|Bakers can use a Food and Drug Administration- approved qualified health claim for soy protein. The health claim relates soy protein to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.|
The Atkins phenomenon left many consumers confused. Should you cut carbs? Should you cut fat? And, what should you eat in place of carbs and fat? Although the answer to the first two questions still is being debated, many dieticians recommend increased protein levels to conquer diet blues. The latest nutrition research reveals that high-protein diets improve satiety and help build leaner bodies.
Adding protein to bakery foods is old news to many bakers. When bakers reformulated products to lower carbohydrate levels, many of them also boosted protein content. However, they forgot to herald protein on the label.
Kellogg Co. is an industry leader in promoting protein content on packaging. Along with 4 grams of net carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber, the Battle Creek, Mich.-based company touts protein content (7 grams) on the front panel of its Eggo® Special K® waffles.
The Daily Value (DV) for protein is 50 grams. Wholesale bakers can claim a “Good source” of protein if products contain 10% of the DV, or 5 grams of protein per standard serving; and an “Excellent source” of protein if products contain 20% of the DV, or 10 grams per standard serving.
In the battle for protein sources, wheat proteins have the inherent advantage of feeling right at home in bakery foods. “Wheat protein isolates have evolved from vital wheat gluten, and offer unique functional benefits,” one wheat protein supplier says. “These ingredients vary from having no solubility and high extensibility, to being 100% soluble with no extensibility, and everywhere in between. No other protein has this functional diversity.”
In addition to functional diversity, wheat proteins have application diversity. Bakers use this ingredient in products ranging from breads to crackers. Formulating products with wheat protein requires additional processing considerations.
“Typically, wheat protein is a very viscoelastic protein, and needs to be balanced with an extensible wheat protein isolate or the dough will be too strong,” notes one ingredient supplier. “Adding wheat proteins will increase water absorption and finished product moisture.”
In breads, increased water absorption leads to softer products over a longer period of time, the supplier says. With the proper formulation adjustments, one application technologist says that it is possible to formulate bread with 5 grams of protein per 28 gram slice.
|Adding protein to bakery foods enhances functionality and nutritional value.|
Whole grain formulations, which generally contain about 10% wheat protein isolate, one supplier says, also force bakers to make adjustments. “Typically, as you add more fibrous ingredients, they interfere with the protein matrix,” another protein supplier says. Bakers compensate for this interference by adding gluten. However, additional gluten may lead to excessive water uptake, resulting in increased baking and mix times. “The addition of wheat protein isolate can help overcome these issues, and in many cases, provide more tolerance and efficiency than traditional reducing agents,” the protein supplier states.
Crackers, and other products that are sheeted to wide thin strips of dough, require a more extensible wheat protein isolate. Bakers can incorporate as much as 30% protein and still produce a crisp cracker, one ingredient supplier says. In refrigerated and frozen doughs, wheat proteins have the ability to form films on dough. This film-forming property is used to reduce the uptake of oil in fried donuts, according to one ingredient supplier.
In sweetgood formulations, wheat protein, at levels between 6% and 12%, reduces sugar levels in bakery and bar applications, one ingredient suppliers says. “Not only is the required amount of sugar reduced, the amount of protein in the bar can be increased by approximately 4 grams in an average sized bar,” one protein supplier says.
In addition to functional benefits and protein content, wheat proteins offer high glutamine content, which “helps active athletes recover faster from fatigue,” one ingredient supplier says. “Approximately 33% of the amino acids in wheat proteins are glutamine.”
Whey proteins deliver a triple play of benefits: flavor, function and nutrition. When selecting a whey protein for breads, it is best to choose an ingredient that has been specially formulated for bakery applications. “Some level of heating or denaturation of the whey protein will react the sulphydryl groups of the whey proteins, allowing them to form di-sulfide bonds, so they do not weaken the gluten structure,” a whey protein supplier says.
Whey proteins have applications in many products, including bars, cookies, cakes, muffins and quick breads. “Whey proteins will provide the least off flavors in delicate bakery foods such as cakes and cookies,” a whey protein supplier says.
|Kellogg Co. touts the protein content (7 grams) on the front panel of its Eggo® Special K® waffles.|
In formulations, whey proteins have ideal water binding, gelling, heat stability and emulsification properties. “These are all properties that make whey protein concentrate an excellent choice for replacement of egg products or as an alternative to skim milk powder,” an ingredient manufacturer says. She suggests that bakers find the optimum level of protein fortification with little compromise to the overall appeal of the product. Examples might include 32% protein in bread, 20% protein in cookies and 26% protein in biscotti.
Whey proteins complement wheat proteins by reducing the stickiness of dough, which leads to increased yield. Whey proteins also help with water binding and emulsifications, which leads to improved shelf lives of finished products. Water absorption is lower for whey ingredients than for flour, and mix times need to be increased slightly when using whey ingredients. Ease of dispersion in bakery mixes gives whey proteins a slight edge over soy and wheat proteins, according to one whey supplier.
Whey protein ingredients with higher levels of lactose are more cost effective, and improve humectancy while producing pleasing crust color, one ingredient supplier says. Other specially formulated whey ingredients increase water absorption, thus increasing batter viscosity. Cultured whey protein concentrates provide a pleasant lactic flavor in yogurt breads.
From a nutritional standpoint, whey proteins balance the weaker value of proteins from grains and plants. “Whey proteins easily are digested and offer the highest Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) of any protein with the exception of egg,” one whey protein supplier says. She adds that recent research is focusing on the role of whey proteins in building and maintaining muscle mass. Increasing lean muscle mass can ultimately have a beneficial role in body composition and weight management.
In January, Tumaro’s Gourmet Tortillas partnered with a soy protein manufacturer to launch a line of flatbreads formulated with soy protein. These flatbreads are the first nationally distributed soy-fortified flatbreads in the country and come in three varieties: Wheat, Soy & Flax; 8 Grain ‘N Soy; and Apple ‘N Cinnamon.
Since 1999, when Food and Drug Administration first granted soy a health claim, the list of health benefits for soy has grown. To obtain the soy health claim, bakers must use 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving. That is fairly easy to accomplish in an 80-gram sub sandwich, but considerably more difficult in a 25-gram to 30-gram serving of bread, one soy protein supplier notes.
Soy protein isolate does not add to the crumb structure of bakery foods, and high levels may have negative effects on crumb color and water absorption. Typically, bakers who want to boost nutrition with soy protein also should add wheat protein or gluten to produce optimal loaf volume. New soy protein ingredients absorb less water than products that were developed five to six years ago. When adding soy proteins to whole wheat or whole grain breads, one supplier recommends adding molasses or honey to improve the flavor.
Enzyme active soy flour contains lipoxidase, which helps whiten bread’s crumb by bleaching the carotenoid pigments of wheat flour. Enzyme active soy flour is used at levels of 1% to 2% to replace dry milk. In donut formulas, adding 3% to 4% soy flour reduces oil absorption.
Soy flour also absorbs additional water in formulas. In a typical bread formula, 3% soy flour absorbs an additional 5% water, and holds it through baking. At this level, bakers will not experience any negative flavor or rheological changes, and the soy flour actually will reduce staling and retrogradation by diluting the wheat starch.
Besides soy protein isolate and soy flour, bakers use soy grits and soy nuggets to boost protein content. Soy nuggets range in protein from 60% to 80% protein, and are crispy, crunchy extruded pieces, similar in shape and texture to standard rice crisps, one soy supplier says.
Regardless of the protein source or blend of proteins used in bakery food formulas, increased protein content contributes unique properties such as functionality and nutrition.