Reaction time proves critical in sodium reduction

by Jeff Gelski
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How consumers react to baked foods with reduced sodium may depend a great deal on how bakers manage reaction times.

For example, bakers may reduce sodium in leavening systems by replacing sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) with another acidulant, such as calcium acid pyrophosphate. When making such a change, bakers should look at the rate of reaction, or how fast the sodium bicarbonate reacts, said Bill McKeown, vice-president of product innovation at AB Mauri North America, St. Louis.

Typically replacing SAPP with calcium acid pyrophosphate will push costs up 50% to 60%, he added.

“Costs are really driving how far you want to go on low sodium,” Mr. McKeown said. “No sodium is very expensive. Typically what we see are people looking for 50% reduction in baking powder.”

Reaction time is certain to play a factor in one grain-based product. Compared to other baked foods, tortillas are leavened less, said John Brodie, commercial development manager for bakery for Innophos, Inc., Cranbury, N.J. Sodium bicarbonate may take up less than 1% of a tortilla application, but sodium bicarbonate may take up 2% to 3% in other baked foods.

The reaction rate in tortillas takes place more quickly. Cal-Rise from Innophos controls the rate of the reaction in tortillas, and it also has a dough conditioning effect, which makes the dough more elastic and less likely to tear.

Besides tortillas, Cal-Rise may be used in layer and snack cake products; biscuits, scones, muffins and pancakes; batters and breadings; dry mixes and self-rising flour; and baking powders.

Cal-Rise, a chemical mixture of calcium acid pyrophosphate and monocalcium phosphate, may be used as a one-to-one replacement for sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) 28.

Reaction time in tortillas is one factor addressed in a Supremo tortilla system launched by AB Mauri during the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas Oct. 6-9. The Supremo system gives tortilla manufacturers flexibility to adjust such traits as thickness, shelf life and toast marks.

“To keep up with demand some tortilla manufacturers purchase multiple ingredients, which adds complexity to operations,” said Michael Tamayo, senior business development manager of tortillas for AB Mauri. “Others purchase batch packs, which lock them into producing one type of tortilla. The Supremo tortilla system puts flexibility and simplicity back into the hands of the manufacturer with high performance ingredients that can be easily dialed-up or down, enabling them to produce a variety of tortilla types to meet market requirements.”

Levona from ICL Food Specialties, St. Louis, represents a family of zero sodium, calcium rich leavening acids, said Barbara Bufe Heidolph, principal, food phosphates, at ICL Food Specialties.

“Like their sodium analogs, the Levona calcium acid pyrophosphate (CAPP) leavening agents come with varying controlled rates of reaction,” she said. “This allows formulators to deliver the carbon dioxide to their bakery product when it is needed, in the mixer and early in the oven. Additionally, the two grades most commonly used, Levona Brio and Levona Opus, provide stability to accommodate processing time.”

Levona products are being used in a variety of grain-based foods products, including biscuits, pancakes and tortillas, to reduce sodium, Ms. Heidolph said. When bakers use Levona in place of SAPP, bakers typically may achieve about a 25% reduction in sodium just by changing the leavening acid. A “good source of calcium” claim also may be achieved.

Kudos Blends, Ltd., Cleobury Mortimer, England, offers potassium bicarbonate as a replacement for sodium bicarbonate. Potassium bicarbonate does not affect the reaction speed in the baking process and may allow for sodium reduction of up to 50%, according to the company. The ingredient also contains 40% potassium.

Kudos Blends has developed a vanilla cake prototype to show how potassium bicarbonate may lower sodium. A control vanilla cake includes salt, disodium diphosphate, which also is known as SAPP, and sodium bicarbonate. It has 424 mg of sodium per 100 grams. Taking out the sodium bicarbonate and using potassium bicarbonate in another vanilla cake may lower the sodium content to 213 mg per 100 grams.

Potassium bicarbonate may act as a gas carrier in place of sodium bicarbonate, but formulators need to consider the particle size of the potassium bicarbonate.

“Particle size is very important in any bakery ingredient, especially potassium bicarbonate,” said Dinnie Jordan, director and founder of Kudos Blends. “Smaller particles dissolve much more rapidly than larger particles. In order to react in a recipe, particles must first dissolve in the water. It is therefore paramount that the products used must have a fine particle size to ensure rapid and full dissolution of the potassium bicarbonate.

“If the particles are too big, the product will not fully dissolve and react. This not only causes issues with loss of functionality but can also cause issues with taste and unsightly spotting due to concentrated areas of un-reacted bicarbonate.”

While fine particles are desired, particles that are too small also may be an issue.

“Too fine a particle size will cause issues with stability due to the fine particles absorbing moisture from atmosphere and degrading,” Ms. Jordan said. “The coarser particles have a smaller surface area so are less prone to moisture degradation.”
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