Milk proteins contain nutritional and functional value

Dairy ingredients include whole milk products, such as butter, cheese, cream, and yogurt, as well as concentrates and isolates such as natural flavors, skim milk powder, permeate, whey, and others. Often multiple dairy ingredients are used together for the best taste, performance, and cost effectiveness.

“Using fresh dairy products instead of powders is always more challenging for industrial bakery companies due to refrigerated storage needs and a relatively short shelf life,” said Kimberlee Burrington, director of training, education and technical development at the American Institute of Dairy products.

Megan Patterson, Fonterra Americas marketing communication manager, said bakers can explore alternative forms of real ingredients in some cases.

“Skim powdered milk creates a clean dairy milk flavor with consistent composition and quality, which is perfect when a fresh milk supply or refrigeration is not available,” he said.

Many industrial bakeries use voted fats, which are tempered to a specific temperature. Voting systems convert liquid fats into plasticized and aerated fats. This improves the oil’s ability to build structure in baked goods. When working with real butter, the opposite should be true. Hard saturated fat requires warming to room temperature to become pliable for mixing.

“There’s no arguing that a shortbread has unmatched richness in both flavor and colour, but as the fat solidifies at room temperature it can create a drier texture with a shorter shelf life,” said Ms O’Shaughnessy. “Replacing some of the butter with a fat that remains liquid at room temperature can help these products stay moist and tender longer, as well as offer a cost savings advantage.”

The downside may be the taste. Vegetable oils tend to lack rich flavor and create off-notes.

“The addition of natural dairy-derived flavors can counteract this by rebuilding richness and masking any off-notes,” said Ms O’Shaughnessy.

Cheese flavors are useful when cheese is a signature ingredient in baked goods. Most whole cheese ingredients do not provide enough flavor. And when too much is used, baked goods can become soggy. Still, adding some real cheese adds to the look.

“Cheese enhances the aroma and flavor of all savory bakery applications,” said Qiqi Peng, application manager, cheese and ingredients at Hilmar Ingredients. “The browning of the blisters of the melted cheese creates an attractive physical appearance for everything from muffins to brioche to cookies.”

Other ingredients, however, can help extend the use of cheese in baked goods and help a little go a long way.

“Bakers can use less butter, cheese, and other full-fat dairy products when they add a small percentage of our ingredients to replace flavor and increase some of the functional aspects of dairy, such as mouthfeel and richness.” Michael said. Ivey, national sales director, Butter Buds Inc.

Milk proteins provide a variety of nutritional and functional benefits. For starters, they add high-quality, complete proteins to grain-based foods.

“Proteins can be used for fortification, improving the nutritional value of baked goods,” said Pratishtha Verma, research and development scientist for Idaho Milk Products. “Milk protein concentrates and isolates are compatible for use in many bakery applications. These ingredients can be used for product innovation in the sports nutrition, weight management and healthy snack segments.”

Because proteins bind to water, it is often necessary to adjust the ratio of other ingredients to standardize moisture content. This is important to achieve the desired texture and shelf life.

“Whey protein helps emulsify fat and improves texture by maintaining volume and moisture content,” Ms. Peng said. “It also improves the texture of the dough by reducing stickiness and helps emulsify fat, providing a smooth texture and maintaining organoleptic qualities.”

Lactose, the sugar inherent in animal milk, is often used to add sweetness and mouthfeel to baked goods. Permeate, the concentrate that results after removing the fat and protein from milk or whey, is a lactose-rich ingredient loaded with vitamins and minerals.

“The addition of milk powder permeate will help reduce the sodium content,” said Ms Verma. “It provides salty notes, and it is possible to eliminate salt from some recipes. The lactose in the permeate will enhance browning of the surface through the Maillard reaction. It helps develop a caramel flavor under the influence of oven heat, which is desirable in many baking applications. The permeate can also be used as an inexpensive ingredient to replace other carbohydrates.”

Whey proteins can work as an egg substitute or reducer. Substitution should be made on the basis of protein content.

“Whey protein can be used to replace or stretch the use of eggs,” said Steve Adolphson, research manager at Glanbia Nutritionals. “Some products may want to replace eggs entirely for allergen reasons. Others may want to avoid the huge cost fluctuations in eggs.”

Glanbia Nutritionals offers a whey protein solution and a whey protein plus flax option for this purpose. The latter is suggested for baked goods like cookies, while the former is for products like cakes, which require a higher yeast yield.

This article is excerpted from the November 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on Dairy and Eggs, click here.

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