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Broccoli as a functional ingredient in bakery products

Bread has been part of the human diet for more than 14,000 years, thanks to the cultivation of cereals. Its popularity and consumption are widespread, and bakery products are considered safe by most consumers, according to a study by the Euro Barometer [1].

The incorporation of functional ingredients in bakery products, with the aim of providing a greater nutritional intake, is spreading in the food industry. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L), thanks to its nutritional characteristics with a high percentage of fiber and phenolic compounds, is a promising option for the preparation of novel food in bakery, as recent studies have shown.

Why is broccoli a functional ingredient?

Broccoli is a herbaceous plant formed by edible fleshy flower heads that develop on a thick stem, rich in fibre, proteins and compounds with biological activity.The by-products obtained from broccoli, like the stem of the plant, can be used as new functional ingredients, giving them a new life and avoiding food waste.
Specifically, Agrosingularity’s broccoli powder has the following outstanding characteristics for its use as a functional ingredient, both in the food and nutraceutical industries:

  • High fibre content, 43%
  • High protein content, 15%
  • It is a source of glucosinolates, phenols and other compounds with antioxidant capacity.

These characteristics make broccoli by-products an economical and attractive option from an environmental point of view for the development of new products or for use as a food ingredient, for example in baking.

Use of broccoli in bakery

At present, bread in its different formats and bakery products are considered a staple in the diet of most European countries and the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) recommends a daily consumption of cereals and derivatives.

“Spain, with 38 kg / year, is the European country where the least bread is consumed, which allows opening the doors to expansion with new products”

The inclusion of functional ingredients in baking is a healthy and viable option to increase or fortify the concentration of some compounds such as folic acid or enzymatic hydrolysates. For this reason, broccoli, with its high content of fibre, protein and compounds with antioxidant activity, can be used to fortify bakery products.

Advantages of using broccoli powder in baking

There are some experimental studies [2] in which different characteristics of bread made with powdered broccoli have been analyzed. What are the most outstanding results?

1. Quality of bread products

The addition of broccoli powder in a concentration of 2% (w / w) on bakery formulations, resulted in a decrease in the maximum height and specific volume, compared to the control preparation.

These results had been previously observed in elaborations where ingredients with a high fiber content were included, and it is due to the dilution of starch and gluten when adding broccoli, which directly affects the amount of hydrated starch granules that allow an increase of the final specific volume.

“The addition of ingredients with a high fiber content affects the amount of hydrated starch granules, decreasing the specific volume of the bread dough.”

The moisture of the bread dough is also affected, from a positive point of view. At 7 days after production, the breads with 2% (w / w) of powdered broccoli in their formulation conserved better humidity than the control.

Colour is a quality parameter visible directly to the consumer, which can influence the purchase decision. The powdered broccoli added to the preparations resulted in a greater intensity of colour in the crust of the final bread.

2. Antioxidant capability

As we have previously seen, broccoli contains compounds with antioxidant capacity. The results obtained in various studies are to be expected, where bread made with powdered broccoli showed a higher antioxidant capacity measured through the FRAP and DPPH tests.

After a period of 7 days, the antioxidant capacity of the bread made with broccoli powder in its composition remained higher than the control preparation without broccoli.

The phenolic compounds present in broccoli are also incorporated into the bread dough, and after 7 days from its preparation, the concentration of these polyphenols remains high, which suggests a resistance to baking.

“At 7 days after preparation, the antioxidant capacity and phenolic compounds have higher values ​​in breads with broccoli compared to those that lacked it.”

3. Sensory analysis

The sensory evaluation of bakeries with new ingredients is highly valuable to know the acceptance by the final consumer. Consumers generally accept the inclusion of vegetables in bread as a means of increasing their intake of vegetables.

“The appearance of the bread is a differential value for the final consumer”

In several studies it has been seen that the best acceptance of bread by consumers are those with a range between 1-2% (w / w) of broccoli powder. At higher concentrations, the appearance and appearance of the bread begins to cause rejection due to the high green color of the dough.


  • The inclusion of broccoli powder as a baking ingredient is a healthy option for the fortification of some nutrients.
  • The ideal concentration of broccoli powder in bread dough is 2% (w / w), both from the point of view of bread quality, antioxidant capacity and consumer acceptance.
  • Agrosingularity’s broccoli powder has the right characteristics to be used in baking and as an ingredient in other novel food developments.


[1] Gracia et al., 2001. Food Consumption in the European Union. Main determinants and country differences. Agribusiness 17, 469-488.

[2] Lafarga et al., 2019. Bioaccesibility, physicochemical, sensorial, and nutritional characteristics of bread containing broccoli co-products. Journal of Processing and Preservation 43.