The new MyPyramid reinforces the need for consumers to exercise healthful eating habits. As a result, more consumers are likely to buy foods based on the vitamins and minerals listed on the nutrition facts panel. One way for bakers to ensure that their products deliver nutrition is through the use of eggs in bakery food formulas.
Eggs provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals. One whole egg naturally contains protein, B vitamins, antioxidants, all nine essential amino acids and some non-essential amino acids. It is important for humans to obtain the essential amino acids through diet, because the body cannot synthesize essential amino acids on its own, as it does for non-essential amino acids. Bakers easily can provide consumers with these nutrients because eggs possess ideal functional properties, including emulsification and coagulation.
Protein is the nutrient most commonly associated with eggs. The American Egg Board (AEB) says that egg whites, once the water has been removed, are primarily composed of protein. The yolk is about 16% protein. One whole large egg (50 grams) contains 6.25 grams of high-quality complete protein. Furthermore, this high-quality protein is second only to moth-er's milk in terms of how efficiently the body can use it for growth.
Eggs also provide the essential nutrient choline, a B vitamin. Found as a lipid-like compound in egg yolks, choline helps the synthesis and release of acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter for memory storage and muscle control. Consuming choline reduces memory loss and aids in fetal brain development.
Other B vitamins found in eggs are riboflavin (B2), B12 and B6. One large whole egg gives 14% of the daily value for riboflavin, a water-soluble vitamin that is important for body growth and red cell production. It also assists in the release of energy from carbohydrates. Animal products primarily provide vitamin B12, also called cobalamin. This vitamin is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of a healthy nervous system. Eggs provide 11% of the daily value for B12. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, balances hormonal changes and assists the immune system. Eggs provide 4% of the daily value for B6.
Lutein, an antioxidant, is found in egg yolks. Diets rich in lutein reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related muscular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in seniors. Eggs provide about 200 mcg of lutein and studies show that lutein in eggs is more bioavailable than other food sources.
Eggs also contain folic acid, iron, zinc and potassium. Egg yolk is one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Egg yolk contains all of the ingredient's fat, which is both saturated and unsaturated. The fat includes the essential fatty acid linolenic acid.
Carbohydrates are not found in eggs, making this ingredient ideal for low carbohydrate formulations. Eggs are trans-fat free. This is a huge advantage for eggs, because beginning next year, trans-fatty acid content must be labeled on the nutrition facts panel.
Range of functions
The healthful properties of eggs are easy to incorporate into bakery food formulas. Eggs are available whole or separated in plain, enhanced, fortified and blended forms, and as dried, liquid or frozen products.
AEB says eggs provide more than 20 different functions, allowing bakers to use one ingredient for multiple functions. Eggs also give bakery foods a clean label.
To enhance color, incorporate egg yolks into bakery food formulas. The lipid portion of the yolk contains cartenoids, which give a golden brown color to the crusts of bread and rolls. Egg cartenoids also give color to yellow cakes, cookies, Danish and pastries.
Egg yolks naturally emulsify fats and liquids. Eggs allow fats to remain dispersed in water, and water to remain dispersed in fats. This promotes thickening and gives bakery foods a smooth, creamy texture. Eggs, particularly egg whites, slow the crystallization process in sweets that have a high ratio of sugar to water, such as frosting.
Egg whites, also called albumin, promote coagulation in bakery foods. They bind ingredients, create texture and height, and give structural stability.
Considering the many benefits that eggs offer, to bakers as well as consumers, it's not surprising that eggs are a popular ingredient. Eggs provide an abundance of nutrition, from essential fatty acids to B vitamins and protein. The multitude of functions that eggs provide make it an ideal ingredient to include in any bakery food.