Emulsifiers/Dough Strengtheners

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by jeff, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. jeff

    jeff

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    I'm trying to make muffins like the ones you can buy in the stores, the kind that when you slice the top while baking they blow up through the slice and come out really large on top. The only way I can do that with the ingredients available to me is to use a combination of vegetable gums and soy lecithin. But it's still not exactly what I want. Is there anywhere you can purchase emulsifiers, like Propylene Glycol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, or monoglycerides that aren't in huge bulk quantities? Basic cooking with "home" ingredients isn't fun for me, I love experimenting with ingredients that are used commercially because they make the foods so much more interesting to me. If anyone knows how or where (even from any of you) I can get ingredients like those I mentioned, let me know please!

    Moderator's note: Moved to proper forum
     
    pjanardhanan likes this.
  2. kylew

    kylew

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    Hi Jeff -

    Muffins that I've made start out as more of a batter than a slice-able dough. Can you post a picture or link of what your looking for?

    Kyle
     
  3. panini

    panini

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    jeff,
    I'm a little stumped. The only thing I can think of along those lines is, if your batter is thicker , like when you are preping pound cake for the oven and you pipe a line of butter down the middle so it splits and rises evenly. Like butt cheeks:eek:
    pan
     
  4. jeff

    jeff

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    Here's a picture of sort of the way I like my muffins to look.

    [​IMG]

    I can actually get them to expand just about that big on top, but it's still not exactly how I want them to be. Commercial muffins like the ones in Hannaford (a grocery store), and that picture, have that unnatural shine to them and brown so evenly and easily, and not really the hard caramelized brown you get in homemade muffins. Maybe it's the type of ovens bakerys have too, compared to a home oven, but I also think a lot of the properties that I like come from the emulsifiers they use. I have an ingredient list of the muffins at Hannaford, and basically the only thing I don't have are the emulsifiers and propylene glycol which are in every commercial muffin that I like the looks of.

    Do you know what I mean by the "commercial" look of that muffin in the picture? The browned parts aren't that "burnt" caramelized brown you get from an oven, where it has a certain taste to it, it's more like a brown that didn't come from really burning the muffin, if that makes sense. For instance, when the muffins in Hannaford have some of the dough on the side of the cup it doesn't burn like it would in a homemade muffin, it just gets that nice brown color, and that's it. Here's a comparison to a homemade muffin (not one of mine, just something I found on the internet):

    [​IMG]

    The homemade muffin has that crystalized/caramelized brown, and you can even see the sugar, but the commercial muffin up top has that smooth appearance.

    I've analyzed the muffins in Hannaford way too much, I know, but it's fun to try to duplicate things, and I've seen muffins that were baked wrong and the tops weren't sliced so the inside could flow out, and the top surface of the muffin was flat, and had that nice shine and brown-ness that the top picture has. So somehow they're baked and turn perfectly brown and "fake" looking, and then they're sliced and and the inside bubbles up through, and then they're sold. I think when the dough is heated, it browns nicely (it almost looks like a film, but it seems to do that everywhere the muffin is exposed to heat, which you can even see on the muffin cup in the picture on top, so I doubt it's a glaze them put on top) and it doesn't bend or move. If the muffins do rise without the top cut (I've seen a couple), the flat top is just pushed up really high, but it's still flat, just like how it would have been when they put it in the cup. Their dough just seems really strong, it doesn't flex like "homemade" dough that uses no gums or emulsifiers, homemade muffin tops bend and break when they're pushed up from inside, but Hannaford's don't, the dough is too strong or something. I've actually had a muffin where the inside top wasn't done, so I could see what their dough is like, and it wasn't like homemade dough, it was gooey and seemed gellish (sort of like the dough I make if I put a lot of gums in it).

