Consider calcium-based leavening ingredients when you seek lower-sodium formulations. In this this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, John Brodie, commercial development manager, Innophos Inc., Cranbury, NJ, describes factors involved in adjusting the leavening system of baked foods.

Baking & Snack: How have the chemical leavening agents you supply for bakery use changed during the past few years?

John Brodie: Typically bakery products have been formulated with sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) or sodium aluminum phosphate (SALP) in combination with monocalcium phosphate (MCP) and possibly dicalcium phosphate (DCPD). SAPP is the most widely used leavening acid on a global basis.

Over the past few years, government health agencies have recommended reduction of sodium in the diet. The baking industry has responded by examining ways to reduce sodium without compromising quality attributes that impact consumer perception of their products. When looking at bakery formulas, upwards of 99% of sodium comes from three components: salt, sodium bicarbonate and the leavening acid. SAPP is the primary leavening acid that contributes sodium at approx. 21,000 mg sodium per 100 g. Sodium bicarbonate has approx. 27,000 mg sodium per 100 g and salt is approx. 39,000 mg sodium per 100 g.

The demand for reduced-sodium or sodium-free leavening acids has increased significantly. Innophos has responded by introducing Cal-Rise (calcium acid pyrophosphate / mono calcium phosphate) leavening acid. Cal-Rise is a 1:1 replacement for SAPP 28 having the same neutralizing value of 72 and similar profile of release. By replacing SAPP 28, sodium can be reduced as much as about 35% without sacrificing flavor or quality of the baked product.

SALP is another leavening that is low in sodium (Levair, with approx. 2,100 mg sodium per 100 g). Another option is a blend of SALP and MCP such as Innophos Actif-8 (1,350 mg sodium per 100 g). Leavening options to reduce sodium are available today and are more economical than other strategies for sodium reduction such as salt replacers and potassium bicarbonate.

When do low-sodium approaches make sense, and when is it better to opt for the tried-and-true conventional products?

Leavening choice is influenced by the type of product being formulated (cakes, muffins, biscuits, pancakes), the format (fresh baked, frozen, dry mix) and the end user or baker (wholesale bakery, food service, consumer). Existing formulas generally contain SAPP or SALP. Products can be formulated with these traditional leavening systems, or if sodium reduction is desired, the wide range of calcium-based leavenings and blends can be selected.

Existing formulas can be switched to calcium-based leavening systems with no noticeable change in characteristics when formulating for sodium reduction. Food technologists are learning that sodium-free or reduced-sodium leavening can be used as direct replacements for sodium-based leavenings and that they are not just for reduced sodium baked goods.

Beyond sodium reduction, the calcium salts like Cal-Rise provide other functional performance advantages such as improved cake crumb, clean flavor profile, increased dough development and improved product resiliency. As product developers work with these new leavening options, they are able to develop target finished goods that meet both consumer expectations and sodium reduction goals.

How do your leavening ingredients add to potassium content, a “nutrient of interest” under new government guidelines?

Currently the only leavening component that is potassium-based is potassium bicarbonate.

When considering sodium reduction, potassium bicarbonate (KBC) can be used as an alternative for partial or total substitution of sodium bicarbonate (SBC).

The adequate intake of potassium as established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine is 4,700 mg per day for males and females over the age of 14. Children between the ages of 9 and 13 need 4,500 mg per day of potassium. The daily intake of pregnant women is also 4,700 mg and breastfeeding mothers need 5,100 mg a day. Children between the ages of 4 to 8 require 3,800 mg of potassium every day. Toddlers between 1 and 3 years old need 3,000 mg daily. Babies between 7 months and 1 year old need 700 mg and babies under 6 months require 400 mg daily, which can be supplied through breast milk or fortified formula.

Typical use level of KBC is 1 to 3% of the formulation, based on solids. KBC contains 39,000 mg potassium per 100 g of KBC. The contribution of potassium at typical formulation levels would be between about 390 mg per 100-g serving to about 1,170 mg per 100-g serving. Generally, a nutrient content claim of “good source” is permitted by US Food and Drug Administration when at least 10% of the Daily Value is present in the food serving. Depending on serving size, typical formulations which use KBC contribute between 390 and 1,170 mg potassium per 100-g serving. This range could meet to that 10% Daily Value (470 mg for males and females over 14) for the “good source” nutrient content claim.

Another nutrient recognized under government guidelines is calcium, which is also available in leavening acids. The calcium-based leavening acids contribute calcium, which is also a “nutrient of interest” per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and 2010. Calcium is critical for strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium is also implicated in cardiovascular health. When substituting the calcium line of leaveners, a claim of “good source” of calcium can often be made as the contribution of calcium will be 100 mg per serving or greater.

What do bakery formulators need to know about putting these ingredients to work today?

As with any leavening agent, it is important to know three characteristics: neutralizing value or “strength”, rate of reaction and nutritional composition.

The neutralizing value (NV) allows the formulator to determine the proper amount of leavening acid salt to use in the formulation to react with the bicarbonate. The rate of reaction allows the formulator to select the best leavening composition to deliver the leavening gas, carbon dioxide, when needed in the process. Based on the nutritional composition the formulator can determine the contribution of positive nutrients and reduction in other nutrient components.

Other considerations include that calcium phosphates may drive a slight increase in the hydration level in some applications, especially for low-moisture formulations. In addition, because of the neutral clean flavor profile, an adjustment of the sweeteners and flavor components may be possible in some applications, generally a reduction.

In addition, calcium phosphates have about 18% calcium allowing potential nutrient content claims such as “good source” or “excellent source,” depending on the finished product’s formulation and serving size. If the formulation already included calcium fortification, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate other sources of calcium. The calcium leavening agents are multi-function ingredients performing both leavening and calcium fortification.

A final consideration is that bakery formulators are welcome to contact the leavening experts at Innophos for formulation guidance and technical support in the development of specific products, particularly for sodium-reduction solutions. Innophos’ test kitchen is an industry leader in providing solutions to branded products’ formulation goals that meet consumer expectations.