How to get smart about salt, part 2

by Laurie Gorton, Baking & Snack
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When altering the sodium content of a good many foods, salt can replace salt when the “new” salt is a technologically advanced version of the old one. Don Mower, president and COO of Nu-Tek Food Science, Minnetonka, MN, and Tom McCurry, executive vice-president of Cain Food Industries, Dallas, discuss how and why this strategy works.

Baking & Snack: What types of salt do Nu-Tek and Cain Food offer that could help cut sodium in baked foods and snacks?

Don Mower: Nu-Tek Food Science offers Nu-Tek Salt Advanced Formula KCL, a patented, single-crystal, one-to-one replacement for salt in baked foods and snacks.

Tom McCurry: Cain Food Industries, Inc. is the exclusive sales partner for Nu-Tek Food Science and its Nu-Tek Advanced Formula KCL. Nu-Tek Advanced Formula KCL is a patented single-crystal potassium chloride product that is the ideal solution for reducing salt 30 to 50% in just about any type of grain-based food.

What is it about these products that enables lowering of sodium content?

Mr. Mower: Nu-Tek Salt Advanced Formula KCL is a unique single-crystal that maintains the taste and functionality of salt, while reducing the sodium level in products by up to 50%. The single-crystal structure minimizes the bitterness often associated with potassium chloride, while the expanded surface area creates a greater salt-like intensity than the typical potassium chloride particle. This allows manufacturers to create a reduced-sodium product without the use of flavor systems or maskers, providing an efficient all-natural solution to sodium reduction.

Mr. McCurry: In baked foods, salt brings not only flavor but function to the dough system. The Nu-Tek product delivers on both accounts by replacing salt on a 1:1 basis up to 50%. One of the most difficult aspects of reducing sodium in a baked good is the flavor component. At low levels, 1.8 to 2%, salt delivers a significant boost to the flavor of all baked goods. However, when you drop below those levels, the flavor quality of the product begins to drop off. The addition of Nu-Tek at the 30 to 50% replacement levels mentioned delivers the salt flavor intensity you expect when biting into a loaf of bread, English muffin, bagel, etc.

What scientific or application research supports this reduction?

Mr. McCurry: When Cain first starting discussing our partnership with Nu-Tek, we wanted to be sure that the product could really deliver the sodium reduction solution the baking industry needs — which is a product that delivers the intensity of salt while lowering the sodium content of all types of products. So, over a period of months, our team of baking experts tested the product in just about every conceivable product. The Nu-Tek consistently out-performed all of the other solutions we have tried. Additionally, the product stands on its own from a flavor perspective, meaning there is no need for flavor maskers that are required with many other sodium reduction solutions.

Mr. Mower: Customers have found success in a wide variety of applications, including pan bread (wheat and white), flatbread, rolls, pizza, tortillas, muffins, buns, English muffins and more. In a test involving white and wheat pan bread, our customers could not tell a difference in taste or quality with a reduction of sodium content up to 50% compared with the control in the study.

What should the formulator know about successfully taking baked foods and snacks made with your ingredients from the bench to the production floor?

Mr. McCurry: In most cases, there is no need to make any adjustments in the production process. Bench to production floor could not be any easier. Since Nu-Tek is used on a 1:1 ratio in replacing salt up to 50%, the move to production is simply a math equation — salt out and Nu-Tek in.

Mr. Mower: In most cases, no changes are required in mixing/proofing and other process parameters. Nu-Tek Salt’s advanced potassium chloride is incorporated as a one-to-one sodium replacement. This keeps changes and costs much lower than working with other sodium-replacement systems.

Specifically in dough systems, potassium chloride has the closest dough rheological characteristics to sodium chloride. Although the exact mechanism(s) of gluten strengthening and dough extensibility are not agreed upon, on a molecular level, potassium chloride very closely resembles sodium chloride and, hence, expresses similar function. These advantages do extend to laminated doughs. Nu-Tek Salt has been tested in almost every conceivable bakery application all with the same consistent results, reducing sodium 30 to 50% while delivering all the functionality and taste of traditional salt and doing this for less than 1/8 cent per serving.

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