Cutting costs and avoiding allergens are the primary motives for replacing skim milk powder in baked products. Learn what options are available for your formulas.
| Dairy flavors provide the desired flavor profiles without the problems associated with dairy protein or lactose intolerance allergens. |
|Use whey protein to replace SMP in baked products, such as donuts.|
Milk is not an integral part of every baked product’s formulation; however, for products that do require milk, finding a replacement can be a challenge. Bakers replace, or at least greatly reduce, skim milk powder (SMP) in baked products for basically two reasons: cost and allergens. Regardless of the reason, the same challenges arise.
Instead of eliminating SMP completely, the ideal situation is to reduce the quantity, which is what is occurring at Kroger Bakeries, corporate food division, located in Cincinnati.
“We started reducing the levels [of SMP] in our cakes last October. We’ve reduced it about 12 percent,” says Joel Payne, senior scientist, corporate food technology. “We’re planning to reduce it further, but we don’t know how far we can go before running into performance issues. So far, we haven’t run into any. When we do, we will stop and back up a little.”
Payne says the SMP reduction is strictly for cost containment. Kroger is not replacing SMP with another ingredient and does not plan to, he adds. Since the SMP reductions have not resulted in any changes of product quality, Payne believes the original formula amounts were too high.
“We’ll probably wind up at about a third of our original level in our cakes. Cakes represent a good 80 percent of our milk product usage,” Payne says.
Reduction is a simple cost solution, but what if your goal is to remove allergens or adapt to a new health trend, such as creating a full line of vegan or kosher products? Then, you may need to turn to other ingredients, such as whey or soy, to help maintain product quality while eliminating SMP.
Milk replacements to consider
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is one option for replacing milk products. It is a good source of protein and delivers many of the same functionalities at a lower cost.
“In some cases whey protein can increase the benefits of texture, shelf life, product structure, color and flavor,” says Grace Harris, manager, applications and business development for Hilmar Ingredients, Hilmar, Calif. “We are continually working with bakers to help them take advantage of new formulas using whey products.”
Since whey is a dairy product derivative, the allergen issue often arises. However, specially formulated whey proteins can actually help consumers avoid the symptoms of milk allergies and lactose intolerance. Gwen Bargetzi, Hilmar’s director of marketing, says most people with milk allergies, including infants, can safely consume whey protein hydrolysate because the proteins have been broken into smaller peptides that do not stimulate an immune reaction. Similarly, because whey protein isolate contains less than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon, most people with lactose intolerance can consume these products without difficulty.
Another option for SMP replacement is soy, and ADM Ingredients, Decatur, Ill., offers a special bakery platform group that helps bakers create new formulations using soy products.
“Enzyme inactive soy flour matches the nutrition of a milk product,” says Charlie Morris, manager, dry sweetener research, ADM. “It is a balanced protein with all nine essential amino acids. Casein, a milk protein, which we use as the comparison standard, (as listed on the FDA Protein Efficiency Ratio), is rated at 2.5 while soy flour is rated at 2.2.”
Morris notes several additional key characteristics make soy flour virtually interchangeable with milk products. Milk lactose is a reducing sugar that aids in browning. Soy flour has up to 6 percent non-fermentable reducing sugars that work similarly. Milk products also offer absorption, which increases shelf-life and keeps products moist. Soy flour also increases absorption. “Using 80 percent soy flour and 20 percent sweet whey would be as close to seamless SMP replacement as you could get–and at a much lower cost. Plus, soy now offers substantial health claims,” Morris says.
Soy is one of the main allergens that must be on any ingredient list, although it is not as dynamic as the others, Morris adds.
Natural Ovens Bakery, Manitowoc, Wis., well-known for healthful products, eliminated all dairy ingredients from its wide offering of baked products. Glen Hietpas, vice president of operations, says this was a directive of the founder, Paul Stitt, who believes many people are sensitive or allergic to dairy products and do not realize it.
“We have recently formulated a few breads using soy milk powder instead of SMP,” Hietpas says. “So many good bread recipes call for milk powder. We went with soy because it’s a great emulsifier. We were worried about allergens, but that issue has never come up. Actually, one of our breads containing soy is our top seller now.”
Balancing formulation with flavor
Edlong Dairy Flavors, Elk Grove Village, Ill., offers a variety of concentrated dairy flavors, including a product line that is not derived from a dairy source. The new Vision™ line provides a full range of flavor profiles, including milk, cream, butter, buttermilk, cheeses–all with true dairy flavor, but without the problems associated with dairy allergens.
“Our products are highly concentrated and provide the flavor boost needed in products that are reformulated. Mouthfeel flavors work very well in bakery products that need the richness provided by milk fat or other lipids in formulations,” says Laura Vega, vice president, technical solutions.
Edlong also has a sweet dairy flavor line that Anand Rao, director of technical sales, says is suitable for the fillings and icings used in the baking industry. “Our heavy cream replacement system provides an economical alternative to whipped toppings/fillings or bakery products that contain a significant amount of cream or high amounts of milk fat,” he says.
Edlong also works with bakers in developing full formulations. “We can build a base that will simulate the mouthfeel and functionality of the original product,” says Laura Hartnett, technical solutions manager. “After we get the functionality down, we’ll panel both products and profile the original against our version. Then we work with our flavors to bridge the gap between the two products.”
A matter of choice
Choices abound for any baker who wants to reduce or completely replace SMP in their products. It all depends on what you are looking to achieve and why. Remove lactose, go vegan, go kosher–or just save money–the goal is your own.