Baking Breakfast: What's in the Mix?

Cindy Hazen, Contributing editor

September 21, 2009

12 Min Read
Baking Breakfast: What's in the Mix?

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper, said nutritionist and author, Adelle Davis, in 1970. Bakery mixes, designed for consumers as well as bakeries looking to streamline operations, make breakfast indulgence easy and, with the right choice of ingredients, healthier, too.

Building respect with grains

Adding whole grains or multiple grainsfor a multigrain label indicationto a breakfast item immediately commands attention among health-observant consumers. Yet, achieving consistency can be a challenge in these bakery mixes.

Whole-grain flours contain the moisture-resistant bran and germ portions of the kernel. More water will need to be added to the mix and, as time progresses, the bran will continue to hydrate. Presoaking the grain is a common practice among bakers, but it can be time-consuming for consumers looking for a quick mix.

Ron Zelch, product knowledge and training manager, Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, KS, recommends using a prehydrated grain when possible, which can be added to the dough (not the dry mix). Prehydrated grains have been cooked, fully hydrated and stabilized. Small amounts of added sugar and salts ensure they dont cause a flavor imbalance in the dough. One option offered by the company contains oats, cracked wheat, flaxseed, millet and sunflower seeds. Another contains cracked wheat, whole-grown barley, rye, millet, oats, whole-grain brown rice and whole-grain yellow corn flour. These can be added to any type of bread product, and have been used in bran muffins and cake products.

Pregelatinized flours are an option for complete breakfast mixes, although these are considerably more expensive because of their hydration and drying steps. Chopped or ground grains are another alternative, since they absorb water more readily than whole grains. The finer the flour, the more easily it hydrates. Whole-wheat flour can be ground just as fine as white flour.

Compared to hard red-wheat flour, hard white-wheat has a whiter bran coat, so the bran is less visible. It lends a slightly sweeter flavor to baked products.

To achieve a multigrain product, start with wheat flour to achieve the structure and basis of the product. Adding other whole-grain flours, including oats, barley and rye, yields ingredient interest and variety, as well as a slight flavor contribution. The total ratio of alternate whole grains to basic wheat flour is probably less than 10% of the mix to maintain the baking functionality of the flour, says Michael King, director of R&D, 21st Century Grain Processing, Kansas City, MO. You might add a little whole-grain oat flour to the multigrain bakery mix to take advantage of the known nutrition benefits of oats for healthy meals; however, not too much because its not going to contribute much to dough development. In a muffin, I would say the oat flour could be used at a low level, less than 5%, to increase the health value and maintain the gluten functionality of the whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat flour would predominate while other whole grains added, such as whole or steel-cut oat flakes or other flaked grains, add to the romance and sensory characteristics of the whole-grain experience.

Whole-grain clusters and coated grains can add texture, flavor and even provide cost savings while contributing to the overall whole-grain claim. King suggests considering custom-coated whole grains for inclusion in bakery mixes. Whole-grain oats coated with different fruit flavors would add a visual and a textural element to a pancake mix, he says. The flavor is natural. It will add a crunchy or contrasting texture. This will provide you more impact to the fruit used and permit reduction of the level of fruit by adding colored, coated whole grains while maintaining the desired appearance and color profile. It also aids with distribution of the colored particulates in the product, he notes.

Whole oat flakes can be used as a topping, as can coated whole grains or small granola clusters. Jana Arellano, oat sales manager, 21st Century Grain Processing, offers the example of a cinnamon-apple streusel muffin. A box would include one package of muffin mix and a separate package that includes the topping with your cinnamon-apple grain or mini granola clusters to be sprinkled onto the batter right before baking, she says.

Oats are a natural because they are synonymous with breakfast and are family-friendly. Adults like them because of their nutritional benefits, including their heart-healthy aura, and kids love them for their flavor. Custom-coated oat flakes and whole-grain clusters can be brightly colored for added kid appeal, and textures can be modified to meet the market need and consumer demand.

It doesnt have to be your boring bakery mix that youve seen forever, says Arellano. Because the coated whole grains and granola clusters are custom-made, imagination and innovation need not be limited.

Whole-grain granola clusters are primarily oat-based. However, inclusions of wheat, rice spelt flakes, nuts, traditional and high-fiber barley, fruits, and seeds are also available.

