Also known as common flax and linseed
What is Flaxseed?
Flaxseed is a small, brownish oilseed with a pleasant nutty taste. Its unique health benefits are due to the high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is used as a substitute for eggs and fats in bakery products and various functional foods.1
Two main varieties, brown and gold flaxseed are cultivated. They are used in baked goods in various forms:
- Whole seed
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum L.) is an ancient crop which is traced back to 3000 B.C. in Babylon and the fertile valleys of Mesopotamia. Its cultivation spread to West Asia and Europe. It was reported that in the 18th Century King Charlemagne was the first to recognize its health benefits.
A renewed interest in flaxseed has emerged in the last few decades in North America and Europe as a functional food and as an environmentally friendly crop. Today, Canada grows about 80% of global of this seed's production.2,3
A broad range of functional benefits are attributed to flaxseed in baked goods including:
- Thickening: due to both the meal and flour's high water absorption, moisture binding and lubrication capacities
- Stabilizing: its mucilage is a good stabilizer for foam and protein based emulsions
- Taste and flavor: provides a characteristic nutty taste to baked products
- Color: brown flaxseed provides baked goods with desirable dark brown color
- Delayed staling: mucilage high water absorption capacity can helps delay staling
Flaxseed is an exceptional source of dietary fibers, both soluble and insoluble. It contains high quality protein, lignans and mucilage, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as phytonutrients. Benefits of consuming this seed include lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Also, reduced risk of stroke, diabetes and breast cancer.4
Flaxseed oil and flour are produced through the following processes:
- Cold pressing: the seeds are crushed using a press or screw to remove the oil
- Collection: the resulting cake is collected for further processing
- Grinding: the cake is ground to reduce the particle size
- Separation: powder is separated to different size sieves
Flaxseed meal and flour can be used in baked goods as nutritious components as well as fat or egg replacement. Doughs and batters containing flaxseed may require more water due to the mucilage's high water absorption...