyclone mill. Before milling, a barley pearling machine,
modified for on-farm use, was utilized for pericarp and saponin removal of
the quinoa as described by Johnson (1987).
Standard AACC (1969) methods were used to determine moisture, fat,
ash and nitrogen. All values, expressed on a dry weight basis, are shown in
The quinoa flour for cake experiments was chlorinated to three different
pH levels: 6.2, 5.7 and 5.1. The original sample had a pH value of 6.5.
Samples were treated with measured volumes of chlorine gas from a gas
cylinder. The gas was applied to the quinoa flour in a wood reactor box with
a tumbling action.
Breads. Pup loaves were baked by the straight dough procedure from four
blends of wheat and quinoa flours. Quinoa flour replaced 5, 10, 20 and 30%
of the bread flour. The bread formulation was: 100% wheat flour or blend
of wheat flour and quinoa flours, 6% sugar, 3% shortening, 2.5% yeast, 2%
salt, 0.5% yeast food, 0.3% calcium propionate, and 10ppm potassium
bromate. Fermentation time was 1.5 hr at 30 ~ and 85% RH. The loaves
were scaled at 200 g each. They were mechanically molded, proofed to height
at 35 ~ and 95% RH, and baked at 208 ~ for 18 min. Specific loaf volume
was measured by rapeseed displacement. To score the breads, a maximum
number of points was given to each bread characteristic, crust color, 7:
Table 1. Proximate composition of floursa
High-spread cookie flour
Low-spread cookie flour
a All value on dry weight basis.
b Protein = N • 6.25.
Table 2. High-ratio yellow cake formulation"
(% of flour weight)
40 ~ C
a Procedure: the dry components (A) are mixed alone (45 sec) in a Hobart N-50 mixer, then
mixed with milk (B, 5 min), and finally mixed with egg and more milk (C, 5 min). Portions of
batter (400g) were baked at 375 ~ for 23 min.
b One-part nonfat dry milk and 10 parts water.
symmetry, 7: break and shred, 6: crumb color, 10; volume, 15; flavor, 15;
grain, 20; and texture, 20.
Bread crumb color was also measured with a Hunter color difference
meter. The standard was L = 94.65, a = - 0 . 6 , and b = 0.1. Duplicate
bakes were made.
Cakes. Performance of the flours milled from quinoa and chlorinated to
different pH levels were evaluated in a high-ratio yellow cake formulation,
shown in Table 2. Quinoa flour replaced 5, 10, 20 and 30% of the cake flour.
Duplicate bakes were made and the cakes were evaluated 3 h after baking.
Cake volume was measured with a volume meter developed by the Pillsbury Co. The cakes were scored as follows: for volume, 15: crust color, 5;
symmetry, 10; crust character, 5; grain, 15; crumb color, 10; aroma, 10;
taste, 20; and texture 10 - the maximum number of possible points being
indicated after each cake characteristic.
Cookies. Performance was measured using the AACC (1969) cookie spread
factor test. A high- and a low-spread cookie flour were used for wheat
flour-quinoa flour blends. Quinoa flour replaced 5, 10, 20 and 30% of the
wheat flour. Cookies were also baked with low-spread cookie flour - quinoa
flour blends with 2% lecithin.
Top grain characteristics of the cookies were scored and crust color was
measured using the Hunter Color Difference meter. Cookie spread factors
were calculated. The quality of the cookies was evaluated by a panel, as
described by Badi and Hoseney (1976).
Results and discussion
Proximate compositions of wheat flours and the quinoa flour are shown in
Table 1. Values for ash, fat and protein are typical of those for bread, cake
and cookie flours. The quinoa flour had much higher ash, fat and protein
contents compared to the wheat flours which agrees with previous reports
in the literature (DeBruin, 1964; Risic and Galwey, 1984; Johnson and
Croissant, 1985). Quinoa also has a much better essential amino acid
composition that wheat (DeBriun, 1964; Quiros-Perez and Elvehjem, 1957;
Bread baking data
Bread baking data of blends of wheat flour and quinoa flour are given in
Table 3. Replacing 5% of the bread flour with quinoa flour resulted in a
volume increase, which was probably due to rather high e-amylase activity
in the quinoa flour. High e-amylase activity in quinoa D407 has been
reported by Lorenz and Nyanzi (1989). Increased bread volume as the result
of slightly higher amylase activity has been shown by Lorenz et al. (1983).
Higher e-amylase activity increases the amount of fermentable sugars produced from starch. This reaction causes increased gas production and
slightly higher load volume. Loaf volume decreased with quinoa replacement levels of 10% and higher. This has previously been reported by Bean
and Fellers (1982). Quinoa flour does not have a gluten-forming protein as
wheat flour does and the reduction in loaf volume is due to a gluten dilution
effect. Breads baked with 5% and 10% quinoa were judged quite acceptable
considering all external and internal bread characteristics. At higher levels
of wheat flour substitution, the grain of the breads became more open and
the texture slightly harsh. At the 30% level of substitution, the bread had an
undesirable aftertaste. The crumb color of the breads became darker with
' higher levels of quinoa flour in the blend as indicated by lower Hunter color
L values. The breads are shown in Fig. 1.
