Chia, a seed from Mexico related to mint has become more and more popular recently due to its favourable levels of omega 3 fatty acids and relatively low levels of omega 6, not to mention the fibre and levels of some vitamins. But sticking a few in your smoothie is not the only use for them.
Indeed, chia seeds traditionally are used to make a thick drink thanks to their high gelling ability. The increasing popularity of chia for their seed oil will mean a higher level of chia mucilage gel (CMG) is produced. This is a byproduct of removing the oil that has the gelling properties of chia.
It turns out that this by product could have great potential as a fat replacement in bakery goods. Published in the journal LWT – Food Science and Technology, Brazilian scientists have been testing the substitution of CMG for vegetable oil in a bakery product known as pound cake.
They tested a number of properties (colour, moisture content, texture, symmetry of rising during baking to name a few) of pound cake with differing replacement levels of vegetable oil for CMG. They found that vegetable oil could be replaced up to a level of 25g per 100g before there were any potentially undesirable changes.
Unfortunately there was not a taste test carried out so we don’t know if they were acceptable to consumers but the authors acknowledge this omission themselves in the conclusion so perhaps they are working on a follow up.