Boosting Baked Goods’ Nutrition Using Whey Protein

Protein-in-Glaze.jpgOne of the recent questions we received via our website is this, from a baked good manufacturer: “Can functional whey protein be used to boost protein levels in a glaze?”

Sixty-two percent of consumers report that they are “making a point of getting enough protein” from the foods and beverages they consume, according to a report from Packaged Facts, and you can see it on every shelf of the grocery store, with products as obvious as protein bars, to those you might not expect, like ice cream, pasta and candy bars. 

Protein Product Innovation 

With that type of demand it makes sense that food and beverage manufacturers are looking for innovative ways to introduce it into their product lines. So then the question remains, how do you add protein to a bakery product like sandwich bread or Danish – products whose very structures are highly dependent on exacting levels of protein in order to get the rise and texture consumers expect? Protein acts as dough conditioner, structuring agent and moisture controller, among other things, so food and beverage manufacturers wanting to answer the growing demand for foods that are bulked up with protein have to be very careful in adjusting their formulations and processes to ensure a quality final product. 

However, it can be done, and we’re seeing protein being touted on bread and bun/roll packaging. Even mainstream bakery product manufacturers are advertising the added nutritional value – “ultra protein,” “double protein,” “high protein,” “mega protein” – with some products offering double-digit levels of the stuff. Clearly they’ve mastered a formulation that delivers the appropriate rise and ideal texture.

What About Glazes?

Now for the question specific to glazes. Is this a place where a baked good manufacturer could add protein? Glazes, typically mixtures of sugar, butter/fat and water, can have functional whey protein added to the mix without affecting the flavor or texture – in fact, the texture may very well be creamier and richer when protein is part of the formulation. Glazes made with cream cheese see similar benefits – and even allow the replacement of some amount of cream cheese to help reduce costs without losing the creamy texture. 

Similarly, whey protein can be used in cream fillings in parts of products like Napoleons and donuts. Functional whey protein binds water, stabilizing the structure and reducing the likelihood of a filling weeping.

One last point about using protein in baked goods: functional whey protein is ideal in non-rising baked goods, like quick breads, muffins and cookies. In our whitepaper, Egg Replacement 101, you can see a comparison of chocolate chip cookies made with and without Grande Bravo® functional whey protein. The formulation was created to address the need to reduce costly ingredients like butter and cream, and in the process would allow a manufacturer to promote a product that delivers a higher-than-average protein level.

To summarize, yes whey protein can be used to increase protein levels in your baked goods and glazes. Have a question about a specific application? Ask our team of food scientists by clicking here. We like a challenge – and we have lots of experience solving them! 

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