The functional properties of dairy ingredients are effective in a wide range of applications.

CHICAGO – Dairy ingredients vary, ranging from basic dried forms to enzyme-modified concentrates. Select dairy ingredients add nutrition to formulations while others contribute functionality. Some provide dairy flavor and mouthfeel, while others deliver creamy dairy color.

Formulators find dairy ingredients attractive because of their simplistic nature and clean label positioning. Flagging that a prepared food — everything from cookies to salad dressings — is “made with dairy” often adds value to the product, creating a point of differentiation in the increasingly competitive marketplace.

Susan Larson, associate researcher, Center for Dairy Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that there are many scientific studies demonstrating the positive health effects of milkfat and the quality of dairy proteins. As more studies are completed, “made with dairy” claims on prepared foods will have even greater value.

“Dairy, in its many forms, is increasingly seen as an inherently healthy simple food,” said Carrie Schroeder, technical business development director — dairy, Kerry, Beloit, Wis.

Dairy ingredients are particularly useful in baked foods, where they exhibit numerous functions, including desirable crust browning, enhanced yeast fermentation, improved handling and stability of batter or dough, egg replacement, and, of course, protein fortification. Dense baked foods such as bars, brownies, cookies and muffins are some of the best candidates for protein fortification. Highly aerated products such as bread and cakes are less suitable for protein addition.

Dense baked foods such as bars, brownies, cookies and muffins are some of the best candidates for protein fortification.

“Adding protein affects dough handling and rheology,” said Jill Rippe, director of product innovation, Agropur Ingredients, La Crosse, Wis. “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. Adding protein without proper recipe modifications will result in batters and doughs that are dry, crumbly and do not properly spread in the pan.”

A growing area of interest by many bakers is egg replacement for allergen, economic and supply concerns. Agropur Ingredients offers a line of dairy protein-based ingredients that function as egg alternatives. The blends are designed to provide the necessary solids to maintain structure and texture consistency.

Permeate, which may come from whey or milk, is a wholesome dairy ingredient labeled as dairy product solids. It is a coproduct of the production of various dairy protein ingredients and a concentrated source of minerals and lactose.

The minerals in permeate may enhance the salt characteristics in a range of foods, including baked foods and fully cooked meat and poultry products, such as sausages and luncheon meat. It does this while contributing almost no sodium to the finished food.

“In addition to reducing the sodium in meats, permeate can enhance browning, mask bitter flavors and improve structure formation,” said Kimberlee Burrington, dairy ingredient applications coordinator at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research. “The lactose in permeate provides an effective starter culture carbohydrate for the preparation of fermented sausages and cooked hams.”

The minerals in permeate may enhance the salt characteristics in a range of foods, including fully cooked meat and poultry products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not consider the lactose in permeate or other dairy ingredients, other than straight lactose, as an added sugar. Therefore, permeate may be used in applications where some sweetness is desirable, and added sugars are not.

“Milk permeate powder can assist with no-sugar-added claims,” said Khilendra Bhanduriya, research and development scientist, Idaho Milk Products, Jerome, Idaho. “In baked goods, not only does it add some sweetness, but it enhances the Maillard reaction, improving flavor and appearance.

“Using milk permeate in dough can produce bread that is softer for a longer period of time. It can be used in pie crusts to aid in emulsifying the shortening, allowing for less shortening use without sacrificing flaky texture.”

With the skyrocketing demand for dairy proteins, ample permeate is being produced. Mr. Bhanduriya suggests food companies looking to reduce costs explore substituting milk permeate for nonfat dry milk.

“Milk permeate powder can replace 50% of the nonfat dry milk in hot cocoa mix without noticeable changes in appearance or flavor,” Mr. Bhanduriya said. “The same is true in soft-serve ice cream mix where it can replace nonfat dry milk or sweet whey powder without sacrificing performance, texture and flavor. Even at high usage levels, the soft-serve ice cream maintains a creamy texture.”

Milk permeate powder may replace nonfat dry milk or sweet whey powder in soft-serve ice cream.

The high lactose and mineral salts help control the freezing point. This allows for proper soft-serve consistency.

