Going Sodium Free

by Laurie Gorton
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When cutting sodium out of chemically leavened baked foods, formulators run headfirst into the leavening system. Both the bicarbonate that supplies the leavening gas and the acid that liberates it contain sodium. Plus, most formulations also use salt.

The facts are clear. Sodium bicarbonate contains 27,370 mg sodium per 100 g (27% by weight) while the leavening acid sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) carries 21,000 mg sodium per 100 g (21%). Sodium aluminum phosphate is lower at 2,100 mg per 100 g (2%). Yet these leavening acids, particularly SAPP, provide the controlled gas release profile desired by bakers along with the finished product texture consumers have come to expect. (In comparison, regular table salt is 38% sodium.)

“Leavening is a significant aspect of sodium reduction in baked goods,” said Birkin Weith, business manager, leavening phosphates, Innophos, Inc., Cranbury, NJ. “With Cal-Rise, a sodium-free, calcium-
based leavening acid, formulators now have more levers to pull.”

ONE TO ONE.

Innophos applied its leavening acid expertise to the sodium problem in leavening systems and developed a 1:1 replacement for SAPP 28, which Rosaleen Doherty, Innophos’s commercial development and technical services manager, described as the industry’s workhorse. “Cal-Rise is a straightforward substitution that can enable 25% reduction in sodium. Plus, you get the added benefit of the increased calcium addition,” she said.

Cal-Rise, a proprietary chemical mixture of calcium acid pyro-phosphate (CAPP) and monocalcium phosphate, monohydrate (MCP-M), has the same neutralizing value (NV = 72) as SAPP 28. It gives products similar texture and baked product characteristics as SAPP 28 but without the sodium content.

The calcium-based leavening acid carries no sodium yet provides 18,000 mg calcium per 100 g, which amounts to 18% calcium by weight. “This leavening acid contains enough calcium in many applications to get up to 10% of the Daily Value for a ‘good source’ claim,” Ms. Doherty said. “It will have a big impact on the nutritional profile of chemically leavened foods.”

EASE OF CHANGE.

From the formulator’s standpoint, Cal-Rise does not compromise functionality or taste, according to Mr. Weith.

A study done at the University of Nebraska tested the leavening acid in flour tortillas, both regular and whole-grain styles. Ms. Doherty said the results confirmed success in replacing sodium-bearing leavening acids in the baking powders typically used for tortillas.

Introduced in 2010, Cal-Rise is already making a difference for a host of new products. Applications include dry pancake and waffle mixes for the food service market as well as cakes, snacks and tortillas sold through retail channels.

Commercial baking powders represent another big market. Innophos worked with Clabber Girl Corp., Terre Haute, IN, to develop InnovaFree Sodium Free Baking Powder with Cal-Rise, a baking powder specifically for the industrial baking market.

Wide acceptance greeted the new leavening acid internationally. Bakers in the UK, Latin
America and throughout Europe now use Cal-Rise. On packaged foods marketed in the US, the ingredient list declares Cal-Rise as “calcium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate.”

Cal-Rise, when substituted for SAPP, accomplishes up to a 25% reduction in sodium with no other formula changes, Ms. Doherty observed. If bakers desire further reductions, Innophos technical experts will work with customers to rebalance the bicarbonate and salt components of formulations. For reference materials describing Cal-Rise applications and neutralizing values, readers can consult the company’s website, www.innophos.com.   

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