Choosing the right protein is important to resolving any absorption issues in an added-protein baked good. But the most common fixes for these issues aren’t necessarily tied to formulating. Bakers can find solutions in their process.

“The most effective correction is adjusting the amount of water you’re using and adjusting your mix time and profile,” said Jeff Hodges, bakery scientist, ADM.

This approach can be mixing to energy rather than time or tiered water addition — adding water to the mixing bowl in stages rather than all at once, which Mr. Hodges warned can create a runny mess. Staggering water addition, necessary for yeast-raised and delicate applications, can help get more water into the system and ensure there is enough for every ingredient that demands it.

“Tiered allows you to add more to the system overall,” he said. “It changes your cell structure which allows you to ensure good texture.”

Again, though, it’s important to know the proteins being added and their individual hydration needs in order to optimize this process.

“Understanding this component up front will help formulators better understand absorption requirements as various ingredients are included,” said Brook Carson, vice president, Manildra Group USA.

It is also possible to overcorrect here and add too much water. Bakers need to pay close attention to the ratio of water to solids, said Tim Christensen, certified master baker, Cargill.

“Add too much water to a formula, and there may not be enough solids to get the appropriate volume,” he explained. “Water won’t contribute to volume in products that are leavened with yeast or chemically.”

Adding water to the formulation can affect what happens at the oven, too.

“When absorption is relatively high, bake times and temperatures may need to be adjusted to ensure the finished product is properly baked and avoid textural issues as well as rapid staling or issues with maintaining a mold-free shelf life,” said Mike Wolt, senior R&D adviser, Ardent Mills.

With the right approach in the mixing bowl, a clear eye toward the end goal and the best protein or protein blend for those goals, formulators can achieve the protein content while mitigating any absorption issues.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on protein, click here.