Food products have been improved by added flavors since before the 18th century. They enhance or impart a pleasing taste that persists throughout the product’s shelf-life. However, flavor compounds are highly volatile, especially when baking with natural flavors. So treating them properly is key to extracting a full and lasting impact.
Flavors used in food
Regardless of origin, the main molecules that elicit the subjective experience of what we know as flavor tend to be the same as those found in nature. For example, the compound vanillin is found in both artificial and natural extracts of vanilla flavoring. It is mainly responsible for what we know as ‘vanilla.’ Minute levels of other compounds found in natural flavors contribute to a more complex and authentic flavor.
Natural flavors are food additives that produce desirable tastes and aromas to food products. They are used in various baked goods and beverages to enhance or impart a desirable sensory experience. Natural flavors are available in several forms:
Limitations of natural flavors:
- Elevated Baking Temperature: Usually, the baking temperatures are significantly high. As the flavor molecules are volatile, they easily vaporize at these temperatures. The minutest concentration of metal ions catalyzes oxidants’ production from oxygen. The raised temperature stimulates the reaction following in flavor compound damage and producing off-flavors.
- Chemical Reactions: During baking, a Maillard reaction takes place. The flavor molecules, sugars, and amino acids (proteins building blocks) react with each other inside the dough and generate unwanted aromas. Additionally, dough conditioners, such as L-cysteine or potassium bromate, also react to flavor molecules.
- Dough Components: Components such as gluten proteins, starches, and fibers, physically bind to the flavor molecules and inhibit their release.
Learn more about natural flavors in baking and solutions in our technical paper. Download it here.