Using the Functional Properties of Starch to Enhance Bakery Products

In this article, we will discuss bakery systems typical for baked food products recognized by the consumer today. Those previously mentioned as “half-products” were unique to that discussion and will not be included in this section. Products will be considered totally processed utilizing a bakery operation.

In most bakery products the primary starch source is from wheat flour. However, to develop and retain unique functional properties in today’s baked foods, the food scientist will most likely incorporate modified starches and/or gums to enhance consumer appeal or improve shelf-life. The balance of moisture in differing systems has become a very difficult formulation task for the food scientist.

Water activity (Aw) and the knowledge of ingredient interaction has become a challenge for today’s food scientist. This becomes more significant as the product undergoes mixing, handling, baking, storage, and possible reconstitution. Now not only do the ingredients have to interact correctly, but packaging must also complement the final product to retain quality through handling and storage.

Those baked products that are formulated as dough could require special handling when incorporating added starches or stabilizers. These dough products could be refrigerated or frozen. Some may consider them as half-products; however, for this writing, I am referring to them as a finished mix in a transition phase.

Moisture hydration by all hydrophilic ingredients must be considered, primarily due to the dough mixing, sheeting, handling, etc. It is not just the total hydration capacity of the added starch, but the rate of hydration by all ingredients that could be significant.

Another important factor could be the rate at which the starch loses moisture and what physical properties are generated after processing. Wheat starch should be of significant consideration, both as a native source and/or modified product. It derives from origin grain and therefore offers unique synergy with flour. Tapioca (cassava) and waxy maize starches have also performed very well in many baked foods.

Dependent upon how the baked item is to be handled, cook-up starches can be beneficially utilized; however, if boil-out or blow-out becomes a problem either higher soluble solids are necessary or the utilization of cook-up and/or instant starches. Gums (another hydrocolloid) may also contribute to the control of viscosity, thus reducing the chance of boil-out; however, texture could become an issue if levels of use are too great.

Similar concerns can be said about excess amounts of starch within the same products.

As with any food system, always consider the other ingredients when selecting a starch. The lipid and sweetener matrix can become very critical as it is related to total functionality produced by the added starch.

As discussed earlier in the section on “ingredients,” the type of lipid, when added and what it is added with, can significantly contribute to the hydration and functionality of the starch. The same can be said regarding the sweetener system. It is important to balance the sweetener and flour for certain baked goods.

The choice of sweetener is critical. The effect that sucrose has on starch and flour is significantly different from that of sweeteners derived from other sources. Will this cause a problem with your starch of choice? It could. It may be necessary to evaluate more than one sweetener for lipid and starch chosen for the baked system.

Sucrose used as the primary sweetener in baked/frozen or frozen/baked product could cause crystal growth and shorten the desired shelf-life of the finished product. For frozen baked items such as fruit systems, sucrose should be kept at about 10% of the sweetener system and the total solids utilized for the fillings should be between 45% and 60%. The added starch can range from 3% to 4.5% dependent upon the desired texture.

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