Balancing the demands of clean label with a longer shelf life can be particularly challenging, especially when it comes to bakery treats. A creamy filling is a popular addition to many cookies and pastries, but the filling itself does not benefit from the effects of the baking process in limiting bacteria and typically has to rely on artificial additives to maintain freshness and extend shelf life.
However, today’s consumer is increasingly demanding the use of clean label ingredients, and this includes indulgent treats. On the other hand, there is still the expectation for the same premium qualities in flavour, texture and appearance.
Hot-swelling wheat starch
Kröner-Stärke has addressed this challenge with an ingredient based on a hot-swelling wheat starch, which is produced under extremely stringent hygienic conditions.
For generations, the specialist has harnessed the power of nature to create environmentally-friendly wheat and starch products for the food industry. Flours without any chemical additives and untreated, fresh spring water from its own well are the basis of its products, without the use of micro-biocides.
In producing the new starch, enhanced microbiological cleaning is carried out beforehand to create an aseptic environment. Following production, the finished starch is stored in specially adapted conditions to prevent cross-contamination or any influences from external conditions. It is also subjected to microbiological analysis covering a broad spectrum of potential contaminants to ensure that the bacteria count is as close to zero as is technically possible.
Provided it is kept in its original packaging and stored in cool and dry conditions, the ingredient has a shelf life of at least 24 months. According to Kröner-Stärke, it also provides excellent fresh-keeping qualities when used as the basis for unbaked fillings in finished bakery products.
Being a dried ingredient, viscosity can easily be adjusted to achieve the required texture, including ‘wet’ uses such as fillings, toppings, sauces and dressings, or alternatively, as a component in dry baked goods and baking mixes. As the wheat starch has very high water binding capacity, it provides the potential to increase yields and present a cost-effective alternative to expensive raw materials. The hot-swelling starch also has comparable technological properties to standard native starches, so can easily be used to replace these in formulations for finished products as a clean label or organic alternative.
Another major advantage is the fact that it can be used to capitalise on the increasingly popular vegan and free-from movements, as it does not contain any dairy ingredients. Similarly, the clean label tag counters concerns about the sometimes highly processed and artificial nature of many vegan alternatives available on the market today.
“We’re excited about the possibilities this new product holds for food manufacturers. It’s really very versatile, and because it can be used for organic, clean label and vegan applications, consumers can still ‘have their cake and eat it’ without having to worry about artificial ingredients,” said Henrik de Vries, commercial manager of Kröner-Stärke.