Why the Cookie Crumbles
“What I didn’t understand at the time was that the dried apricot was treated with some type of unstable preservative, in addition to sulfite,” he says. “Although it tasted fine right out of the oven, as the cookie sat in the freezer, the elements in the apricot leached out into the cookie dough and changed the pH of the dough matrix; over time, it destroyed the leavening system.”
Inclusions like raisins, nuts, cinnamon, vegetables and dehydrated fruits can disrupt the original matrix of baked goods. Depending upon the inclusion, the leavening may need to be adjusted, and the moisture or pH of the inclusion might challenge the existing leavening system.
Some ingredients are enzymatically stable but others, like grape mash and yogurt, may contain active enzymes from active yeasts or bacteria. The pH, adhesion properties, density, viscosity, temperature and dextrose equivalent of different liquids and batters may not always function or mix well together, informs Chef J.
Enter the MatrixThe volume and grain of baked products depend upon the release of carbon dioxide. Sugar and fat, two ingredients on the health hit-list, are influential to the incorporation of carbon dioxide (CO2). “Manufacturers want their doughs to bake and run within similar manufacturing parameters,” says Mike Connolly, an R&D director at Pepperidge Farm (Norwalk, Conn.). “In breads, special yeasts are sometimes necessary to achieve sufficient fermentation, but these are costlier.”
There are some ingredient selections that will create a finer cell structure, but a drier product. The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and expansion of dough must be timed so that the product sets up properly. “You don't want all of the CO2 released while the dough is still fluid,” instructs Barbara Heidolph, market development manager at a leavening supplier.
In order to maintain moisture, manufacturers will need to draft help from enzymes, emulsifiers and gum systems. There are leavening strategies to adjust pH and reduce chemical and enzymatic interactions. Enzymes prevent staling and help maintain product quality. Emulsifiers increase volume and maintain moisture over a long period of time. “Sometimes you need more leavening when you add fruits and fiber,” says Heidolph. Nuts are high in fat but, in this case, the enzymatic activity is less of an issue.
With obesity on everyone's minds, fats and sugar are being removed from leavening systems. The fat and sugar act as tenderizers to produce moisture, volume, tenderness and bite. Dough conditioners will increase the tolerance of ingredient variations; improve grain, texture and volume; improve the ability to be processed; and shelflife. “Inclusions take up space but, if not overdone, the dough matrix should be strong enough to hold them,” states Connolly. Strengtheners, including oxidizing agents, gluten and ascorbic acid, can help maintain the matrix integrity.
Dough conditioners help yield a finer crumb structure, improved volume and symmetry. They reduce the amount of fats and oils required. Dough conditioners will allow dough (drier dough, in particular) a greater resistance to abuse. Calcium stearoyl, ethoxylated monoglycerides, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate (PS 60), succinylated monoglycerides (SMG) and sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL) are highly functional dough strengtheners. In yeast-raised products, emulsifiers act as dough conditioners.
Crumb softeners keep amylose from crystallizing by reducing the amount of free amylose in the baking process. Unsaturated mono- and di-glycerides can promote rapid hydration in dough, while lecithins delay staling and shortening reduction.
The inclusions mentioned earlier may challenge volume and grain by interfering with the gluten network and weakening the structure. Adding soy protein may have a similar effect. The use of these inclusions in breads may require added gluten to get more strength in the dough, says Madhu Kunam, an R&D scientist at an inclusion supply house. “In addition, the inclusion might pull water out of the baked good, or the opposite could happen, leaving a hard, dry inclusion,” says Susan Deeming, R&D director at an inclusion ingredients supplier.
A lot of inclusions have to be treated, soaked, chilled, etc. For example, chilled nuts may incorporate better and cut more cleanly, while room temperature nuts tend to get smashed and lose their integrity. Fruit pieces can become very hard and dry and need to be oiled or glycerated to keep them soft and moist after baking. Lightly roasting nuts improves their shelflife in finished products. Similarly, syrups need various stabilizers, such as starches, pectin and gums to maintain viscosity and identity in the finished product.
For most inclusions, ambient temperature and low humidity storage is best for maintaining integrity. Some temperature-sensitive inclusions like chocolate may need lower storage temperatures or a higher melting point to prevent melting during mixing. Generally, adding the inclusions toward the end of the mixing stage is ideal--especially for fragile inclusions. However, for many stable inclusions, the sequence of addition makes no difference.
Getting large inclusions through an automated system without losing their identity is one challenge many manufacturers face. Often, the more efficient and the faster the equipment, the more detrimental it is to the inclusion.
