Answers to the egg crisis, Part 3

by Laurie Gorton
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Bakers wanting to replace some or all eggs in their formulations can use a three tier approach. In this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, Phil Blanchard, manager, bakery division, and Terese O’Neill, director of sales, ingredients, Agropur Ingredients, La Crosse, WI, describe how to approach these changes.

Baking & Snack: What has been the experience of bakers using egg replacers/extenders from Agropur?

Phil Blanchard: Manufacturers in this sector face a relatively immediate dilemma as a chief component of their formulations has become a threat to their bottom line. While inclusion rates of alternatives can and will vary, we feel confident that our solutions have the ability to hit percentages of 25 to 50% in egg white replacement and 25 to 100% p in whole egg replacements. Our goal is to help companies overcome this hurdle and identify a solution that helps prevent future reformulations as egg prices are predicted to continue to increase.

Using a three-tiered analysis of egg usage levels, Agropur’s technical team has developed egg alternatives under the BakiGen Bakery Ingredients line. The solutions address industrial egg usage at three levels: Level No. 1 being cookie-type applications, Level No. 2 muffin-type applications and Level No. 3 high-rise cake-type applications.

Our newest offering is a blend of whey protein concentrate (WPC) and functional cellulose, BakiGen 1060.

What changes in formulation are required to accomplish this?

Terese O’Neill: We have seen that eggs in bakery products can block the perception of sweetness. Meaning that when eggs are removed from a product, the perception of sweetness can increase if the sugar level is unchanged. Therefore we often recommend a reduction of sugar to compensate for the increase in sweetness perception. The exact level of reduction will vary for each application and preference, but generally sugar can be reduced by a rate of 0.2 to 0.4% of the liquid egg in the formulation. The WPC in the replacement blend does an excellent job of browning to account for the missing sugar.

Again, every application is unique, but generally the egg replacement blend will replace the solids of eggs. Meaning that for dried egg products, the blend can be used as a direct replacement for functionality. Liquid eggs require a calculation of solids and an addition of water. Sources vary on the water content of eggs. We settled in on every 1% of liquid eggs replaced with 0.25 to 0.35% of the replacement blend. The remainder of the liquid egg in the standard formula is balance with water.

Egg white replacement is something entirely different. This affects use of egg whites in fine-textured cakes, especially angel food, and meringues. The technical experts note that if you work very hard, you can achieve partial replacement of whites in angel cake, but not 100%.

Do you think the adoption of egg replacers will be a permanent change in bakery formulations?

Mr. Blanchard: Just yesterday I saw an article citing United Egg Producers as claiming a one to two year time period for the egg industry to fully recover. Although there are many factors to consider when completely removing egg on a permanent basis, we are advising our customers to consider long-term risk management. This is the second time in two years that the egg market has seen dramatic swing — using alternative blends allows customers to reduce encounters with such market volatility.

Editor’s notes: For a slideshow of egg replacer ingredients, click here. The July 2015 issue of Baking & Snack carries full coverage of the egg situation and egg replacer ingredients.

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