Dietary fiber can stand in for eggs to help bakers meet the challenge of scarce, high-priced egg ingredients. Looking beyond the current need, prompted by avian influenza in the US, Amanda Wagner, food technologist, Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI, suggests in this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A such additional applications as gluten-free baked foods.

Baking & Snack: What has been the experience of bakers using egg replacers/extenders from Fiberstar?

Amanda Wagner: The Citri?Fi product line offered by Fiberstar provides a portfolio of citrus fiber?based products to assist bakers in partial egg replacement goals. Citri?Fi can help replace eggs in various baked good applications such as muffins, cakes, loaf breads and cookies without compromising the organoleptic attributes produced by full?egg baked good applications.

Typical replacement levels are around 30% and are dependent on the application, total usage level, and Citri?Fi product type. In addition to significant cost savings, Citri?Fi provides moisture retention, structure, natural emulsification stabilization and quality through?out shelf?life. Citri?Fi products also work synergistically with other egg replacers such as starches, gums and proteins to optimize product quality.

Since gluten?free product developers tend to shy away from other allergens, Citri?Fi is also used as a partial egg replacer since it is gluten?free, non?GMO and natural/clean label.

What changes in formulation are required to accomplish this?

Citri?F is most often used as a drop?in with additional water to replace the amount of eggs removed from the reference formulation. The only deviation from your procedure includes pre?mixing Citri?Fi with other dry ingredients in your formula, such as flour and/or sugar.

Do you think the adoption of egg replacers will be a permanent change in bakery formulations?

Effective egg replacers have the potential to be a permanent change in bakery formulations. As we are in the midst of higher than normal egg prices caused by the avian Influenza and subsequent egg shortages, egg replacers will help maintain costs for long?term budgeting and reduce price fluctuations caused by the egg market. In addition, relying on egg replacers will also reduce the risk of unavailability due to supply shortages. At the least, customers should assess their supply risks not only with eggs but other commodity products in their procurement portfolio and craft a contingency plan that involves using replacement systems, in this case egg replacement. This strategy will minimize impact during unexpected market swings and better position manufacturers when supplying the market.

Editor’s notes: For a slideshow of egg replacer ingredients, click here. The July 2015 issue of Baking & Snack carries full coverage of the egg situation and egg replacer ingredients.