Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) is the preferred raw material for the production of pasta worldwide and some speciality bread common in parts of Italy and the Mediterranean region. The quality of such foods in terms of texture, colour, flavour and appearance are determined by raw material quality, processing methods and other ingredients. This review focuses on the raw material composition and how these influence the dough characteristics and the end product quality. Protein has been known as an important component having an influence on the quality of pasta and bread. The glutenin and gliadin proteins, the types present and their ratio have been shown to influence dough properties. Attempts to increase the number of high molecular weight glutenin subunits to obtain more varied dough properties has the potential to improve the breadmaking properties of durum flour. Starch is more than an inert filler and recent research has shown the affect of varying the amylose content and ratio of large to small starch granules on pasta quality can be significant. Potentially new durum germplasm could be created and used in new food products. Other minor components like non-starch carbohydrates and lipids have received less attention. The former can have a large impact on the water absorption of durum flours and alter dough properties. Enzymes like lipoxygenase and polyphenol oxidase together with the lipid yellow pigments strongly impact the appearance of pasta foods. The results of recent research about these components on both pasta and bread quality using durum wheat are discussed.
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