By replacing expensive guar gum with a flaxseed derivative, formulators can save costs while adding the health-and-wellness benefits of flax’s natural ALA omega-3 content. In an exclusive Q&A, Marilyn Stieve, business development manager, ingredient technologies, Glanbia Nutritionals, Madison, WI, describes the new flax-based ingredient and how to use it effectively in many types of baked foods.

Baking & Snack: How are your gums and hydrocolloids typically used in bakery formulations? Are there any out-of-the-ordinary applications that bakers should consider?

Marilyn Stieve: OptiSol 5000 [produced by Glanbia Nutritionals] is typically used in baking formulations as a gum replacer to help with moisture management, extend shelf life and to give dough more workability and extensibility. The unique aspect of OptiSol 5000 is that not only does it have these functional properties, it can also be considered a health-and-wellness ingredient. Because OptiSol 5000 is made from flaxseed, it is naturally high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and can allow nutrient content claims. It only takes around 0.65 g OptiSol 5000 per serving to make a “good source of ALA-omega 3 from flaxseed” label claim.

What should a formulator know about these materials and their usage levels? Are there limits to their use? How must they be labeled in the ingredient listing on packages?

Typically OptiSol 5000 is used at levels between 0.5 and 2%, depending on the application. There are no limits to its use, and in some cases, if manufacturers are trying to achieve certain nutritional claims, for example omega-3, they may choose to use it at higher levels. The ingredient is labeled as milled flaxseed.

Looking specifically at guar, presently in very tight supply, what do you advise bakers seeking an alternative to this gum?

I advise them to consider ingredient options that might not be known as “standard” hydrocolloids. Examples of such ingredients include flaxseed or other natural ingredients that have similar hydrocolloid properties but are still label friendly. Furthermore, these types of ingredients may also lend themselves to cost saving initiatives.

What gums and hydrocolloid ingredients does Glanbia Nutritionals offer for bakery and snack applications?

Glanbia offers OptiSol 5000, a flaxseed-based ingredient system with strong hydrocolloid properties. It can be used in a wide variety of baking and snack applications, including tortillas, pizza dough, fresh breads, baked bars, gluten-free baked goods, cookies and muffins.