For formulating gluten-free products, avoid wheat, barley, rye and oats. Pea flour, such as that offered by Marroquin Organics International, Santa Cruz, CA, is one possible replacement. Made from whole yellow, yellow split or green split peas, or chickpeas, its flavor is neutral.

Amaranth flour, another option, has a similar protein content as wheat (14%), but also has a perfect amino-acid profile. In baked goods, it can replace up to 30% of the wheat flour. The balance of flours can be made up of corn, rice or soy. Adding starch or gum will trap gas in a chemically leavened product.

Xanthan gum, guar gum and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) can help with moisture retention and uniform air-cell distribution, notes Coki Fesseha, culinary scientist, TIC Gums, Inc., White March, MD.

According to Zelch, the important thing to remember to do everything you can to strengthen the protein when youre using almost any kind of a whole grain. For yeast-raised applications, the addition of emulsifiers (dough strengtheners) oxidants, enzymes and/or additional gluten might be used to build strength.

Rise up

Chemical leavening is a little bit different. It typically relies more on starch structure than proteins from flour, Zelch says. Well rely on protein from egg and milk, he explains. Egg protein tends to coagulate at a lower temperature than starch gelatinization, so they usually add structure early in the cycle. The starches are gelatinized later and, depending on the sugar content, it could be delayed even more yet.

Old-style muffins tend to have lower sugar levels, Zelch notes, and are usually made with a higher-protein bread flour. For cake-like muffins with a higher sugar load, a chlorinated cake flour will give it a higher volume without collapsing.

Yeast is often used in breads, and in some donuts and coffee cakes. Chemical leavening agents are a key component of breakfast bakery mixes like pancakes, muffins and quick breads. In these systems, sodium bicarbonate or another carbonate source combines with a leavening acid or salt, typically a phosphate, to produce carbon dioxide gasand risein batters and doughs.

Low pH ingredients, such as buttermilk, can contribute to lift as well as flavor in pancakes and waffles. Buttermilk powder is available to incorporate in a mix, or liquid buttermilk can be added by the end user.

Most modern mixes use phosphates. The choice of phosphate depends on the desired leavening rate. Traditional leavening acids, such as monocalcium phosphate (MCP), anhydrous monocalcium phosphate (AMCP) and dicalcium phosphate dehydrate (DCPD), are either fast-reacting and go off during mixing, or are heat-activated and activate very late in the baking, notes Barbara B. Heidolph, principal technical service principal, food phosphates, ICL Performance Products LP, St. Louis. For example, DCPD does not react until 135° to 140°F, she says, while suggesting a relatively new leavening acid option, calcium acid pyrophosphate (CAPP). There are several types of CAPP with varied reaction time. One is fast and has a portion of its reaction in the bowl during mixing, much like MCP. Another has a delayed reaction, which is ideal for most baked goods. It has a reaction rate similar to SAPP 28, referring to sodium acid pyrophosphate grade 28 (the number signifies the reaction rate). A third grade is slower, providing greater bench or floor tolerance, she says. This product is similar in reaction characteristics to the slowest SAPP, grade 22. CAPP can be used in muffins, biscuits, pancakes and waffles, donuts and a flour master mix (flour, salt and leavening acids, with added fat, to which egg, milk and sugar are added by the end user).

Beyond achieving lift and texture, chemical leavening agents can also contribute to calcium, magnesium and phosphorus fortification. According to Heidolph, typical CAPP usage in muffins is 2.45% of total solids and contributes 0.466 grams calcium per 100 grams of product. She recommends adding 10% MCP, AMCP or DCPD, depending on the required time of leavening. CAPP can be used at 2.70% to 3.60% in pancakes and waffles. At 2.85%, or typical use, an excellent source of calcium claim is possible, because 0.544 grams of calcium is contributed per 100 grams of product. This translates to 207 mg of calcium per serving, and more than 20% of the Daily Value. In a flour master mix, 2.07% CAPP is typically used. This contributes 491 mg of calcium per serving, allowing for a potential excellent source claim.

