Replacing and reducing helps bakers relieve headaches from oil shortages

One of the many ingredients facing shortages due to harvest conditions and the war in Ukraine are fats and oils, especially high oleic specialty oils and palm. There are several ways bakers can alleviate the headaches associated with the current shortage of high oleic and palm fats and oils. They can switch to base oil alternatives, animal fats or reformulate to reduce their reliance on high oleic or palm ingredients without replacing them entirely.

When going the alternative route, the main concern for bakers is to reproduce the same characteristics of the finished product as the original formulation that included the primary fat or oil solution. This includes texture, flavor, mouthfeel and shelf life. Substitute ingredients must have similar melting behavior and a neutral flavor profile to achieve similar functionality and taste, explained Marie Shen, associate innovation scientist at Kemin Food Technologies.

“Bakers also need to be aware of critical steps in the production process and be on the lookout when switching to a substitute,” Shen explained. “In the production of croissants, for example, the rolling process should not break the dough, and the dough can be rolled as thin as possible, and the end products should be crispy without a waxy mouthfeel. Ensuring comparable functionality between substitutes will make or break the success of your end product.

While base oils definitely offer a pathway to replace these alternative oils, they are not without some challenges that will need to be addressed if bakers are to maintain these same critical characteristics, including shelf life.

“Conventional liquid oils are less stable and more prone to oxidation and rancidity than high oleic oils,” said Andrea Weis, Scientist II, AAK USA. “When replacing high oleic oil with conventional oil, bakers need to ensure that their finished product maintains the same quality throughout its shelf life, retaining its typical flavor profile and being free from any undesirable flavor.”

To solve this problem, bakers often have to stabilize the oil with other ingredients like antioxidants.

“As the cost of ingredients continues to rise, preserving the freshness and quality of oils or fats is just as important as finding cheaper substitutes,” Shen said. “Kemin can help preserve oils and fats with antioxidants, and the oxidative shelf life of oils and fats is extended. The characteristics of fats can be protected by protecting triglycerides from oxidative stress.

Incorporating natural antioxidants like rosemary extract, David Johnson, PhD, product manager of food protection, Kalsec, said base oils can help these oils achieve the same oxidative stability as oils. high oleic oils cost effectively, as these oils are generally less expensive than high oleic oils.

“We can match or exceed the shelf life of high oleic oils,” he said.

Technologies such as hydrogenation, interesterification and blending can also result in custom oil solutions that meet the functionality requirements of a baker’s application.

Another strategy is to focus on reducing high oleic acid and palm content rather than complete replacement. This can reduce costs by stretching a baker’s supply and what they will need in the future. Emulsifiers and enzymes can take on some of the functionality of fats, enabling this reduction.

“Bakers are currently faced with many changing factors, but consumers are unwilling to lower their standards,” explained Abigail Ceule, Senior Manager, Ingredient Solutions, Corbion. “By switching to an enzyme-based solution, such as Corbion’s Vantage 2060, bakers can deliver the high quality consumers demand while protecting their formulas from oil prices and supply fluctuations.”

Corbion designed Vantage 2060 specifically to mimic the functionality of mono- and diglycerides and oil, allowing bakers to replace a significant portion of oils while replacing mono- and diglycerides entirely, she explained.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on fats and oils, click here.