Probiotics — the bacteria that support gut health — can be tricky to use in baked foods and snacks. Joanie Dion, technical representative, R&D, at the Institut Rosell, a division of Lallemand, Montreal, QC, briefs formulators in a Q&A dialog about the bacterial strains involved in probiotic bakery applications and how they are adapted to stand up to the rigors of bakery processing.

Baking & Snack: What ingredients does Lallemand offer that help create such applications in the baked foods and snacks categories?

Joanie Dion: Our patented technology of microencapsulation, Probiocap, is very important to protect the probiotics in food applications like chocolate, granola bars and peanut butter. Barry Callebaut offers a probiotic chocolate, ideal for inclusion in snacks!

How do these ingredients foster better digestive health in humans? Can you share recent research that supports this capability or describes mechanism for this activity?

The strains offers in BC chocolates are supported by clinical studies in stress management. We have also another combination often used in food for digestive health called Lacidofil.

What do formulators need to know about the way these ingredients perform during preparation and processing? Are there limits — regulatory and/or practical — on usage levels in formulations?

We recommend 1 billion colony-forming units (cfu) per serving. Probiotics must added after baking or heat shock. We have one strain which is resistant to baking, Bacillus subtilis R0179, and can be used in bread and most baked products. There are no regulations in US about the level of use.

What do you hear from customers and consumers about the finished products made with these ingredients? How well have they been accepted in the marketplace?

Probiotics products are well recognized by customers and reach a new segment of the market.