Certain leavening agents can lead to reduced- or low-sodium claims. Once a target salt level has been established, it is time to look at all sources of sodium for reductions, including the baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, which contains about 27% sodium, and the leavening acids, Heidolph says. Leavening acids vary in sodium content from zero in the calcium salts, to low levels like 7% in sodium aluminum phosphate, to higher levels like 21% for SAPP. When a functional alternative is available that contains a lower level of sodium, or zero sodium, it is best to evaluate substitution of those functional compounds first. One approach is to substitute the sodium-contributing leavening acids with zero-sodium leavening acids. Then, based on the balance of the remaining sodium, evaluate the use of potassium bicarbonate in place of sodium bicarbonate.

Zero-sodium calcium phosphates are excellent choices for sodium reduction. CAPP, MCP, AMCP and DCPD can be used to formulate reduced- or low-sodium breakfast bakery mixes, Heidolph says.

For optimum dry mix shelf life, remember that any acid can react with sodium bicarbonate. Fat that undergoes oxidative rancidity forms free fatty acids, and temperature, moisture and the type and level of fat impact the reaction rate. When you put whole grains in the formula, youre carrying in all the natural fat that comes with those grains, and theyre going to begin to degrade, Heidolph says. When this occurs, free fatty acids form that can pre-react with the leavening system, causing poor bake performance, as well as impacting the packaging via expansion.

The leavening system can build in batter tolerance. Heidolph recommends heat-triggered leavening agents for foodservice or consumer pancakes and waffles.

A muffins appearancepeaked, cracked peak and flat-toppedare related to the leavening system. For a peaked or cracked peak, late leavening is required to push and crack the muffin, Heidolph says. This can be accomplished with the use of DCPD, which does not react until late in the baking cycle after the batter has reached 135° to 140°F. For flat-topped muffins, a uniform, rapid reaction generally works best. SAPP 28 is ideal for an even, flat-topped muffin.

Flavorful additions

Adding value to old favorites by clever use of flavorful ingredients makes breakfast special. For example, pancakes, waffles, muffins and breads are comfort foods, so a touch of nostalgia is in order. Vanilla brings the soft aroma of a grandmothers kitchen. But, according to Dan Fox, director of sales, Nielsen-Massy Vanillas, Waukegan, IL, vanillas benefits dont end there. Vanilla will enhance the flavors already present and mask off notes at the same time. It will add that delicate touch to a pancake mix. It will intensify a fruit-flavored muffin or mask some of the off notes in a fiber-filled one, as well. Usage levels for the companys encapsulated vanilla powder vary, but in most mixes, recommended dosage levels are below 1%, he says.

Fruits add vibrant bits of color, texture, flavor and a healthful halo. Bananas, apples and berries have long had breakfast appeal. Cranberries are not only becoming increasingly popular, but they are extremely easy to work with, as well, notes Kristen Girard, principal food scientist, Ocean Spray, Lakeville-Middleboro, MA. The robust nature of the cranberry means that the fruit lends itself perfectly to tougher processing conditions, such as the high temperatures required in baking, she says. The company offers flavored cranberry products that masquerade as fruits that have previously proven troublesome to work withsuch as mango, orange, raspberry and strawberry, she says. These dried fruit pieces also offer all of the processing benefits of sweetened dried cranberries.

Adding such products to baked goods, doesnt require formula adjustments. To achieve a tart to sweet flavor profile in dry mixes, we usually recommend starting at a 10% addition by weight, working it up to 15%, depending on the application and how many points of color are desired, Girard says.

Consumer demand for nuts in breakfast products, especially for women over 35 who are food-oriented and health-involved, is on the rise, notes Christina Campoy, spokesperson, Almond Board of California, Modesto. A 2007 research project commissioned by the Almond Board interviewed a nationally representative sample of women (21% of the adult population) who fit this appetite for life demographic. When asked about the ingredients theyd combine in their ideal breakfast cereal, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, brown sugar, almonds and flaxseed were the top ingredients chosen. All of these ingredients can be incorporated into breakfast bakery mixes from muffins to waffles.

With the right tools, developers can create breakfast bakery mixes that cater to our sense of comfort and indulgence while meeting our healthy eating goals.

Cindy Hazen, a 20-year veteran of the food industry, is a freelance writer based in Memphis, TN. She can be reached at [email protected].


About the Author(s)

Cindy Hazen

Contributing editor

Cindy Hazen has more than 25 years of experience developing seasonings, dry blends, beverages and more. Today, when not writing or consulting, she expands her knowledge of food safety as a food safety officer for a Memphis-based produce distributor.

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