When the low carb craze ended two years ago, it was not a secret that consumers did not quickly return to the bread aisles. Bread did not enjoy the same height of popularity it once held because consumers wanted something new. Within the past year, it appears that consumers have enjoyed bakery foods formulated with nutraceuticals. Bakers are luring consumers back to the bread aisles with healthful varieties of breads that provide taste and give healthful benefits.
Several bakers formulate with nutraceuticals. French Meadow Bakery, Minneapolis, offers Women’s Bread. This bread contains 512mg of soy isoflavones, which lessens menopause-related symptoms. Studies also show that soy isoflavones reduce risks of breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer and blood cancer. In addition, soy isoflavones support bone health because they inhibit the loss of certain minerals that are essential to bone formation.
|Whey protein has been formulated into bread, tortillas, cookies, crackers and nutritional bars. If bakers formulate with too much whey protein,the dough may become sticky or tough. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.|
One of the most popular nutraceuticals on the market today is omega-3 fatty acids. Several bakers have breads that contain omega-3 fatty acids derived from either fish oils or flax. George Weston’s Arnold’s brand, Horsham, Pa., formulates its Smart & Healthy™ Omega-3 DHA/EPA bread with fish oil. Toronto-based Canada Bread formulates a whole grain flax bread under its Dempster’s brand.
The American Heart Association recommends Americans consume the essential fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for healthy hearts. Recognizing the healthful properties of omega-3s, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a qualified heart health claim for food products containing DHA/EPA found in fish oil. George Weston says its Arnold’s Smart & Healthy Omega-3 DHA/EPA bread contains encapsulated fish oil without the taste or smell of fish.
There are many definitions for the word “nutraceutical.” In the food industry, nutraceuticals are defined as ingredients added to bakery formulas that improve health attributes of that bakery food. Soy isoflavones and omega-3 fatty acids are two of the most common nutraceuticals. However, there are other nutraceuticals that are less common, such as whey protein, conjugated linoleic acid, prebiotics and probiotics, coffee fruit and oat bran.
Whey is an ingredient that results from cheese manufacturing. When milk is turned into cheese, there results another product: whey. In the whey portion there are soluble proteins, lactose, vitamins, minerals and some fat. Whey protein helps maintain and build muscle mass.
As a nutraceutical, whey protein typically is formulated into bakery foods as a powder. Bakers generally formulate with whey protein isolate, which is more than 90% protein, and whey protein concentrate, which is 80% protein. One whey protein supplier says that most bakery foods are ideal for additions of whey protein as a nutraceutical. She says that whey protein has been added to bread, tortillas, cookies, crackers and nutritional bars. Whey protein typically is substituted for flour, but sometimes it is substituted for both flour and fat. The whey protein supplier has even seen whey protein used as an additional ingredient.
The whey protein supplier cautions against adding too much whey protein in bread. If bakers formulate with too much whey protein, the texture of their breads change. In addition, bakers should not add whey protein to cakes and other high-sugar and high-moisture bakery foods, the supplier says, because protein makes the cake structure too heavy.
Other challenges that may arise when formulating with whey protein as a nutraceutical occur when bakers want to add a substantial amount of whey protein, such as doubling or tripling the amount of protein that already exists. Texture is a common issue, the whey supplier says, because whey proteins tend to bind water very well, and they might add stickiness or toughness to the dough. The whey supplier says this can be rectified if bakers mix these doughs less than they normally would.
Bakers also can change the order that whey protein is added to the mix: Bakers can add it at the end of mixing where flour typically is added. This ensures that whey protein does not receive a lot of mixing action, she says.
Conjugated linoleic acid
Similar to whey protein, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) derives from cow’s milk. It also is sourced from safflower. CLA aids in weight loss. Research indicates that milk-derived CLA is an anti-carcinogen and aids in cardiovascular health. Animal studies and some clinical studies show that 3 grams of CLA per day provide heart-health benefits.
Another study shows that consuming 3.4 grams per day of safflower-derived CLA reduces body fat by 8% to 9%.
