Why emulsifiers work in cutting trans fat use

by Laurie Gorton
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To move bakery formulations away from use of trans-containing shortenings, bakers should consider today’s improved emulsifiers. How this works is explained in this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A session with Troy Boutte, PhD, group manager, bakery/fats and oils, DuPont Nutrition & Health, New Century, KS, and Karen Allen Seabolt, global lecithin research lead, DuPont Nutrition & Health, St. Louis, MO.

Baking & Snack: How has the move away from trans fats in bakery shortenings altered the way bakers use emulsifiers? Why? What advice can you give to bakers about using DuPont Nutrition & Health emulsifiers to make this change?

Troy Boutte, PhD: In general, the new bakery shortenings are not quite as functional as the trans-containing shortenings. Trans fats were certainly not healthy for us, but they were very functional. While the bakers have not necessarily made a lot of changes to the emulsifiers they use, some shortening companies have switched to using distilled monoglycerides in emulsified bakery shortenings.

Distilled monoglycerides contain a minimum of 90% monoglyceride and less than 10% diglyceride. Previously, most emulsified shortenings were formulated with mono- and diglycerides, which typically contain 50% monoglyceride, 40% diglyceride and 10% triglyceride. The switch to distilled monoglyceride not only eliminates the trans fats, but distilled monoglyceride has a higher melting point than the mono- and diglycerides and, therefore, helps to stiffen the trans-free shortenings and actually promotes crystallization. In addition, the diglyceride portion of the mono- and diglyceride actually acts as a crystallization inhibitor which is undesirable. That further complicates processing of the trans-free shortenings, especially those based on palm, which are inherently difficult to process.

DuPont Nutrition & Health produces a product called Crystallizer 100 that was specially formulated for trans-free shortenings. Crystallizer 100 increases the solid fat index and promotes nucleation and crystal growth.

As bakers work with the new-generation oils, should they also be looking at altering the amount or type of emulsifiers they use? Why? If they make changes, what do you recommend?

There are some circumstances where a change to the emulsifier may be warranted. For instance, switching to a trans-free shortening in cakes may result in undesirable textural or volume changes. Increasing the level or type of emulsification in that system will help to regain some of the attributes that were lost. Another example might be in Danish, biscuits or pastries where the generally softer trans-free shortenings often result in denser products.

 

The trans-free shortenings undergo more “work softening,” which simply means the crystal structure starts to break down and release the oil that was trapped in the crystal. This in turn creates the denser texture. It may be possible to address that by working with the shortening manufacturer as previously described. But another approach would be to add a strengthening emulsifier such as Panodan Datem to the dough component, which will help to regain some volume and textural qualities.

What is the most recent addition to your company’s line of emulsifiers for bakery use? Why was it developed, and what are its applications?

Karen Allen Seabolt: Dupont Nutrition & Health recently introduced SOLEC SF-D, deoiled sunflower lecithin for use in bakery applications. (It should be noted that sunflower lecithin is not approved for food use in Japan.) SOLEC SF-D sunflower lecithin can be used in conjunction with other dough improvers for added benefits in yeast-raised and chemically leavened baked goods to improve machinability, tenderness and crumb structure. Its hydrophilic nature helps maintain the moisture distribution in the crumb throughout the shelf life. It was developed as an alternative to soy lecithin when there is an opportunity from an allergen labeling perspective or a need to avoid genetically modified organisms. The dry powder form makes it very easy to handle and add to bakery mixes.

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