Selecting the Right Organic or Non-GMO Lecithin

Advice for baking with the right non-GMO and organic lecithin.

These days it’s not so much a question of if you’ll use an organic or non-GMO emulsifier, but which one. With organic lecithin now more commercially available, the European Union is requiring that all lecithin used in organic foods must be organic starting in 2019, and the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has been requiring it since 2012. This emulsifier is a functional additive in baking, so it’s no wonder the lecithin market is expanding.

Why is lecithin important for baking?

The commercial production of baked goods relies on emulsifiers for dough machinability and conditioning to improve quality and consistency. The problem is, many emulsifiers are artificial, and therefore not suitable for baked goods that want to survive in today’s natural products market.

Lecithin is a different story, however. It’s a natural lipid found in all living cells and made from ingredients such as eggs, soybeans, sunflowers or canola. It’s widely used and trusted in commercial baking for its emulsifying and stabilizing properties. So when it comes to replacing emulsifiers like DATEM, SSL or mono-and-diglycerides, lecithin is a recognizable ingredient that is functional and high-performing.

Organic vs. Non-GMO lecithin

Non-GMO lecithin is produced from raw materials such as soybeans or sunflower seeds which have not been genetically modified. For organic lecithin, the raw materials must be non-GMO and grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. It also must be processed without chemical processing or extraction aids like hexane, strong lyes or bleaching. Only physical and mechanical processing technologies may be used for organic lecithin.

What type of lecithin should I use?

Bakery suppliers are recognizing the versatility and reliability of lecithin, so you have lots of options. Most fall into two categories: fluid or de-oiled powder made from soy, sunflower and canola.

If you’re baking bread, you can opt for either the fluid or powdered variety. Lecithin is not water soluble, so fluid lecithin must be added along with the fat into the dough. Powdered lecithin can be added into dough along with the other dry ingredients. Just keep in mind spotting can occur if the lecithin is not fully dissolved. Blending it with oils and fats is recommended before adding it to the dough to avoid spotting issues.

De-oiled powdered lecithin can be simpler to work with, and it is used at about ⅓ less dosage rate than fluid lecithins in many applications.

Sources of lecithin

Another thing to consider when picking a type of lecithin is what it is originally derived from. Soy, sunflower and canola are common oilseed sources of lecithin; however, because soy is a major allergen and high-risk GMO crop, many bakeries are opting for sunflower or canola lecithin instead.

Sunflower lecithin is the more common of the two, but dosage rates for sunflower lecithin compared to soy lecithin are typically higher due to natural waxes from the sunflower seeds which may affect the performance. Fluid canola lecithin is substituted at a one-to-one ratio for soy in most applications. It also has no wax and a lower impurity content than sunflower lecithin.

Ciranda has partnered with the experienced team at Lecico to supply high quality organic, non-GMO lecithins in a variety of forms:

  • Non-GMO Soy Lecithin Liquid
  • Organic Soy Lecithin Liquid
  • Non-GMO De-oiled Soy Lecithin Powder
  • Organic De-oiled Soy Lecithin Powder
  • Non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin Liquid
  • Organic Sunflower Lecithin Liquid
  • Non-GMO De-oiled Sunflower Lecithin
  • Organic De-oiled Sunflower Lecithin
  • Non-GMO Canola (Rapeseed) Lecithin

For more information about these products, or for help selecting the right lecithin for your application, send us an email at [email protected].

2018-12-12T14:13:08-07:00

About the Author:

Tonya Lofgren
Tonya Lofgren is the Marketing Manager at Ciranda, Inc., a U.S. based supplier of organic and non-GMO food ingredients including flours, oils, sweeteners and cocoa. As a member of the company’s Eco-Social team, she works collaboratively to ensure ingredients are produced using sustainable methods and fair labor practices. She leads Ciranda’s community outreach efforts to educate locally on the impact of our current food supply.

Leave A Comment

three × three =