Lowering sodium with leaveners, part 2

by Laurie Gorton
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Chemical leavening has a big part to play in sodium reduction projects involving baked foods. Experts from Clabber Girl Corp., Terre Haute, IN — Nita Livvix, R&D manager, and Mark Rice, senior sales manager — detail such changes and their effects on finished product quality as well as package labeling.

Baking & Snack: What chemical leavening ingredients does Clabber Girl offer for bakery and snack applications?

Mark Rice: People often think of things like canned soup and other packaged products when they hear “sodium,” but baked goods can be a significant source of sodium intake. One muffin, for instance, can contain almost 20% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of sodium. In an effort to help bakers reduce sodium content, Clabber Girl offers InnovaFree Sodium Free Baking Powder with Cal-Rise and InnovaBake Reduced Sodium Baking Powder with Cal-Rise. For the home baker, we offer Rumford Reduced Sodium Baking Powder that is now available in several retail outlets.

How do these ingredients help the formulator reduce the sodium content of baked foods and snacks?

Nita Livvix: Salt is not the only contributor of sodium in baked goods. Many people do not realize how a reduction in the sodium in the baking powder can impact the overall sodium level of the finished product without any adjustment made to the salt in the recipe. (In some instances, baking powders contribute as much sodium as salt, depending on the formulation.) By using sodium-free or reduced-sodium baking powder and keeping the salt at the same level, the consumer does not have to sacrifice flavor in order to achieve a reduction in sodium and maintain product performance.

How does their use change the finished product’s sodium content?

Mr. Rice: InnovaFree Sodium Free Baking Powder with Cal-Rise is a patented, double-acting, multifunctional baking powder that can be used in a wide variety of baked goods and can reduce sodium as much as 50% in a finished baked good. InnovaBake Reduced Sodium Baking Powder with Cal-Rise is a fully balanced, multifunctional, double-acting baking powder that can be used in a variety of applications and can reduce sodium in a finished product by 25%. Rumford’s new retail product will reduce sodium in baked goods by up to 50%.

Are there sodium-bearing leavening ingredients that the formulator should consider retaining? What impact do they have on the finished product’s sodium numbers?

Ms. Livvix: Sodium bicarbonate is the common source of gas release in a leavening system, and it may be retained if the formulator is primarily cost driven. When compared with potassium bicarbonate, the sodium-free alternative, there is a notable difference in cost. Formulators interested in reducing sodium would likely not choose sodium bicarbonate, because it can contribute up to 90% of the finished product’s sodium content.

What should a formulator know about these materials and their usage levels? Are there limits to their use?

Ms. Livvix: InnovaFree Sodium Free Baking Powder, InnovaBake Reduced Sodium baking powder and Rumford Reduced Sodium Baking Powders should all be used in the same amounts as typical baking powder, as they are all one-to-one (1:1) replacements. All of the ingredients in these baking powders are food grade and Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by FDA. To ensure product quality and consistency, the same amounts of the reduced- and sodium-free baking powder should be used in place of typical baking powder. Efforts were made to retain all of the advantages and consistent performance of our traditional Clabber Girl leavening systems, including great flavor and balanced control release, for the best performance and exceptional finished product quality. There is no need to lower the salt in the formulation when using our sodium-reduction products. The finished baked goods will result in the same quality, color and flavor as seen in a typical baking.

How must they be labeled in the ingredient listing on packages?

Ms. Livvix: Depending on the other ingredients and the levels of sodium that these ingredients may contain, switching to sodium-free or reduced-sodium baking powder may qualify the finished product for claims such as “Reduced Sodium” or “Low Sodium,” but they must meet FDA guidelines.

If changing leavening ingredients, what factors must the formulator consider to ensure success with the new leavener?

Ms. Livvix: Traditionally, the changes in leavening performance in relation to sodium reduction would be dependent on the amount of sodium being reduced and the formula. Some fomulas were not 1:1 replacements, and adjustments to the formulation were needed to achieve a consistent product. It was typical for a low-sodium product to produce a denser finished good than a standard baked good made with a leavening system that contained sodium.

All of the Clabber Girl sodium-free and reduced-sodium leavening products have the ease of use of drop-in (1:1) replacement for typical baking powder. Clabber Girl’s InnovaFree and InnovaBake products are engineered so that the replacement value and neutralizing properties mirror those of the traditional products to maintain consistency and ease for the formulator.

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