New and unusual ingredient sources are turning up opportunities for bakers to add intriguing flavour and functionality to their products
New and unusual ingredient sources are turning up opportunities for
bakers to add intriguing flavour and functionality to their products.
|Different coloured carrots are being studied for their potential as natural colourings. |
As the ingredient industry expands, develops and exploits many new sources from plants, animals, algae and fungi, a plethora of choices for the food industry are becoming available. These non-traditional ingredients go beyond your basic classic ingredients. The basic and traditional ingredients for the baking industry can be divided into two general groups: those that are necessary because of their functionality in producing an acceptable product and those that are incorporated for other reasons such as providing specific taste, flavour, indulgence or additional health benefits. The basic ingredients required for producing a baked product are flour, yeast or chemical leavening agents, salt and sugar. Beyond these, other ingredients such as milk and milk powders, dietary fibres and minor ingredients such as enzymes, dough conditioners, emulsifiers and others may be required.
But let’s get beyond the basics and take a look at some of the non-traditional ingredients begging to be explored.
You need 7-8 servings of these a day…
The use of fruits and vegetables in baking has been expanded beyond the raisins and blueberries of the world to encompass much potential in new exciting additions. Baked goods that incorporate fruits and veggies will satisfy many of today’s consumer demands and contribute to their health and well-being. Consumers are looking for natural ingredients and flavours and fruits and vegetables can often satisfy this need. Fruits can provide a plethora of flavours that will replace many artificial ones currently used in the manufacture of baked goods. Fruits and vegetables can also be used as substitutes for certain artificial colours. Much research is being carried out investigating natural colours from carrots of varying hues, purple potatoes, beets and certain fruits. Commercialization of such natural colours is an exciting field and there are many promising opportunities.
Fruits and vegetables are also an ideal vehicle to deliver health benefits, mainly because they contain large quantities of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. They can be incorporated into the baked goods fresh, preserved or in powdered forms.
Quite often the highest quantities of the antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, grains and other seeds are present in the outer layers such as the skin of fruits and the bran of grains and seeds. Specifically, the skins of tomatoes, apples, peaches, pears, grapes, plums and other fruits contain more antioxidants than the whole fruit. Traditional processing practices in the food industry discarded these outer layers as by-products and sold them as animal feed or disposed them in landfills. But recently, the health benefits of these byproducts are being recognized. Researchers in many parts of the world are investigating byproducts such as fruit peelings, pulp, seeds, skins and many others for their antioxidant capacity and seeing what ingredients can be made from them. One example of this is the production of grape skin flour, which is high in the antioxidant resveratrol. The byproducts of wine making, namely skin and seeds, are being used for the development of new ingredients. Grape seeds are used for the production of grape seed oil and the skins for the production of grape skin powder. This grape skin powder can be incorporated into breads, pasta and other food products, thus enhancing the antioxidant activity of such products.
Similarly, apple skin contains triterpenoid compounds, as well as other antioxidants and health promoting compounds. Apple skin powder is now available in the market to be used as an ingredient that can boost the health benefits of baked goods and other food products. Specific antioxidants and other health promoting compounds are also extracted from these sources and are available in a more powerful form to be used in food products. These may be more expensive and their use in formulations may be more prone to regulatory issues. Commercial production processes for stable antioxidant rich ingredients has to be carefully considered. Normally ingredients for the food processing industry are in the form of powders. The production of powders from these products requires dehydration, which is normally done with exposure to heat. Elevated heat reduces and sometimes completely eliminates the antioxidant activity. Various new gentle processing technologies have emerged recently to address this challenge. Preserving the antioxidant activity of ingredients will be meaningless if the antioxidants cannot reach the consumer. We must also not overlook the fact that it is very important that the food processing be adequate to safeguard the consumer from the danger of food pathogens.
In some cases the source of such ingredients may be modified to produce different or higher amounts of an existing compound that will provide an improved ingredient. Modifications can be done by genetic engineering or exposure to some form of energy. Genetic manipulation results in the production of GMO ingredients, which are currently highly controversial. One case of producing an ingredient with higher amounts of vitamin D is the exposure of fungi to UV light. Vitamin D occurs mainly as D2 ergocalciferol (obtained through diet) and D3 cholecalciferol (produced in the skin upon exposure to UV light). Vitamin D2 is commercially synthesized by the irradiation of plant sterols with UV light. Recent research has shown that vitamin D2 content of mushrooms can be significantly elevated by their exposure to UV light. The reason for the increase is due to the conversion of ergosterol found in fungi to ergolcalciferol (vitamin D2). Recent developments for the baking industry, related to this discovery, include the manufacture of yeast with high levels of vitamin D2 based on the exposure to UV light. This represents a significant innovation that will allow natural fortification of bread and other yeast raised baked goods with this vitamin.
Good for the gut
Prebiotics and probiotics are two types of ingredients we are hearing a lot about these days. Prebiotics are basically any non-digestible food that can benefit the human body by stimulating the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon. They provide the food for the beneficial bacteria in the colon, which in turn by their action, results in numerous health benefits. There are a great number of substances that can provide that role. These include various short chain fructo-oligosaccharides such as inulin, gums, malto-oligosaccharides, polydextrose, galacto-oligosaccharides, resistant starches and many others.
Probiotics are also available for use for direct colonization of the large intestine, but may be more difficult to apply into baked good formulations due to their sensitivity to heat. A proper diet containing the appropriate prebiotics will result in a natural buildup of the probiotics in the gut of a healthy individual.
Protein of the sea
Protein is another ingredient that provides health and nutritional benefits when incorporated into food products. Incorporation of protein into baked goods can be carried out using many forms. Protein concentrates and isolates from soy, pea, whey, canola and others are available to boost the protein content of baked goods. Recent sources of non-traditional proteins include the algae spirulina, chlorella and red seaweed. They are available as powders from these algae and contain high amounts of protein and other vitamins and minerals. In addition they are available as hydrolysates, which are better assimilated in our diets.
R&D is leading to exciting new avenues in baking that are tasty and healthy. Try taking a tour past the basics: you never know what new product awaits.
For more information, or fee for service help with food technical and processing issues and needs please contact Dr. John Michaelides at John Michaelides Consulting. He can be reached at 519.743.8956, at Bioenterprise at 519.821.2960 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Bionterprise is a company of experienced professionals that coach and mentor emerging agri-technology companies from planning to start-up to profitability and beyond.
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