Advanced fermentation technologies enable development of natural, clean-label dairy-derived flavors — everything from butter to cheese to cream — that deliver their characterizing flavors to baked goods. Made from the actual dairy product and typically in paste or powder format, these ingredients can contribute function (beyond flavor) as well as nutrition.

“We not only can pinpoint the fermentation reactions responsible for producing flavor-specific compounds and their precursors but also direct the fermentations to produce elevated levels of desired products,” said Pam Gribou, director, R&D and applications, First Choice Ingredients, Germantown, WI. “As consumers continue to look for healthier foods that taste better, fermentation of dairy ingredients is one way we will be able to satisfy this quest.” She cited the example of lower-fat foods that often require assistance in delivering rich flavor. Ingredients derived from structured dairy fermentations will meet this need without contributing “chemical sounding” names to ingredient statements.

“The flavor produced in dairy ingredients via fermentation provides a much more authentic profile as opposed to replicating the major desired flavor components through the addition of purified aroma chemicals,” she continued. “Fermentation not only enhances specific flavor characteristic, but at the same time, there will be side activities of the fermentation happening, which also improve the overall end flavor.” This includes emulsification properties, as well as the ability to improve texture and mouthfeel.

The popularity of Greek yogurt led Glanbia Nutritionals Inc., Fitchburg, WI, to market a grade A Greek yogurt powder that conveys the unique flavor — and a “made with Greek yogurt” claim — to all types of products, including protein bars and even coated cookies. Produced from cultured skim milk and MPC, the ingredient helps build viscosity while delivering the sour taste one expects with Greek yogurt, as well as some of the protein.

Indeed, there’s a great deal of interest in using dairy to boost the protein content of baked goods, especially in the snacking arena.

At SupplySide West in October, Davisco showcased a premium trail mix protein bar containing hydrolyzed whey protein that is lactose-, fat- and gluten-free. Hydrolysis is a natural process that improves protein’s bioavailability and bioactivity.

Idaho Milk sampled savory snack crackers that deliver 9 g protein in every serving. “You also get great flavor,” said Jessica Henry, marketing manager, Idaho Milk Products, Jerome, ID. “By using MPP as the primary flavor carrier in the seasoning, you can reduce sodium levels as well.”

Arla Foods Ingredients, Basking Ridge, NJ, developed a high-protein snack cake containing up to 10% whey protein and 200 mg calcium in a 21-g, 100-Cal serving. Showcased at iba in Munich this past September by Arla’s head office at Viby J, Denmark, the cake formula is completely egg-free, helping bakers control costs and overcome supply chain difficulties sometimes associated with eggs. It also results in a formula lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than other cakes. From a technical perspective, the snack cake is straightforward to manufacture and scores highly on moistness, structure, stability and shelf life, according to the company.

K.J. Burrington, dairy ingredient applications coordinator, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, Madison, WI, summed up the future of dairy ingredients in baked goods. “There isn’t a baked good that can’t benefit from the function or nutrition of dairy ingredients,” she said. “Traditionally, dairy ingredients have provided great flavor, appealing texture and structure, and attractive color. We now know they offer additional advantages, including nutritional benefits, new functionalities and increased versatility.”

The more dairy scientists and processors learn about the complexity of the ingredients derived from the simple food called milk, the more opportunities bakers can reap to better respond to ever-changing consumer demands.