With larger inclusions, a regular wirecut cookie cutter is not going to cut it. Many times, what is done by hand in the lab cannot be replicated consistently in the pilot plant, adds Chef J. Wires and blades may break, so vibrating blades are used.
Some inclusions and syrups can bleed color, which may or may not be desirable. Fruits that are acidic and nuts with a higher level of fat can produce rancidity and off-colors around the fruit piece. “The crumb that touches the surface of blueberries added to a baked good will turn green because of the fruit's pH,” Heidolph offers as an example. Organic acids such as citric acid, adipic acid or some acidic emulsifiers like diacetyl tartaric acid and monoglyceride ester will help relieve color problems.
Inclusions also can disrupt an air cell and cause coalescence, leading to poor crumb structure or loss of volume. “A neutral pH is best unless the inclusion itself has a lowered pH, like fruit-flavored inclusions,” says Deeming. “The fat source of an inclusion might be incompatible with the fat used in the baked good, which would cause issues.”
Now Including Fiber!“Our company considers dietary fiber and bran to be inclusions,” says Heidolph. Water adjustment to counteract moisture migration may be one of the primary changes to maintain texture in whole-grain baked goods. Increased fiber content requires more water, which increases the bake and mix times, adds Connelly. Fiber-rich ingredients like inulin also give body and texture and improve shelflife. Ingredients like syrups and raisin paste contribute to a moister texture.
Certain components of fortification will accelerate rancidity. “As people develop fortified products, they are just now identifying the formulation concerns,” says Heidolph. Adding antioxidants often is required to reduce the rancidity that is common in whole grains (due to their higher fat content).
“A right balance of extensibility, elasticity and cohesiveness of the dough is critical for optimal loaf volume and bread quality,” says Kunam. With the emphasis on whole-grain fiber, leavening and stabilization becomes a concern. Baked products that are whole grains or fiber-rich require formula adjustments in gluten, dough conditioners and water that will ensure sufficient strength in proofing, baking and finishing. Certain cost-effective dough conditioners have been developed specifically for gluten replacement in whole-grain breads.
Gluten plays a bigger role in hard wheat products than in soft products. “The key is to build resiliency by using leavening systems,” says Heidolph. A calcium- or aluminum-based leavening acid is one example that will provide built-in resiliency for the product. Gums help to suspend air bubbles, inclusions and other solids in the dough matrix.
With new technologies and ingredients, healthy products are looking more like the expected typical baked goods, but are made with whole grains and lots of fiber. “They don’t have to be brown and heavy to be healthy,” says Deeming. In general, whole-grain flavor is bitterer and has more color and flavor. “However, using resistant starch in white whole-wheat products gives manufacturers more opportunity to produce the typical ‘white bread’ color and flavor,” explains Heidolph.
“As consumer tastes grow accustomed to breads with characteristic whole-grain flavor and texture, we will see a predominance of these products in the marketplace across all baked good categories,” predicts Connolly. “Addition of fiber does result in a chewier texture; therefore, the product developer must understand the relationship between nutritional and textural targets.” Increased fiber requires more water, which increases the bake and mix times, adds Connolly.
Not all customers will be “gung ho” about increasing their dietary fiber intake if they must sacrifice taste or texture. “Don’t introduce a cookie that is going to give you a day’s worth of fiber, because that cookie is going to taste like [roofing material],” says Chef J.
He cautions that despite the rush to jump on the high-fiber wagon, manufacturers should put taste before health. Otherwise, based on prior experiences with products that tasted “below average,” consumers will discontinue purchasing all high-fiber products. “Fiber levels should be increased incrementally, allowing the customer an adjustment period,” advises Chef J. “Don’t set [nutritional] goals that tie a product developer’s hands behind his back. If it doesn’t taste good enough to buy without nutritional enhancements, no one will buy it with the nutritional enhancements.”
