Tips for Using Whole Flax Seeds
Recommended usage levels
In most bakery products, the optimum level for flax or flax meal is up to 8 per cent of the total dry-ingredient weight. In breads, however, 10 to 15 per cent (flour basis) yields excellent results. Some snacks and cereal bars use up to 30 to 40 per cent flax.
Equal substitution is not possible because flax does not contain any gluten, resulting in products with less volume. Where gluten is less of a factor, like muffins and some sweet breads, more flax can be used. Alternatively, additional gluten can be added to the recipe to ensure adequate volume of breads.
Whole flax seeds adds a special look to many types of foods. Some bakers prefer to soak the seeds before application or use an egg-based wash to enable flax seeds to stick to products.
Whole flax seeds are usually supplied to the bakery industry in 25 kg multi-walled paper bags. They have a long storage life, making them ideal for a variety of commercial baking needs.
Because of its high lipid (oil) content, flax seeds tends to roast and darken when exposed to high temperatures. In this regard, bakers should treat flax seeds as they would nut meats.
Flax has a pleasant, nutty flavour that complements many flavour combinations. As the amount of flax in a product increases, the flavour intensifies, enabling flax to serve as the primary flavouring agent in many applications.
Flax seeds can be soaked in water before use. Soak seeds for 10 minutes in warm water or for two hours in 20°C (70°F) water (although some bakers prefer to soak flax seeds overnight). After soaking, the water turns opaque and slightly viscose from the soluble fibre and gums found on the surface of the seed. Add this water to the bakery mix to retain the maximum inherent benefit and functional properties found in flax.