Egg replacers are commonly used for cost reduction, stabilization of ingredient prices, product quality improvement and nutritional improvement. They also can be used to reach specific target markets; to avoid allergens; and to improve handling and processing. Ingredients commonly used in egg-replacement systems include soy or wheat proteins, soy lecithin, whey proteins, emulsifiers, starches and gums.

Jon Stratford, sales and marketing manager for Natural Products Inc., explained the benefits of soy protein-based egg replacers, in his Prepared Foods’ R&D Seminar presentation titled “Formulating with Soy-based Egg Replacers.”

Stated Stratford: “Soy has similar composition to egg protein and similar functionality in batters and doughs, as well as a relatively low, stable cost.”

Stratford explained that the first trial in reformulating a baked product with reduced eggs may be disappointing, with possible volume loss, increased density and color difference. But, with multiple trials and stepwise improvements—dealing with one quality at a time—excellent quality and significant reductions in eggs can be made. In the most common sweet baked products, egg reductions of 50-100% with excellent quality can be achieved. With a 50% egg replacement using soy-based egg replacers, formulations generally need only minor adjustments. However, with 100% egg replacement, major adjustments are likely to be necessary. Key systems directly affected by replacing eggs include water, leavening, emulsifiers and starches.

Soy-based egg replacers sometimes require more water per the same amount of solids, due to higher water-binding properties of soy. With eggs, a 3:1 ratio is typical, while with a soy-based egg replacer, the ratio is more like 4:1 or 5:1. As a suggestion, if an initial 3:1 ratio does not work with a replacer, increase the water ratio. Egg replacers typically do not aerate as well as eggs, so the specific gravity of the batter increases. Suggestions include increasing mixing time; increasing or changing the emulsifier; and increasing leavening by 10-40% (this is mainly for foam-type cakes).

Soy-based egg replacers are generally as good as whole eggs at controlling water activity. Shelflife also is equal or improved, as a result of the added bound water and improved freezing quality. As far as color, soy resists browning, and finished products using soy-based egg replacers tend to be slightly lighter. When using soy-based egg replacers, Stratford suggests replacing 5% of the sugar with dextrose; using beta-carotene or another color; or using other basic baking methods to improve color.

Because of lower aeration, grain may be less open, and texture may be gummier—not as airy or firm as with eggs. To remedy this, suggestions include reducing the replacement percentage; increasing leavening; changing the leavening system; or adding either vital wheat gluten or whey protein.

Emulsification properties of soy and eggs are similar. Adjusting or changing the emulsifier to fine-tune the mouthfeel, structure, volume, aeration, etc., can be helpful. Soy raises the gelatinization temperature of starch. If the mix will not “set,” limiting replacement to 50% may be warranted. Using bleached flour helps set the structure, and replacing some of the sugar with fructose can lower the gelatinization temperature. When mixing and baking with soy-based egg replacers, it is generally not necessary to hydrate the replacer; simply add to the dry ingredients. In cookie doughs, a soy-based replacer can be added to the creaming stage to coat the soy with fat, thus reducing its hydrophilic properties.

“Formulating with Soy-based Egg Replacers,” Jon Stratford, sales and marketing manager, Natural Products Inc., Grinnell, Iowa, 641-236-0852

—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor



Innovations in Chocolate—Healthier Chocolates
for Bakery Applications

Choosing the right chocolate can involve many decisions. Alan Slesinski, R&D innovation manager at Barry Callebaut USA, in his R&D Seminar titled “Innovations in Chocolate—Healthier Chocolates for Bakery Applications,” explains: “For coatings and enrobing, two critical values are important: viscosity and yield.”

Critical viscosity requirements vary depending on application. Variables are controlled by varying fat content, fineness and emulsifiers. Overall fat content of coatings can range widely from 28-65%, depending on finished product. For coatings, products with smaller particle size are recommended, compared to inclusions (chips and chunks). Yield value, one of the flow characteristics of a chocolate or coating, affects the layer thickness and the manner in which the coating flows over the piece during manufacturing. Yield value is especially important when a visual, decorative effect is desired on the surface. Emulsifiers also affect the outcome of viscosity and yield. Inclusions and decorations include chips or drops, chunks and flakes; they are generally low in fat and have larger particle sizes (between 30-50 m), and higher viscosity and yield values. These characteristics allow the inclusions to maintain their shape. Added dextrose in a chocolate recipe can alter whether a product has a soft or firm bake.

Consumer food trends, including health, indulgence and simplicity, are affecting the confectionery and baking industries. Customization toward specific demographics can result in such offerings as “mom’s special treat” or other such customized confections, and it is a big driver in bakery and confectionery areas. Healthy options include whole grains, trans fat-free, low-sodium and sugar-free fare. And, now gaining much traction are offerings for those on restricted diets—such as sugar-, gluten- and dairy-free. Weight management also is often a concern with these product types.  

Natural, simplicity and sourcing with origin are popular trends. Chocolate is still a top flavor in bakery items. Chocolate fits within the “sweet spot” of indulgent and healthy, and it can be made natural and “simple.” Dark chocolate is gaining huge popularity, given its link to health properties and benefits. Therefore, bakery and confection companies are relaunching products with dark chocolate options.

Chocolate ingredients can be adjusted to reduce caloric value without compromising quality and taste. Platforms for improvement include replacing sugar with fibers like inulin; special processes; and emulsifiers to reduce fat. These goals can be achieved, but usability depends on final application and the regulatory environment. Rebalancing both the chocolate and overall recipe can help optimize nutritional goals for the finished product. Slesinski explained that at least a 25-30% sugar reduction can be accomplished without compromising product quality.

Rebalanced chocolate achieves parity taste acceptance, compared with regular chocolate, and delivers significantly improved nutritional profiles—without artificial sweeteners or additives and without increasing fat, producing digestive discomfort or having laxative effects. Stevia with added fibers can replace sugar and sugar alcohols and produce chocolates acceptable for coating, enrobing or chips. The challenge to working with stevia is the high-intensity sweetness, so most of the bulk of sugar needs to be replaced. And, it can have bitter or metallic off-notes, if used at improper levels. Use of masking flavors or sweetness enhancers also helps. 

“Innovations in Chocolate–Health--ier Chocolates for Bakery Applications,” Alan Slesinski, R&D innovation manager, Barry Callebaut USA, Pennsauken, N.J., 856-486-9984,

—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor