Plants provide promise
Plant proteins also are gaining traction in baked goods. Nuts and grains readily incorporate into grain-based snacks and baked goods. In addition to contributing protein, they are a source of healthful fatty acids and deliver unique flavors and textures.
Peanuts and peanut butter have long been used in baked goods for flavor and texture. Now they are included for their protein content. In particular, a peanut powder form can function as a substitute for some wheat flour in sweet and snack applications.
Additionally, pulses, dried seeds of plants from the legume family (peas, edible beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.), are trending as a source of plant protein.
BFY Brands now offers non-G.M.O. and gluten-free light and crispy protein-packed popped snacks under the brand Our Little Rebellion. Boasting 10 grams of protein from cassava and soy per serving, the Protein Crisps come in Hot Buffalo, Sweet and Smoky Barbecue, and Wasabi Ginger varieties.
“One of the challenges that product developers face when working with plant-based ingredients such as pulses is the natural, beany flavor profile,” Mr. O’Brien said. “In certain applications, such as a chip or cracker, that flavor profile may be desired. While in other applications, bakers prefer a bland flavor profile.”
Through a joint venture, Ingredion and AGT Food & Ingredients offer a portfolio of pulse-based ingredients, including protein concentrates derived from North American-grown pea, lentil and faba beans. These ingredients range in protein content from 55% to 60%.
“There are also pulse flours derived from pea, faba bean, chickpea and lentil,” Mr. O’Brien said. “They range from 10% to 30% protein content.”
Bakers typically use a concentrate to increase protein content. If the goal is simply to improve texture in a gluten-free baked good, a pulse flour makes more sense, Mr. O’Brien said. The company recently launched a series of clean-taste pulse ingredients. They were developed using proprietary technology that improves the flavor profile of pulse ingredients while maintaining their clean label.
Kerry Ingredients offers a plant-based protein platform composed of pea and rice proteins and natural flavor. It features technology to prevent bars from hardening over their shelf life.
“It includes our flavor-masking technology to address characteristic off notes associated with plant proteins,” said Sharon Rokosh, technical business development manager of protein technology for Kerry.
At IFT17, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual conference and exposition, held June 25-28 in Las Vegas, the Kerry culinary team showcased a high-protein flatbread fortified with this plant-based protein solution.
“We’ve used these proteins across the board in bakery products from breads and rolls to cookies and muffins,” said John Schmitz, research development and applications scientist of bakery applications for Kerry. “The product provides easy incorporation into formulas and only requires balancing the water and functional gluten-forming proteins by adding extra vital wheat gluten.”
The bread uses a protein blend based on soy, lupine and wheat. It also includes linseed, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, as well as wheat bran and apple fibers, yielding a baked bread that is 14% fiber. The seeds are also a source of omega-3 fatty acids and feature a glycemic index of 24, ideal for diabetics, Mr. Urti added.
TH Foods Inc., offers Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers. These baked whole grain gluten-free crackers deliver 5 grams of plant protein per 30-gram serving, about 32 crackers. The protein comes from brown rice and chickpea flours and is free from soy and whey products.
Wheat proteins long have been used for fortification of baked goods and are a natural complement to wheat flour. MGP Ingredients isolates protein from wheat flour by wet processing, recovering a protein-rich fraction with enhanced extensibility, said Ody Maningat, Ph.D., vice-president of R.&D. and chief science officer for MGP Ingredients. The primary use of wheat protein isolates is in the production of high-protein yeast-leavened bakery products like whole wheat and white bread, as well as rolls and buns.
“Vital wheat gluten is a common ingredient added at a level of 2% to 4% to raise the protein of marginal quality flours to improve their baking performance,” Dr. Maningat said. “When used at a much higher level for high-protein breads, the dough strength imparted presents a challenge to high-speed bakery operations. The dough often becomes too tough or bucky, creating machinability issues. A proven solution is to add a wheat protein isolate with enhanced extensibility to the formula.”