Using proprietary technology, DairiConcepts, Springfield, Mo., offers dairy ingredients with enhanced sensory attributes. For example, starting with protein-rich whole milk, the company uses fermentation to produce potassium glutamate. This compound possesses a brothy, meaty, savory flavor profile and can assist with sodium reduction in a broad range of applications.

“What it does have is umami, which is how it assists product developers with tastefully managing sodium levels in food formulations,” said Chad Mitchell, senior technical manager — concentrates.

The ingredient is able to lower sodium content by 25% to 50% by amplifying the perception of salty and boosting savory nuances and umami effects. It also makes flavors taste brighter and enables flavors to linger, allowing the consumer to enjoy the product a little longer, Mr. Mitchell said.

Dairyvative Technologies, Sheboygan, Wis., patented technology to remove up to 95% of the water from pasteurized fresh milk to make a super-concentrated milk that does not need refrigeration. When water is added back, the fluid tastes like fresh milk. The milk concentrate has a honey-like consistency that may be pumped, packaged and reconstituted. The lactose-free product comes in a bag-in-box or tote format and in a variety of fat levels.

Super-concentrated milk is a solution for manufacturers of soups that need a convenient, reliable source of milk ingredients.

One particularly useful application is cream-style soups. Soup manufacturers need a convenient, reliable source of milk ingredients, yet the perishable, bulky nature of liquid milk and cream is challenging to manage, according to Dairyvative. With this highly concentrated milk ingredient, a soup manufacturer can have fewer milk deliveries, with unopened totes having a six-month ambient shelf life.

Glanbia Nutritionals, Fitchburg, Wis., recently developed freeze-dried cheese. The shelf-stable, nutrient-packed dairy ingredient delivers cheddar or mozzarella cheese when hydrated. It is versatile enough to be used in snacks, bars, instant foods such as grains and soups, and ready-to-eat meals.

When it comes to making cheese, Ingredia, Wapakoneta, Ohio, developed a one-step process using specific milk proteins, which eliminates the need to drain whey. Cheesemakers no longer need to find a solution for their whey stream and have a more profitable manufacturing process.

“Traditionally, natural cheese has a 10% yield during production,” said Kate Sager, marketing manager — America. “We have specific functional proteins that offer 100% yield during processing thanks to their water-binding capacity. This solution requires no additional capital investment by current cheesemakers and actually decreases start-up costs by reducing capital expenditure, as less equipment is required to make natural cheese.”

Using its natural biotransformation processing expertise, Edlong, Elk Grove Village, Ill., has created a new enzyme-modified cheese technology for improved dairy taste. Flavors include creamy American to robust Italian cheese profiles, as well as a variety of butter and butter cream taste profiles. The ingredient line does not add fat, sugar, protein or sodium to the formulation.

Specific functional milk proteins may offer 100% yield during cheesemaking.

“Our new clean label dairy ingredients are an artistic interpretation of the essential elements that create a rich dairy taste,” said Beth Warren, chief commercial officer. “These dairy ingredients have concentrated dairy profiles that naturally amplify cheese or butter notes, and deliver impactful dairy essences.

“The way to get a real dairy taste is to start with real dairy. This also allows food manufacturers to declare the ingredients on the label as simply butter or cheese. There’s no need to list ‘dairy flavors’ separately on the label.”

Such unique ingredients may be used as the primary dairy character in an application, or in combination with non-concentrated commodity dairy products like butter, cream and cheese. They also work well with many other flavor systems. Some of the more creative applications developed by Edlong’s food scientists include adding toasted cheese notes to tomato soup, buttery richness to caramel confections and even Parmesan flavor to a savory cookie.

“As products continue to get back to basics with simpler ingredient statements and recognizable wholesome food ingredients, there has been a need to deliver flavor without adding ‘flavors,’” Ms. Schroeder said.

To meet this need, Kerry offers a range of intense-flavor dairy ingredients. The portfolio includes dairy ingredients that deliver sharp cheddar, Parmesan and Romano cheese flavors, as well as cultured butter and cream notes. Applications include meals, sauces, soups, dressings, bakery items and snacks.

“They work anywhere that dairy is used,” Ms. Schroeder said.