Guar gum has long been used in baked foods because of its superior moisture-management properties, but demand from other industries, notably the oil drilling field, now limit its availability for food uses.

Several ingredient suppliers offer alternatives to guar. Maureen Akins, technology manager, TIC Gums, Inc., White Marsh, MD, described a blend of hydrocolloids to mimic guar in baked foods. “The blend contains some guar, but it also has other gums with the properties of guar,” she explained. “These other gums are in more abundant supply and not subject to the same demand or price variations. Further, a combination of gums often results in a synergistic compound with more desirable qualities.”

Flaxseed provides another alternative to guar because it contains a gum matrix known as gum mucilage. According to Marilyn Stieve, business development manager-flax, Glanbia Nutritionals, Fitchburg, WI, the company developed a proprietary process that yields a functional flaxseed ingredient with strong water-binding capabilities.

The new flaxseed ingredient is particularly useful for ensuring desirable texture in gluten-free baked foods. “These foods are often made with flours that dry out the product, as well as conventional bakery items,” Ms. Stieve said. “The ingredient is able to bind both fat and water for improved texture and crumb structure, increased volume and extended shelf life. Nutritionally, it’s high in both fiber and protein at 32 and 34%, respectively.”