New Directions in Healthy Baking

Any way you bake it, filling consumer demand for healthy baked goods takes the cake.

By David Feder, RD, Technical Editor

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“Seeing is believing” for consumers, so multiple, whole grains are best displayed prominently in baked goods. Some of these seeds are “ancient grains.”

“Whole grain products, buoyed by science-based health and wellness benefits, are set to transition the way Americans consume grains,” says Veal. “In retail, we see a steady, positive shift in whole grain product market share in categories once dominated by refined flour products. For example, in the tortilla category the whole-grain tortilla dollar share increased from 2 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2008.” Veal points to similar increases for crackers, pasta, flour, fresh bread and rolls and other categories.

“When it comes to whole- and multi-grain baked goods, ‘seeing is believing’ to the consumer,” says Bernadette Wasdovitch, marketing manager for Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. (, Chilton, Wis. “This puts a burden on manufacturers to maintain particle identity of grain inclusions, because raw grains are intensive to process.”

To help solve such challenges, Briess developed Insta Grains, a line of all-natural, reduced cook-time grain ingredients that cook in about 10 minutes and can be incorporated directly into dough. Naturally processed from wheat, malted wheat, brown rice, pearled barley, oats and other grains, the product is available in a variety of particle sizes including cracked, grits and flakes. The company also is a leader in natural sweeteners from grains such as rice, barley and sorghum specifically suited for baked items.
Resistant starch finally is moving toward the top of the list of ingredients slated to have serious impact on the growth of healthy baked goods. After simmering on the bakery back burner for several years, the unique form of functional fiber benefited recently from new research and technology that could set it on the fast track to the mainstream.

“The discovery of natural RS2 resistant starch’s fermentation factor showed this type of starch derives its satiety and weight-management benefits from more than just its fiber bulking and glycemic effects,” says Rhonda Witwer, senior business development manager for nutrition at National Starch Food Innovation (, Bridgewater, N.J.

“The fermentation in the digestive system sets off a cascade of reactions that positively impact insulin sensitivity, other hunger hormone levels as well as fat metabolism and storage mechanisms,” she explains.

On the technical side, resistant starch is easily incorporated into baked products to provide high levels of insoluble fiber effect without increasing density or diminishing crumb. It also has virtually no impact on taste. Satiety also is longer lasting and at higher levels.

National Starch provides its Hi-Maize RS2 resistant starch for a wide variety of healthy baking applications. “Different types of fiber and resistant starch have different fermentation profiles, so other ingredients may not have the same health effects,” Witwer adds.

Beyond grains

The tendency in thinking about baking is to focus on grain ingredients, but there’s more to the mix. “When developing ingredients for healthier baked goods, manufacturers must keep in mind a number of requirements,” says Sarah Staley, vice president of business development for Friesland Foods Domo USA Inc. (, Chicago.

“These include health benefits required, potential calorie reduction, fat and sugar replacement, fortification, interaction with other ingredients, processing requirements, proof times, baked good volume and bulk density, as well as bake times, final color, texture and flavor,” she continues.
Domo launched a portfolio of ingredients suited to healthy baked goods. Examples include the dairy-derived Vivinal GOS prebiotic line and Hiprotal 60MP whey protein.

“Historically, we’ve seen fortification primarily using iron, niacin and perhaps a few other vitamins,” says Emilio Gutierrez, vice president of technical services for BI Nutraceuticals Inc. (, Long Beach, Calif. “Today we see products fortified with a multitude of healthy ingredients.” He says that multitude includes a much longer list of vitamins and minerals, along with such healthy ingredients as antioxidants and bulk fibers. The result is “favorable product claims for less/no calories, low fat, low carbs, lower cholesterol, etc,” he says.

BI Nutraceuticals offers a multitude of vitamins and minerals, fruits and other botanical powders and herbals. The company also offers these as ready-to-use premixes, allowing the user to include a multitude of claims from a single blended ingredient. “The best part is these are ingredients that the majority of consumers know and trust,” Gutierrez adds.

Even leavening provides an opportunity for innovation in healthy baking. “When a calcium-based leavening acid such as calcium acid pyrophosphate [CAPP] is used to substitute for sodium-based leavening acids, it can provide sodium reductions up to 26 percent,” says ICL’s Heidolph. “Depending on the formulation and leavening acid that is being replaced, CAPP can be used in a variety of better-for-you baked goods such as cakes, biscuits, muffins and other baked goods.”

ICL makes Levona Brio and Levona Opus CAPP leavening acids. They can replace sodium-based leavening agents, such as sodium acid pyrophosphate or sodium aluminum phosphate. Another benefit is the addition of calcium; in some applications, they contribute enough to allow a calcium claim on the label.

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