Every baker knows that without nutritive sweeteners, yeast would perform poorly, crusts would brown anemically, bread would stale quickly, cookies would go limp, and cakes would lack all taste appeal whatsoever.
Sweeteners earn their rightful place in baked foods not only for their sweet flavor, but also for their ability to bulk, structure, brown, aerate, fuel and maintain the product’s moisture, shelf life and appeal. Through specification of nutritive sweeteners, the formulator can deal a winning or losing hand for the finished product. Today, product developers can pick among many sweeteners.
The term “nutritive sweetener” applies to sugars and carbohydrate syrups carrying 4 Cal per g and contributing a significant portion of a food’s energy value. Usage levels range from 2% in breads and 30% in cakes to 70% in icings (all percentages are on a formula weight basis). In contrast, high-intensity natural and artificial sweeteners weigh in at very low calorie counts and minuscule usage levels.
Ingredient suppliers listed below offer many types of nutritive sweeteners. These represent a sample of what’s available. “Regarding Sugar” (see Baking & Snack of June 2012, Page 51) provides a detailed examination of the role of nutritive sweeteners in baked foods and trends affecting their use.
Dry honey, molasses in powder, flake forms
Sweet ’N’ Neat dry honey and dry molasses from ADM Specialty Food Ingredients simplify the handling of normally thick, sticky ingredients. Companion products include Honi-Bake dry honey powder and Dri-Mol dried molasses, also in powder and flake forms. These free-flowing sweeteners are made by drying high-quality honey or molasses on a wheat starch carrier, which makes the powders less hygroscopic and more resistant to caking during storage. These dry sweeteners can be successfully used in breads, cookies, cakes, snacks and health foods.
Gluten-free white sorghum syrup
Substituted for malt extract, BriesSweet White Sorghum Syrup from Briess Malt and Ingredients provides sweet flavor and improved humectancy to gluten-free foods including cereals, crackers, baked foods and snacks. The syrup is made from the starchy heads of the grain, not the cane, of the sorghum plant and contains the same reducing sugars and amino acids as malt extract to promote browning. The natural sweetener contains high levels of maltose and offers moderate, long-lasting sweetness and medium viscosity.
Range of corn syrups, dextrose
Ranging in sweetness from mild flavor to high impact, Cargill’s corn sweeteners comprise syrups, liquid and dry dextrose, and high-fructose and high-maltose corn syrups. For example, the ClearSweet group offers moderate to high sweetness and includes a 95% refined liquid dextrose syrup that supplies fermentation needs for baked foods. The company’s IsoClear high-fructose corn syrup delivers sweetness and color performance that matches sugar. The low dextrose content of ClearDex corn syrup provides only minimal sweetness, suiting it to coating applications. The company maintains a blog, “On the Sweet Side,” about nutritive sweeteners on its website.
Organic tapioca syrups
TapiOK tapioca syrups from Ciranda Organic Ingredients are clean, neutral-flavored organic syrups suitable for many food applications. At higher DE, they provide sweetness and humectancy to baked foods, and at lower DE, they contribute complex carbohydrates. In nutritional bars, low-to-mid-range DE syrups offer unique coating abilities and binding characteristics. This line of sweetening ingredients includes dry dextrose, maltodextrins and syrup solids. The company offers a newsletter about formulating through its website.
Powdered dextrose, liquid sweeteners
Cerelose Dextrose, a fine granular dextrose monohydrate from Corn Products, fits the formulating needs of frostings, icings and powdered donut toppings because it imparts a smooth mouthfeel and mild cooling effect. An anhydrous form works well in water-sensitive systems such as chocolate. The company’s line of sweeteners includes Globe maltodextrins and corn syrup solids, which improve crust browning, and Invertose high-fructose corn syrup, which aids fermentation. It also comprises Globe, Casco and Enzose corn syrups with various DE ratings, which provide body, crystallization control and humectancy.
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Tailored malt syrups
Bagel Best and Pizza Perfect malts from Malt Products are specially formulated blends of malt that enhance sweetness, color, browning, body and texture of baked foods. Available in liquid and dry forms, the malts range in in color from light to dark brown. Diastatic styles contain active natural barley enzymes, while the enzymes in nondiastatic types have been deactivated. The company’s website provides formulations and instructions for using malt to make hearth breads.
Honey popular with consumers
When the National Honey Board surveyed consumers, honey rated the highest of all choices in perception as a natural sweetener. The poll queried participants about granulated sugar, molasses, cane juice and other sweeteners. The board’s website provides “honey technical information,” which covers nutrition and market research. Starting formulations for many foods are available as are technical guides describing honey’s functions in frozen doughs and ethnic flatbreads.
Dry, liquid sweeteners
Tate & Lyle offers many types of nutritive sweeteners, including Krystar crystalline fructose that has a synergistic effect when used in combination with sucrose. The company produces corn syrups, maltodextrins, dextrose and corn syrup solids. Brands offered for international markets include Glucamyl glucose syrups, Isosugar glucose-fructose syrups, Maltosweet maltodextrins and dried glucose syrups, Merisweet crystalline dextrose monohydrate, and Fructopure fructose in liquid and dry forms.