As with all ingredients, when formulating with an emulsifier, bakers must identify what they need it to accomplish. The function — whether it’s softening, strengthening, anti-sticking or shelf life — will determine the starting point with formulation.

“If additional shelf life, improved tenderness or mouth ‘getaway’ is desired, a dough strengthener may not be necessary,” said Steven Mallory, senior application specialist, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences. “Variations of emulsifiers are very useful to provide other specific effects, such as anti-sticking in tortillas or flatbreads.”

Knowing the goals up front ensures bakers are taking a targeted approach without adding unnecessary ingredients. Because when it comes to emulsifiers, a little goes a long way.

“For many emulsifiers, following the manufacturer’s suggested usage will help greatly in getting the desired result because overdosing can become an issue,” said Ken Skrzypiec, vice president of Eastern sales, Brolite Products.

Tim Cottrell, director of business development, emulsifiers and texturants, Kerry Ingredients, echoed that sentiment, explaining that even small levels of the right emulsifier can improve yields and reduce downtime and rejected product.

“One thing I would consider when formulating is to not over-complicate bread formulations with multiple emulsifiers,” he said. “Yes, DATEM and SSL are more associated with dough strengthening while monoglycerides are what we refer to as crumb softeners, but both classes of emulsifiers have all these secondary dough conditioning effects.”

When matching emulsifier to application, bakers also need to consider the processing environment and other ingredients in the formulation.

“For example, crumb-softening emulsifiers are available in both powders and semi-solid pastes to provide excellent functionality regardless of the process limitations,” said Jim Robertson, director, emulsifier portfolio at Corbion. “Depending on the application and desired functionality, some emulsifiers may perform better under certain circumstances. That’s why we work directly with our customers to identify and implement the most fitting solutions for each application. Working side-by-side with our customers allows us to help them troubleshoot processing issues and deliver an enjoyable eating experience every time, even when environmental conditions may pose challenges.”

Corbion’s emulsifiers come in a wide range of fat and oil sources, formats, packaging and alternatives to accommodate special needs such as sustainable sourcing, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification, kosher, halal, vegan, vegetarian and non-GMO. Even the smallest difference in the emulsifier or the application itself can change eating characteristics, so collaboration is key.

Brolite also offers a range of emulsifiers including conventional, clean label and organic ingredients. The company also works with bakers to custom design a solution that will meet the product’s needs.

This article is an excerpt from the August 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on emulsifiers, click here.