When bakers think of wheat protein, the immediate association likely goes with dough stability. But in truth, wheat protein lends itself to more applications than the obvious. In fact, according to research that Manildra Group USA, Shawnee Mission, KS, recently conducted with Kansas State University, wheat protein is a viable alternative to dried whole egg and egg white in many baked food applications.

“Our intent is to add value to wheat gluten,” said Ody Maningat, PhD, Manildra’s vice-president, R&D and technical services. The studies verified the ability to mimic egg protein through GemPro wheat protein isolate. “In bakery applications, a wheat protein additive is preferred because of its compatibility with wheat flour in terms of sensory attributes, labeling and allergenicity,” Dr. Maningat noted.

The GemPro line offers bakers an egg protein alternative that not only provides cost savings (Manildra’s data indicates potential savings of 14 to 86% over egg proteins, depending on formula and level of replacement) but also acts as an alternative to whey- or soy-based egg replacements that essentially introduce another allergen into formulations.

In the study conducted at K-State, layer cake, pancake and waffle products were tested using GemPro 3300 and GemPro 4400. In high-ratio layer cake, 25 and 50% replacement of dried whole eggs resulted in similar specific gravity of the batter as well as similar volume, symmetry and uniformity indices in the finished cake, compared with the control product. At 25, 50 and 100% replacement, crumb grain, cell wall thickness, cell diameter and crumb texture were also similar to the control cake.

For pancakes, 50 or 100% replacement of dried whole eggs resulted in similar size, including diameter and height. Firmness was similar to control at 50% replacement and increased at 100% replacement. In waffle tests, 50 or 100% dried whole egg replacement showed similar size, appearance, spread and crispiness as the control.

With respect to dried egg white replacement in high-ratio layer cake, similar specific gravity of the batter, indices of volume, uniformity and symmetry, and crumb grain properties of the control product were attained at 25 and 50% replacement. The cake, however, showed less elasticity and more tenderness at 100% replacement. For pancakes, 50 or 100% replacement of dried egg white produced similar size, interior grain characteristics and texture as the control pancake. Dried egg white replacement at 50 or 100% yielded waffles with similar size, appearance and spread during baking but less crispness compared with the control waffle.

In addition to layer cakes, pancakes and waffles, GemPro is a viable egg replacement in cake muffins, and Manildra is currently testing pound cake applications. “I just look at what bakery products are out there — whether sweet goods or yeast-leavened — and consider which ones contain egg proteins,” Dr. Maningat said, describing which baked foods can benefit from GemPro for egg protein replacements.

Beyond the bakery, Manildra has also found success in partially replacing dried egg whites in pasta products.

For more information on the GemPro line, as well as the K-State study, visit www.manildrausa.com.