Nothing looks quite as good as rolls, bread loaves and bagels sporting bright shiny crusts. They simply glow. Bakers know the secret of such eye appeal to be a brush or spray of egg wash. Increasingly, however, that uncomplicated wash now comes with complex logistics. The ups and downs of the volatile egg market have sent many formulators looking for alternatives.

On the functional side of the equation, eggs control moisture and enhance texture and volume. Although a natural ingredient, eggs cannot be used in vegan foods because of dietary restrictions. Also, egg proteins are allergens, which pose problems for gluten-free products, according to Bryan Scherer, director of R&D, Penford Food Ingredients, Centennial, CO. “Such products tend to be formulated without other allergens such as wheat, soy, milk and egg proteins. As a consequence, gluten-free bakery products are limited to a few options to replace egg protein,” he said.

Penford Foods developed PenNovo 00 to offer an allergen-free ­option to glazing and egg washing. Additionally, it saves ingredient costs by up to 60%, and it performs well in gluten-free foods. “When replacing egg whites, PenNovo 00 can cost-effectively impart textural attributes such as chewiness in products like gluten-free bagels and provide moisture retention,” Mr. Scherer said. It also replaces rice flour in gluten-free products to enhance volume and improve cell uniformity. The all-vegetable ingredient is highly soluble, non-GMO, kosher-certified and suitable for vegan products.

The company’s proprietary manufacturing technology treats food starches with enzymes plus other specialized processing methods to alter functionality to fit the desired characteristics in finished products. “Enzyme treatment of native potato starch results in unique film-forming properties that closely mimic the glazing effect of protein in egg whites used in egg washes,” Mr. Scherer explained.

To use PenNovo 00 as a wash, the baker mixes it with water in a ratio of 18:82. “Concentrations can be adjusted as required by specific processing conditions,” Mr. Scherer said. The mixture is sprayed or brushed onto the surface of the bakery product before baking, depending on the product.

When put into doughs and batters, PenNovo 00 can increase finished volume up to 25% in certain gluten-free baked products, according to the company. Recommended bakery applications include breads, muffins, bagels, pancakes, waffles, cookies and cakes.

Penford Food Ingredients plans more launches of starch-based ingredients made via the new technology. “This unique process can be applied to multiple botanical starch sources such as corn, tapioca and rice, which will open up opportunities for new bakery and snack technologies that could provide cost, functionality and health benefits,” Mr. Scherer said.

For details about PenNovo 00 from Penford Food Ingredients, go