CLA is available in liquid form and is added to dough or batter. CLA also is available as a powder, which is added to mixes. The ingredient is heat stable at temperatures as high as 464˚F for 30 minutes. Bakers can add CLA to most bakery foods without affecting volume. However, CLA does impart a slight softening of the bakery foods’ textures.
Probiotics are healthful bacteria that improve microbial balance in the intestine. Probiotics help the body digest food, synthesize vitamins and protect against infections. This healthful ingredient must survive and be alive in the intestine to maintain its healthful properties. One way for bakers to ensure that it is kept alive is through encapsulation.
Prebiotics are ingredients that are beneficial for probiotics to achieve growth. Prebiotics are non-digestible and include fructans, oligosaccharides and resistant starches.
One major challenge when formulating with prebiotics and probiotics is their sensitivities to heat. One manufacturer recommends that bakers incorporate prebiotics and probiotics into bakery foods by means of chocolate and oils.
Similar to whey protein, CLA and probiotics and prebiotics, coffee fruit is a healthful nutraceutical that is rarely incorporated into bakery formulations. Coffee fruit contains five of the eight essential monosaccharides, in addition to many healthful poly- and oligosaccharides. The nutraceutical also is rich in phenolic acids, which are natural plant antioxidants. Coffee polyphenols help protect the human body from systemic oxidative stress, reduce the risks of coronary heart disease, inflammation and certain cancers, and provide healthful benefits associated with glucose management, depression, anxiety and oral health.
Coffee fruit is available as a powder and as an extract. As a powder, it is ideal for nutritional bars and bakery foods that are formulated with batters, the manufacturer says. Coffee fruit also is available as an extract, but the manufacturer cautions that this ingredient is more astringent and potent in flavor, although the extract offers more healthful benefits. Bakers would have to experiment with flavors if they decided to formulate with the coffee fruit extract, he says.
The manufacturer suggests that bakers formulate coffee bread, where the coffee fruit is sprinkled on top of the bread in flakes, or add coffee fruit to bagels or other sweet pastries.
| Many nutraceuticals are available in powder form. Before formulating with any nutraceutical, bakers should know if challenges occur with their selected nutraceuticals. Most nutraceutical manufacturers will work with bakers to solve challenges and formulate solutions. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc. |
Similar to probiotics and prebiotics, coffee fruit loses some of its antioxidant properties in high heat. However, the coffee fruit manufacturer says this nutraceutical retains all of its healthful properties if it is used in cold extrusions, such as in nutritional bars.
One of the most common nutraceuticals is whole grains because of their fiber benefits, but oat bran is not as widely incorporated into bakery foods as other whole grains. Oat brans are an ideal nutraceutical because they provide beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are carbohydrates produced by glucose molecules. Found naturally in some grains, beta-glucans are a soluble dietary fiber and the only glucan found to be effective in preventing coronary heart disease by significantly lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Beta-glucans also promote energy balance and weight management by slowing digestion and insulin release. Because of these healthful benefits, bakery foods containing high levels of beta-glucans are eligible for two FDA-approved heart health claims.
One oat bran manufacturer offers an oat bran concentrate that is ideal for bakery foods and nutritional bars. This nutraceutical provides beta-glucans at low inclusion rates, and contains soluble and insoluble fiber. This oat bran concentrate retains moisture and reduces starch retrogradation. It also reduces the amount of stabilizers in dry blends.
When formulating with this ingredient, bakers should consider the presence of insoluble fibers and the viscous soluble fiber beta-glucan. Bakers should be aware that soluble fibers develop viscosity, and they must be handled accordingly.
As consumers become more health conscious, bakers should consider formulating with nutraceuticals. There are hundreds of nutraceuticals that are ideal for bakery applications, and many bakers have started formulating with some, such as soy isoflavones and omega-3 fatty acids. As more suppliers and manufacturers produce nutraceuticals, it will only become easier to incorporate these healthful ingredients into bakery foods.