Taking a new look at emulsifiers, part 2

by Laurie Gorton
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To move cake and sweet bakery formulations away from use of trans-containing shortenings, bakers should consider today’s improved emulsifiers. Options are explained in this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A session with Rosa Regalado, general manager, Palsgaard, Inc., Morris Plains, NJ, and her colleague Manuel Ybarra, technical sales manager, bakery group, Palsgaard Industri de Mexico, Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Baking & Snack: How has the move away from trans fats in bakery shortenings altered the way bakers use emulsifiers? Why?

Rosa Regalado: When bakers are using liquid shortening or liquid oil to substitute for trans fats, the emulsifier system needs to be able to hold the liquid oil into the cake batter to avoid a change in mouthfeel and oiling-out in the cake. Emulsifiers that can tolerate high amounts of oil in both aerated and non-aerated systems are necessary.

In aerated systems, it is important that the oil be homogenously dispersed in the batter, that the selected emulsifier have tolerance to be mixed with the oil, and that it doesn’t lose its capability to incorporate air in the batter. Non-aerated cake batters, such as pound cakes, are often based on butter, margarine or shortening, which contain high amounts of saturated fats. If these fats are replaced by liquid oil, it is important that the emulsification system not change the nature of the finished product. It can be said that by changing to liquid oils, there is also a possibility of reducing the overall fat content and, just as important, changing the composition of the fat in a more healthy direction.

In our experience, by using the right emulsifiers, it is possible to substitute 90% of the saturated fat in a traditional pound cake with healthier unsaturated fats. In non-aerated cake batters, the creaming process of the fat is what contributes to the volume of the finished cake. When the fat is taken out, the emulsifier compensates for the lost functionality and also binds the liquid oil into the batter.

What advice can you give to bakers about using Palsgaard emulsifiers to make this change?

The use of extruded powder emulsifiers can help bakers achieve the incorporation of much healthier fats into their cake batters, as these products offer a smart emulsifier composition which would open up the possibility to create cakes with lower amounts of saturated fats and at the same time result in a shorter list of ingredients The emulsifier also allows there to be a shorter mixing time.

As bakers work with the new-generation oils, should they also be looking at altering the amount or type of emulsifiers they use? If yes, why?

Manuel Ybarra: The use of saturated fats and shortenings in cake mixes, for example, requires that these fats be incorporated in the mix either by spraying the melted shortening into the dry ingredients or by creaming the shortening together with the dry ingredients. The emulsifier is incorporated together with the fat in the mix. As the cake mix cools off, the emulsifier crystals are formed, and not all of them might be in an alpha form, or they might morph from alpha to beta and beta-prime crystals during the shelf life of the cake mix.

By using powder emulsifiers, all the shortening is removed from the cake mix, even if liquid oil is being used for dusting, and all the liquid oil is added at the preparation stage by the end user. This ensures the cake mix is more stable. The powder emulsifier stays in an alpha crystal form that is the most stable crystal form to incorporate air. And during the preparation/aeration stage, when the liquid oil is added together with water, the emulsifier will ensure that the batter is homogenous and that air is incorporated to develop a soft texture and good volume in the baked cakes. The shelf life of the mix could be longer, as no fat is in the mix, making it less prone to oxidation.

For scratch baking, the use of powder emulsifiers can ensure that all the liquid oil is emulsified into the batter before the aeration stage without compromising the air incorporation in the batter. In the batter, there is an interaction between the PGE, air, water and oil, so the PGE helps disperse the oil around the air bubbles, stabilizing it into the batter without affecting the batter aeration.

In industrial baking, the oil could be added at the end of the slurry preparation in order to let water get in contact with the emulsifier first and to promote a higher aeration.

If they make changes, what do you recommend?

The most important recommendation when using liquid oil in cake batter is to add the water before adding the liquid oil, so that the emulsifier will have the chance to hydrate before the whipping stage. In cake mixes, the powder emulsifier will be in the cake mix, so the added ingredients don’t need to have a particular order and the all-in-one method can be used. When using powder emulsifiers that are activated in a rice starch or rice flour carrier, it is important to balance the formula out so no extra starch is introduced in the formula, to avoid dryness in the cake.

What is the most recent addition to Palsgaard’s line of emulsifiers for bakery use?

Ms. Regalado: Although powder extruded emulsifiers are not new for Palsgaard, we have recently introduced them into the US market. The leaner-label cake emulsifier, Palsgaard SA 6600, is an activated, all-vegetable, non-trans and non-GMO functional emulsifier, specially designed for industrial purposes. The functional properties are designed to meet uniformity and stability demands from automated industrial production.

Emulpals 110 is an all-vegetable, non-trans and non-GMO activated cake emulsifier. Emulpals 110 shows a very stable performance, a long shelf life and tolerance to other ingredients in the batter, which makes it a perfect safe choice

Why was it developed, and what are its applications?

Powder extruded emulsifiers were developed in order to allow the emulsifiers to be in an active alpha form for a long period of time, so that they can be ready to use and to incorporate air. These products have between 12 and 24 months of shelf life, and our extrusion process ensures that the emulsifiers can incorporate air throughout their shelf life.


Our powder extruded emulsifiers are based on specially selected polyglycerol esters and mono- and dyglycerides that have been optimized to perfect performance in cake systems. The emulsifiers are finally activated on rice starch in a highly sophisticated extrusion process, resulting in a convenient free-flowing white powder. The whipping active emulsifier is fixed to the outer surface of the starch particles during the extrusion process and has proved to be extremely stable in functionality during storage.

Palsgaard SA 6600 is an excellent all-in-one cake emulsifier for non-aerated and aerated cake batters such as pound cakes, muffins and all types of sponge cakes. Palsgaard SA 6600 is based on one emulsifier and rice starch (1 + 1) and is ideal when leaner label is a focus area.

Emulpals 110 is an all-around product that can be applied in a variety of cake products, e.g., sponge cakes, Swiss rolls, layer cakes, pound cakes, etc., where all the ingredients can be added at once.


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