Cake baking data
There is good chemical evidence indicating that starch is altered at the low
levels of chlorine used in flour chlorination and that these alterations affect
its physical properties (Varriano-Marston, 1985). This is the reason why we
+1 +1 +1 +1 +1
Fig. 1. Breads baked with 5, 10, 20 and 30% of quinoa flour.
chlorinate the quinoa flour. The commercial soft wheat flour used was
Substitution of soft wheat flour with up to 30% of quinoa flour
chlorinated to different p H levels had no effect on batter specific gravity as
shown in Table 4. Use of unchlorinated quinoa flour (pH 6.5) up to 20%
had no effect on cake volume. At the 30% level of substitution cake volume
decreased. Chlorination of the quinoa flour was not beneficial as was hoped.
Cake volume remained unchanged with 5% and 10% of quinoa flour
chlorinated to pH levels of 6.2, 5.7 and 5.1 in the blend. Higher levels of
chlorinated quinoa flour caused volume reduction. Chlorination to pH 5.1
had the most detrimental effects on cake volume.
Cakes containing 5% of quinoa flour chlorinated to different p H levels
received slightly higher scores for grain compared to the soft wheat flour
control cakes. The grains of cakes became more open as the level of quinoa
substitution increased regardless of the quinoa flour pH. Texture of the
cakes became less silky with quinoa flour substitution beyond the 5% level.
This was observed with all quinoa flours tested. Quinoa flour substituted at
5% and 10% improved the taste of cakes, however. The taste was described
as very pleasant and nutty in comparison with the flavor of the control cakes
which was considered to be too sweet. Use of 20% or 30% of quinoa flour
in the flour blend produced slightly bitter aftertastes, which, however, was
less pronounced with quinoa flours which had been chlorinated to pH values
of 5.7 and 5.1. Cake crumb colour became slightly darker with increasing
levels of quinoa flour in the formulation as indicated by lower Hunter color
L values (Table 4). This was observed with each of the different quinoa
flours used in the cake baking experiments.
Total scores, which include scores of all external and internal cake characteristics, indicate that cake quality was quite acceptable with 5% or 10% of
quinoa flour, unchlorinated or chlorinated to pH levels of 6.2 or 5.7, in the
Cookie baking data
Baking data of blends of a high- and a low-spread cookie flour and 5, 10, 20
or 30% of quinoa flour (no chlorination) are given in Table 5. There was no
quality improvement using quinoa flour in blends with a high-spread cookie
flour. Cookie spread and top grain scores decreased with increasing levels of
quinoa in the blend. Cookie top color became darker as indicated by lower
Hunter color L values. Overall cookie appearance became less satisfactory.
Only flavor improved with quinoa flour substitutions up to 20%. The
flavor was described as nutty. At the 30% level of quinoa in the blend with
the high-spread cookie flour a bitter aftertaste was noted, however.
Quinoa flour caused only a slight decrease in cookie spread when used in
blends with a low-spread flour. Grain scores actually improved with 5 % and
10% of quinoa flour in the blend, probably due to slightly higher levels of
fat contributed to the formulation by the quinoa flour. Cookie top colors
became darker with increasing levels of quinoa flour. Cookie appearance
and texture were essentially unaffected using quinoa flour with a low-spread
cookie flour. Flavor improved somewhat up to 20% of quinoa in the flour
blend. A bitter aftertaste was again noted at a level of 30% of quinoa flour
in the formulation.
Both spread and top grain of cookies have been shown to be improved by
increased emulsification (Kissell and Lorenz, 1976). We, therefore, also used
2% lecithin with low-spread cookie flour-quinoa flour blends. As shown in
Table 5, cookie spread improved and cookie appearance scores were higher
with additional emulsification. Even at the 20% level of quinoa substitution,
cookie spread was higher than that of the control cookies made with the
low-spread flour but without added emulsifier.
Table 5. Quinoa flour in cookies
Percent in blend
High-spread cookie flour
Cookie spread (W/T)"
Grain score (9 pts max)
Top color (L) b
Low-spread cookie flour
Cookie spread (W/T) a
Grain score (9 pts max)
Top color (L) b
Low-spread flour plus 2% lecithin
Cookie spread (W/T) a
Grain score (9 pts max)
Top color (L) b
W/T = width/thickness ratio.
b L = value from Hunter Color Difference Meter; Standard: L = 94.6; a = - 0 . 6 ; b = 0.1.
c Scale for judging appearance, texture, flavor: 1 = poor, 5 = excellent.
We thank Dr. D. Johnson, Department of Agronomy, Colorado State
University for supplying the sample of quinoa and Mr. P. Ranum and
Mr. R. Erickson, Pennwalt Corp, Buffalo, N.Y. for chlorinating the quinoa
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