Protein pretzels
Dairy-derived protein products may be used in baked foods such as pretzels to add a healthy halo and replace sodium.

Quality and quantity

Protein provides vital amino acids for proper functioning and structural integrity of nearly every system in the human body. Research indicates that all humans need about the same amount of dietary protein every day for basic lean muscle repair and remodeling. To reap benefits such as promoting satiety, encouraging steady blood sugar levels and supporting lean muscle mass, one must consider the quality and quantity of the protein at every meal.

Data suggest that every meal should include 30 grams of high-quality protein, including that which is high in the branched-chain amino acid (B.C.A.A.) leucine, which is associated with promoting muscle health. Several dairy proteins are concentrated sources of B.C.A.A., making them especially appealing to the health-and-wellness-seeking community.

Because all proteins are not created equal, it is important that formulators know their options to determine what protein or blend of proteins is most suitable to meet nutrition and label claims. It is also paramount to understand how protein addition impacts the baking process.

“Adding protein affects dough handling and rheology,” said Jill Rippe, director of product innovation for Agropur. “In general, the batter or dough becomes firmer and less sticky as the protein absorbs the free water in the system more than the flour does during the mixing stage.”

Ms. Rippe explained that adding protein without proper formulation modifications will result in batters and doughs that are dry and crumbly and do not properly spread in the pan.

“Machining can also become a challenge if the water balance is not adjusted properly,” Ms. Rippe said. “Baking with protein is largely a trial-and-error process, even with a carefully laid out plan in place.”

Dense baked goods such as bars, brownies, cookies and muffins are some of the best candidates for protein fortification. Highly aerated products such as breads and cakes are less suitable for protein addition.