    Also, one more question, does anyone know how the grocery stores make their in store muffins? Do they just use a mix and add water, or do they use a mix and then add the shortening and the eggs? By seeing how much cholesterol the muffin has, you know exactly how much egg yolk it would have, yet their muffins don't have a yellow color, they're very, very white. There aren't any bleaching agents used in the muffins either, so I'm wondering if they just screwed up (they do have some obvious spelling errors in the ingredient listings, and some have errors in where things are placed based on weight in the ingredient list) or maybe they use some type of dried egg yolk that's bleached or something? But then again, if they did use a dried egg yolk/whole egg, that would mean that "eggs" would drop way down on the ingredients list, and wouldn't be right after sugar. Unless they were reconstituted dried eggs or something crazy like that. Well, let me know if any of you pro baker's know any way I can get those commercialized looking muffins!

    Just adding: I've tried so many iterations of muffins with all different amounts of baking powder, gums, soy lecithin, water, so none of those factors are what's wrong.

    Ingredients and Nutrition Facts:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Just FYI, the "sodium esseinate" in the ingredients is actually sodium caseinate.
     
  5. panini

    panini

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    Jeff,
    I have to tell you, I would choose yours before the first one.
    I really don't think the additives have a bearing on the outcome of this product, they will affect shelflife. When I look at the two, it looks to me as if the first muffin was retarded and then tunnel or convection baked. I also don't think they are sliced. I have done consulting for grocery bakeries and most are using a bag mix. The low fat ones are usually add water and the reg are add oil,h2o.
    The sugar is the thing that give you the window to expand. The first ones look as though the sugar went down in a confined spot on the top. You may want to try this or store the panned muffins inthe frig. and then shoot them in a hot oven.
    just some thought
    pan
     
  6. harpua

    harpua

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    Jeff,

    I would have to say that you are really into muffins. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by slicing the top of the muffins; that's the first i've heard of it. If you give it enough initial heat, it should end up poofy like the first one. About the shine, I see what you mean. I don't like commercial muffins, but I can understand your curiosity. The muffins that we bake for room service come from tubs. We get them in frozen, and then defrost them overnight in the walk-in. Just scoop and pop in the oven. No slicing, glazing, (except for streusel topping) or anything like that. They always come out shiny and commercial-like, but not really "unnatural" like you were saying. I've looked at the ingredients before, and it does have a lot of stabilizers, gums, etc in them. I'll check it out on saturday again and see if there is anything unusual. The other day we used the dry mix (add water) from the same company for an emergency, and they weren't shiny at all! Put that in your pipe!

    I can't think of many things better than a freshly baked homemade muffin. I really try to avoid those grocery store ones- they are usually so sweet, kind of spongy, and they ALWAYS give me a stomach ache and make me feel gross. I always feel ashamed after I eat one of those; it's like I have let them win.

    Nice effort on your post, man. I appreciate it.

    Sarah
     
  7. jessiquina

    jessiquina

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    i find the second one to be more appetizing.
     
  8. jeff

    jeff

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    I knew a lot of people would say the homemade ones are better, but I've never liked homemade things. I've always loved the commercial cakes, muffins and cookies, but didn't care for homemade ones at all. I think I like them for the same reasons people don't like them. I like things that are overly sweet.

    What I mean by slicing the muffins is like half-way through their baking cycle an x is cut in the top and the insides bubble up through that x. At Hannaford you can sometimes see the exact cut they made, so I know they cut them, there's still a depression where the knife/spatula/whatever made the cuts. Sometimes depending on who makes the muffins they make 6 cuts instead of 4 and you can clearly see the cuts in an asterisk pattern.

    Out of all the commercial muffins and coffeecakes I like, all of them have emulsifiers and gums, and the ones that I don't like at all, don't. It's really funny, but they give a certain texture and certain properties that I love. My problem is I can't get my muffins to be like the stores unless I can get mono/diglycerides and SSL. I just wish that I could get a small amount instead of having to buy in bulk/contact a representative and develop a business relationship with them.

