There are some best practices when formulating all animal byproducts right out of a bakery product. Slow and steady is the guiding principle.

“It is best to start with small batches and a strong balanced formula,” said Ken Skrzypiec, vice president of Eastern sales, Brolite Products. “Using a one-size-fits-all formula may make it difficult to match with vegan ingredients. Do not make too many changes at once, so you really know what is happening in the product.”

One of the most common mistakes formulators make is thinking they can replace a functional animal-based ingredient with another single ingredient. In most applications, one-for-one replacement is not possible.

There are exceptions to the rule. For recipes that use honey, Sarah Hite, food scientist at Dawn Foods, suggests maple syrup.

“Gelatin helps to set baked goods, especially those that contain jam or jelly,” Ms. Hite said. “A popular plant-based substitution is agar-agar, which is derived from seaweed and is often used in vegan jams. Pectin would be another alternative, but bakers need to ensure the correct dosage is used.”

Dextrins, as well as certain starches, may be used to replace egg washes, according to Kirsten Benneter, senior technologist, Ingredion. They have adhesion properties, contribute shine and will brown, enhancing the appearance of baked goods.

“Vegetable purees are fabulous fat replacers and viscosity builders,” Ms. Benneter said. “Organic red beet puree, for example, can replace 20% of sugar and 30% of fat in a vegan chocolate donut. Non-GMO super sweet corn puree has been used in a corn rosemary lemon pound cake for moisture retention. It also leverages the natural sweetness and fresh summer flavor of super sweet corn.” 

Chickpea broth may be used to replace the foaming and emulsification properties of egg whites, according to Ms. Benneter. It works well in applications such as vegan marshmallows, meringue and vegan creamy sauces.

“Formulary balance is always a common mistake, and this causes poor-looking or poor eating quality in vegan sweet baked goods,” said David Guilfoyle, applications lead for bakery, fats and oils, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences. “A vegan sweet baked good may come out of the oven too dense or have too moist of crumb. The first thing to look at is the batter specific gravity. If it is too high or too low, and the formulator is using gums, the formulator may need to switch the type of gums to get the proper batter viscosity. 

With cakes, he also suggested using baking acids to provide leavening lift and aeration. If they aren’t properly neutralized, however, the finished product volume and texture can be adversely affected.

Lariza Lopez de Leon, senior product technologist, Caldic Inc., noted that a combination of ingredients may be necessary to get the functionality. For instance, texture and creaminess from dairy fat might require a blend of a vegetable fat, a starch and a flavor to deliver the target attributes.

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