Cut the sodium in chemically leavened foods by following a 4-step method outlined by John Brodie, technical service manager-bakery, Innophos, Cranbury, NJ. In this exclusive Q&A, he noted that some applications may need only partial replacement of sodium-based leavening acids to achieve sodium reduction targets.

Baking & Snack: What is the best approach you recommend to bakers do to cut the sodium content of the foods they offer consumers? Why?

John Brodie: I recommend a 4-step approach:

  1. Determine the amount of sodium reduction desired for each product and whether this will be a gradual reduction over two to four years or all at once.
  2. Identify the sources of sodium. In chemically leavening products, the majority of sodium comes from salt, sodium bicarbonate and leavening acids.
  3. Investigate alternative ingredients, their functionality, price and possible changes to your products characteristics. This would be a good time to discuss your needs with technical service representatives who are knowledgeable in sodium reduction.
  4. Once you choose possible replacements (I would suggest you look at least two products), run benchtop evaluations then move to plant trials. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing multiple plant trials so the product is run with various production conditions.

This 4-step approach will allow you to methodically choose an ingredient(s) that will save you reformulation time, minimize effects on your product and be cost effective.

What changes in bakery formulation will this change require? What advice do you give your customers who are considering such alterations?

If you follow the steps outlined above, there should be no surprises. You will have discussed possible changes or effects with your technical service representative. In many formulations, you will only need to replace sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) 1:1 with a sodium-free leavening acid such as Innophos Cal-Rise. In some formulations, you may need to make sure the correct neutralizing value is being used. When switching from sodium bicarbonate to potassium bicarbonate, you need to check your final product pH because potassium bicarbonate tends to increase pH. With salt replacers, there is a need to mask off-flavors or adjust other flavor components.

Can you point to successful sodium reduction projects?

There are many baking and bakery mix companies using our sodium free Cal-Rise leavening in a wide range of products from tortillas, cookie mixes, muffins to pizza, and the list is continually growing.

Typically I will discuss with customers how much sodium reduction is needed (this allows me to recommend the proper leavening), processing conditions and what effects, if any, they may see in the finished product. In most formulas, no change is seen. In other products (such as flour and whole grain tortillas), we can improve your product. There are always a few formulas that are sensitive to ingredient changes. In this case, if I can be present during trials, it is much easier to solve.

A few of our successful sodium reduction projects included pancake mixes, tortilla products, sodium-free and reduced-sodium baking powders.

What products does your company offer to help bakers reduce the amount of sodium in their bread and rolls?

Innophos has a range of leavening acids to offer. Cal-Rise is a unique patented sodium-free calcium-based leavening that is a 1:1 replacement for SAPP 28. Cal-Rise is excellent as a general use leavening as well. Dough-Rise is a blend of Cal-Rise and Levair with only 1.1% sodium, while our Actif-8 leavenings are blends of MCP and SALP. Depending on the type of product, Innophos has the leavening to fit your needs.