Soy or soybeans are an important source of oil, protein, fiber and flour in baking.


Also known as soybean

What is Soy?

Soy or soybeans are a legume crop and an important source of oil, protein, fiber and flour. In fact, they are the largest single source of edible oil worldwide, accounting for 50% of the world’s supply.1

Various components of the soybean can be used in bakery products including:

  • Flour
  • Fiber
  • Oil and protein (concentrates and isolates)
  • Milk
  • Gluten-free breads
  • Egg-replacement in cakes


The plant was thought to have originated in East Asia and became a cultivated crop in Japan and Korea about 2,000 years ago.1 Currently, the United States and Brazil are the largest producers.

It first found use in the baking industry during World War II when soy flour was substituted for nonfat dry milk in recipes.2 Since that time, the soy industry has developed a wide range of products for use in the baking industry.


Various fractions of the bean are used in baking. Flours are available commercially with various amounts of fat and also as lecithinated. The primary reason to use soy proteins in baked goods is to increase protein content.

Soy proteins are known for their ability to bind high amounts of water, to gel and to improve the overall consistency and texture of baked products.

Composition of Select Soy Products:3

Product Protein (%) Fat (%) Moisture (%)
Flour & Grits
Full Fat 41.0 20.5 5.8
High Fat 46.0 14.5 6.0
Low Fat 52.5 4.0 6.0
Defatted 53.0 0.6 6.0
Lecithinated 51.0 6.5 7.0
Protein concentrates 66.2 0.3 6.7
Protein isolates 92.8 <0.1 4.7


Soy is the only vegetable that contains all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts, is a complete protein and unlike wheat, has a high lysine content and is rich in fats, vitamins and minerals.3

Soy-based products contain high levels of isoflavones and other health-promoting components associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers as well as bone-health improvement.

Commercial production

Soybean meal (approximately 50% protein) is what remains after the oil is either pressed or extracted from the bean. Soymeal can be further processed into:1

  • Soybean flour (approximately 50% protein): Remains when meal is ground...

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