Sidebar: Showcase: Vanilla and Dessert Flavors; and Nuts and InclusionsRegardless of the trends and fads of the day, one thing is constant in the baking industry: taste and function rule. Fortunately, bakers can use egg products to create products that taste great, function ideally, and even boost the health content of bakery foods. The neutral flavor of egg products does not conflict with the flavors of other ingredients; in fact, they actually help to release the flavor within many baked goods. Call for formulas and/or technical assistance. American Egg Board, EGGSolutions, 877-488-6143, www.aeb.org
Vanilla continues to be a flavor consumers demand and like. Comax Flavors has developed a line of indulgent vanilla flavors that impart aromatic bean-like notes with rich, creamy qualities. These flavors are available in natural, N&A and artificial W.S. and powder. They can be used in a variety of dessert applications. As with all Comax Flavors products, technical support is available from the company to ensure the highest possible flavor performance in any application. Comax Flavors, 800-992-0629, www.comaxflavors.com
Flavor Dynamics' N/A Sweet Macadamia Butter Flavor blends rich butter notes with savory macadamia nut topnotes, sweet brown sugar overtones and a light and tangy cream cheese background. This water-soluble liquid product is heat and freeze/thaw stable and can be used to bolster the flavor profile of a wide variety of products, including pastry cream, sweet goods, icings, baked goods and dairy products. Flavor Dynamics, Colleen Roberts, 888-271-8424, ext. 601, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.flavordynamics.com
Foods that include flavor bits are deemed more upscale by consumers. They enjoy the little “surprises” within their foods. To this end, Loders Croklaan has developed SensoryEffects[tm], sensory delivery systems that deliver flavor, aroma and visual cues to baked goods. The company also offers the latest in flavor bits and inclusions for bakery applications including no-trans, low-carb, natural and various ethnic profile flavor bits. Loders Croklaan, Mary Thomas, 800-621-4710, www.sensoryeffects.com
Several new products take advantage of California raisins' special talents. Shelf-stable raisins may be colored and infused with flavors like strawberry, raspberry and sour cherry. Baking raisins are pre-conditioned for integration into bakery products. Raisins are natural sweeteners and, as natural preservatives, help inhibit staling and extend shelflife. Rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber, cholesterol-free raisins are a no-fuss ingredient, facilitating development of products with less sugar, salt, fat and preservatives. They add richness, depth and complexity to a range of Hispanic, Indian and Asian products. California Raisin Marketing Board, Thomas J. Payne, email@example.com, www.calraisins.org
Inclusions help to distinguish products, creating signature items. Kraft Food Ingredients Corp. (KFIC) offers the following inclusions: Baker's[r] Angel Flake[r] Sweetened Coconut, which adds flavor and visual appeal to any bakery or confectionery application; Oreo[r] Cookie Ingredients--America's leading retail cookie adds unmistakable taste to frozen and baked desserts and dairy foods; and Kraft[r] Caramel, which adds a burst of sweetness to any imaginable product and is easy to use. The items are available in three forms: enrobing caramel, caramel sauce and caramel bits. Kraft Food Ingredients, Jim Cali, 901-381-6719, www.kraftfoods.com
Plump Highbush blueberries provide whole fruit identity and consumer appeal for their healthy profile, sparkling color and flavor. Easy-to-formulate blueberries are the choice of chefs and product designers for all types of baked goods: ready-to-use, no peeling, no waste…just lush, delicious taste. July is Blueberry Month! During this year's IFT show in New Orleans, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council offered a guide to local eateries featuring innovative, mouth-watering blueberry dishes. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Thomas J. Payne, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.blueberry.org
Finding the perfect sweet flavoring can be a tough nut to crack. McClancy Seasoning Co. offers a diverse and delicious range of dessert mixes and snack food coatings, from puddings and mousses to nut and pretzel coatings in caramel, orange, honey cinnamon and piña colada. In addition to these ingredients, the company offers help in developing custom formulations and unique packaging configurations to set formulators' sweet treats apart from the rest. McClancy Seasoning Co., 800-843-1968, www.mcclancy.com
Refreshing Summer Berry, Zesty Key Lime, Indulgent Chocolate Fudge, Rich Crème Brulee, and Classic Toasted Pecan. These are just a few of the solutions that WILD Flavors Inc. offers formulators for successful baked goods or desserts. WILD's sweet bakery team of food scientists and flavorists utilizes menu and consumer trend data to help development resources rapidly create irresistible, innovative and profitable products. WILD Flavors Inc., 888-WILD-FLAVORS, www.wildflavors.com
When it comes to baking, there are nuts, and then there are almonds. They are a tasty, crunchy, attractive addition and are widely regarded as the most indispensable nut in the baker's pantry. But almonds are even more than that. When looking beyond the idea of “nut” altogether, one begins to realize that almonds are one of the most versatile ingredients a baker can work with. Whole or sliced, slivered or diced, ground into a paste or milled into a fine meal, almonds are a true foundation of baking, on par with flour and butter, yet with a unique flavor, healthy halo and consumer appeal all their own. Almond Board of California, Linnea Trujillo, 209-549-8262, email@example.com