Bakers Journal

Final Proof: Baking with Probiotics

January 28, 2021
By Jane Dummer

Advances in Baking with Probiotics

Probiotics like Bifidobacterium can now be added to chocolate and granola bars. PHOTO: © picture-waterfall / Adobe stock

Digestive and immune health have been interests of mine for years, dating back to 2004, when I was a member of Danone Canada’s Scientific Advisory Board, as Health Canada was regulating how probiotics could be added to food products. Today, consumer awareness of microbiome health has extended beyond the simple knowledge of fibre and probiotics. We know a healthy digestive tract influences immune function.  Prior to the global pandemic health and wellness was a trend across all target markets. Now with the health crisis, even more consumers are taking an interest, specifically their immune health. 

This increased interest in the role of the gut and its microbiome is leading to further innovations with probiotics. John Quilter, VP and General Manager, ProActive Health, Kerry agrees, “Consumers are willing to act on that interest and awareness by buying probiotics. This is partly because of an increasingly proactive approach to health and wellness generally. Globally, 42 per cent of consumers say they actively seek out products that can improve their health, and 47 per cent say they react to health problems when they arise (source GlobalData – TrendSights Overview: Health & Wellness, August 2018). Understandably, a lot of the recent market research has focused on the impact of COVID-19 on digestive health markets and we continue to see an increase interest in digestive health.”

Probiotics have been traditionally most effective when added to refrigerated dairy products. Unless protected, these living microorganisms can be neutralized by environmental conditions including heat, moisture, oxygen, and light. Advancements in ingredient technology have made it possible to add probiotics to all types of foods including baked goods. However, not all probiotics are created equally. 

Joanna Wozniak, Senior Business Development Manager Lallemand Food Probiotics identifies,


“From the manufacturer’s plant to the consumer’s gut, probiotics must deal with many stresses and production conditions, storage environments and the digestive tract. To ensure optimal probiotics survival and efficacy, we apply our Process-Protect™ technology as a first step on all our strains. To reinforce the survival of Lacticaseibacillus, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, in drastic processing conditions including heat shock, we apply our patented probiotic microencapsulation technology. This is the second level of process protection that permits them to be added to foods such as chocolate or granola bars. Since the global pandemic, we have seen a spike in requests for probiotics for digestive and immune health. Customers are specifically including our strains L. rhamnosus Rosell-11, L. helveticus Rosell-52, B. longum Rosell-175 that have proven clinical documentation for these health concerns. Examples include Prana Probiotic Chocolate Bark, Ohso Probiotic Chocolate Bars, and Perkier Probiotic Granola bars. When we partner with our customers to review their product, the process, and parameters, we note the optimal timing and dosage of the probiotic. Our Bacillus subtilis strain, the B. subtilis Rosell-179 is a spore probiotic. Due to its robust nature, it doesn’t need the microencapsulation step, as it can withstand baking temperatures up to 260°C/500°F. If the baked good includes soft ganache or fillings, we can consider Lallemand’s microencapsulated strains also, if production process allows it. 

Quilter addresses, “The biggest challenges for probiotics are survivability to ensure delivery of efficacious levels. The fortification of snacks and bakery products is only possible due to the development of heat-stable probiotic strains like GanedenBC30®, which can withstand manufacturing processes, shelf life and gastric transit—all elements that most probiotics are too fragile to survive.  GanedenBC30® is a patented, FDA GRAS probiotic ingredient found in more than 1000 food and beverage products around the world. A science-backed probiotic strain, over 25 published papers have shown it may support digestive health, immune health and protein utilization benefits. Consumers have varying dietary preferences and daily routines, so we’ve seen interest in probiotic products across all snack and baked good categories. A few examples include Flap Jacked Mighty Muffin, KIND Breakfast Bar and Orlando Baking, and True Grains® Seed’licious® Bread.”

When choosing to innovate with probiotics it’s necessary to review the many factors including heat exposure and formulation matrix. Consider the clinical data and efficacy. Wozniak also advises, “Lallemand probiotics have been in food products since 2004. Each country has their own regulations, meaning it’s important to be aware of the specific country’s guidelines as to what can and cannot be labeled.”  

Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America.

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