Sweet and Stable
Replacing sugar in baked foods requires more than swapping out sweeteners.
BakingBusiness.com, July 1, 2011
by Laurie Gorton
When cutting sugar to create low-calorie baked foods, formulators must figure out how to retain sweetness without compromising product structure and shelf life. Additionally, the high-intensity sweetener chosen must be able to withstand the heat of baking.

Creating low-sugar, low-calorie baked foods is not an easy job. Sugar is much more than a sweetener. Its crystallinity aids air incorporation during mixing. Its bulk builds texture. Its hygroscopicity binds water to affect gelatinization during baking, slow staling afterward and promote moist eating characteristics.

Splenda sucralose from Tate & Lyle, Decatur, IL, starts out with a built-in advantage. The noncaloric sweetener is made from sucrose and “has a taste profile similar to sugar,” according to Judy Turner, senior manager, applications, Tate & Lyle. “Products such as cakes, brownies, cookies and granola bars are easily formulated with Splenda sucralose to create great-tasting desserts with fewer calories and sugar.”

LESS AND MORE.

Rated at 600 times as sweet as sucrose, sucralose retains its sweetness over a wide range of temperature and storage conditions. This stability allows Splenda to sweeten bakery fillings, both lower-solids styles typical for pies and tarts and higher-solids preparations for cereal bars and toaster pastries. “The bake/heat stability of Splenda sucralose makes it ideal for hot-processed fillings or those that undergo a bake cycle in the finished application,” Ms. Turner noted.

Because of its high intensity, sucralose sweetens foods at much lower inclusion rates than sucrose. Yet sucrose provides bulking, starch gelatinization, shelf life and moisture-retention properties important to finished product quality.

For replacing sucrose’s bulking effect, Ms. Turner said that Tate & Lyle recommends its Sta-Lite III polydextrose and Promitor soluble corn fiber because they are “most similar to sucrose for effect on starch gelatinization.” These contribute some humectancy to aid moisture retention and crumb resilience, while modified starches such as the company’s Instant Tender-Jel C and Mira-Sperse 2000 will enhance water binding to produce a moist, tender baked product with the required resilient texture.

Sugar-free or reduced-sugar baked products can incorporate modified food starch. Tate & Lyle’s Mira-Sperse 2000, a cold-water-swelling starch derived from waxy corn fits the bill. “[It] has an affinity to hold water due to chemical substitution, does not retrograde itself and [delays] flour starch retrogradation,” Ms. Turner observed.

No-sugar-added fillings can be made with Splenda sucralose as the sole sweetener. Or the formulator can choose a reduced-sugar approach by blending Splenda with Tate & Lyle’s Krystar crystalline fructose and cutting back on sugar. “A blend of these three sweeteners optimizes the overall sweetness while minimizing the total sugars and calories,” Ms. Turner said.

SAFE AND APPROVED.

On food packages, Splenda is listed as “sucralose” in the ingredient statement. The Splenda brand enjoys a high degree of consumer recognition. “With nearly 70% of US shoppers purchasing one or more products with the ‘Sweetened with Spenda’ brand logo, opportunities exist to license the logo on packaging to drive consumer loyalty to products,” Ms. Turner said.

The Food and Drug Administration first approved sucralose in 1998 for 15 food and beverage categories and, one year later, expanded its use as a “general purpose” sweetener. More than 40 countries, including Canada, Australia and Mexico, allow it in foods and beverages.

The Calorie Control Council summed up the status of sucralose by noting that more than 100 studies conducted and evaluated over a 20-year period demonstrate its safety. The council maintains a consumer-oriented website (www.sucralose.org) that provides science-based information about the sweetener. Tate & Lyle describes bakery applications for Splenda sucralose at www.sucralose.com/products/pages/bakedgoods.aspx.