Recent developments have bakers experimenting with omega-3 fatty acids made from fish oils, in their bread and baked foods as a way of improving health appeal.

First, the Food and Drug Administration last year approved this qualified health claim: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

Second, new microencapsulation technology can keep ingredients made from fish oil from smelling or tasting like fish when they are used in bread.

Valeria A. Gorsuch, food applications scientist for Omega Protein, Houston, TX, gave tips on omega-3 applications when speaking at the American Society of Baking’s annual technical conference in Chicago.
• Refrigeration is acceptable for short-term storage. For longer periods of time, the fish oil must be frozen.
• Frozen fish oil should be thawed gradually in a cooler before it is used.
• Once the oil has been tempered and opened, it must be used immediately.
• It is best to avoid excessive exposure to the four biggest enemies of any polyunsaturated fatty acid: heat, light, air and metals.
• It is best to bake products at 350°F (177°C) for no longer than 20 minutes. If the oil can be incorporated into a melted solid fat, the product can be baked at 375°F (191°C) for up to 40 minutes.
• Food-grade fish oil needs to be added as close to the end of the ingredient stream as possible.