With a focus on clean baking and simple ingredient lists, more and more bakers are looking for ways to replace emulsifiers. An emulsifier is a substance that acts as a stabilizer. In systems like oil and water, emulsifiers stabilize two or more immiscible compounds. Commonly added to bakery goods, including bread, cake and cookies, emulsifiers can be plant or animal based or commercially produced. The presence of emulsifiers in high volume baking is essential to keeping the quality of baked goods consistent throughout the entire process.
What’s the best way to replace emulsifiers?
Since the emulsifier’s main function is to stabilize the food system, any ingredient that can accomplish this function has the potential to replace a specific emulsifier. Enzymes, hydrocolloids, proteins and modified starches are common are common emulsifier alternatives because they are more label friendly. Plant proteins which can provide emulsifying properties are also used to substitute emulsifiers.
Enzymes: such as phospholipase or transglutaminases work on fats and protein molecules to improve dough texture, volume and gas retention. They do this by catalyzing protein or peptide bonds for polymerization.
Modified Starches: Modified or pre-gelatinized starch granules can absorb water at a lower temperature and swell to increase the viscosity of dough or batter. An increased viscosity stabilizes the food system.
Proteins: Protein is mainly responsible for strength, water-holding, foaming, flavor and color of bakery goods. It is the building blocks of any food system. Some examples are wheat gluten, whey protein, egg whites, or soy isolates.
Hydrocolloids: they are not really emulsifiers due to lacking of liphophilic and hydrophilic linkage in the structure. Hydrocolloids molecules cannot flexibly cover the interfaces on oil-water mixtures quickly to create a stable emulsion because of large molecules and complex size. Hydrocolloids can still functionalize as emulsifiers by increasing the viscosity of water surface or by interaction with surface- active substances. Some well-known hydrocolloids include gum arabic, methylcellulose (MC), hydroxypropylmethylcelluose (HPMC) and propylene glycol alginate (PGA). Others are carboxymethyl cellulose, carrageenan and xanthan gum.
Dr. Lin is the baking industry’s influencer who has had a love affair with baking for 30 years. Starting with a BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University, a MSc and PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. While working at Wendy’s and Dave’s Killer Bread, her technical teams experienced the lack of technical baking information on the internet. Seeing that this was not freely shared, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. With over 2 million pages read annually, BAKERpedia is the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the baking industry. Catch Dr. Lin at our BAKER Academy solving baking problems, subscribe to the BAKERpedia YouTube Channel & follow her on LinkedIn.