    I've actually made muffins right next to each other, exact same amount of each ingredient (I use a digital scale to measure everything to the gram), except one with a little guar and xanthan gum added to them, and they puffed up about 2x's higher than the ones without the gums. The texture still isn't exactly like the store's though, which is why I want those emulsifiers :)
     
  9. panini

    panini

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    Jeff,
    First off,there is nothing wrong with store bought. I can tell you there is a whole lot more R&D in that product then you will find in cookbooks.
    Commercial mixes are not that exact. They can be developed to work in different kitchen settings. The gums will have aneffect on the baked product but there are many conditioners out there that stableize the ingredients.
    The "cut" is different. But it wouldn't surprize me if these muffins are panned and stored. Most times you will get a skin on top that will inhibit the push. I can just see the baker making this mix for the first time and pulling out a rack that blew out the sides. I'm sure he sent someone into the cooler to score the next round. I say baker, because only a baker would think "cut" for rise.
    Jeff, I will also tell you that injesting the gums and such cannot be good for you. When you read that some ingredient will cause cancer in rats, like it might be ok for human consumption, the problem is, morraly they can't test humans.
    pan
    PS Don't put too much thought in the labels. I know they are supposed to be exact, butusually the copy is provided from the manufacture for a specific product. Many times the manufacturer will change and the labels wont. There is also generic labels in nutritional programs that will spit out these incorrect things.
     
  10. lcb-grad

    lcb-grad

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    I'm curious as to why you would even wat to add propylene glycol to anything that you eat. Consider this:
    "Propylene Glycol: ( a first cousin to anti freeze :eek: ) This compound causes the fatal destruction of red blood cells. This compound is used to maintain the right texture and moisture and to tie up the water content, thus inhibiting bacterial growth, it is added to some “chewy” foods to keep them moist."

    I don't know about you, but I'll take the bacterial growth over the destruction of red blood cells.
     
  11. ruben

    ruben

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    in regards of the problems you are having with those store bought muffins i suggest you do the following buy soy lecithin which is a natural emulsifier and blend it directly to the butter or margarine you use in your recipe the proportion should be 0,5 to 1% of the weight of the flour soy lecithin will improve the formation of air bubbles and gi the lift that you require
     
  12. cookieguy

    cookieguy

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    WOW.

    The basic purpose of surfactants (emulsifiers or surface-active agents) is to complex with protein and starch thus their apparent effect on softness and shelf life. But a whole bunch more happens in between this and that. Generally we think of emulsifiers as aiding in the binding of oil and water. Emulsifiers are classified by their HLB (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance) value of 0 to 20 which shows its affinity for water (higher) or oil (lower).

    Mono and diglycerides (HLB 4) are very commonly used. Polysorbate 60 would be higher up the scale - 16. Commercial formulas use combinations of differing HLB emulsifiers to suit various products. But this is way beyond the scope of this discussion.

    Propylene glycol is generally not used as an emulsifier. If you read the label you will see it says "propylene glycol monoesters" which we call PGMS which is an emulsifier. If you are just reading propylene glycol (food grade) farther down a label it probably is being used as a carrier for a flavor.

    Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (the 2 was dropped some years back) is a dough conditioner that complexes with gluten protein and starch. It is one of the few that both strengthens and softens. It has a max use level of 0.5% based on flour as per the FDA. Generally used in yeast products for machinability, inc volume, improved grain and texture and extended shelf life. It has found its way into cake batters in recent years for its softening qualities.

    Gums, such as guar and xanthan, bind water and will give batters a different texture than a batter without them. Gums thicken or "gel" and depending on the gum or gum combinations used the effect is directed towards the end product. There are many other gums beyond this. By the way most gums are from natural sources such as seeds, pods & extrudates of trees and seaweed. No problem there. Dried egg products can be listed as "eggs" if there is enough water elsewhere in the formula to reconstitute.

    Most supermarket instore bakeries buy mixes to which they add water (or maybe eggs and shortening) or buy batter frozen in pails or buy frozen plugs which they just put into the holes in the pans. I have seen the frozen plugs put directly into the oven but I am not aware of the baking conditions that were set.

    You can not duplicate commercial baking oven in the home. Supermarkets generally use rack ovens. The racks turn and air is constantly moved making for a very quick bake. Commercial bakeries use tunnel ovens where there is control over the top and bottom heat of many zones. There are now hybrid ovens, combinations of convection, radiant, direct/indirect heat, impingement and microwave.

    Browning of the tops of cakes is due to the carmelization of the sugars. Also, the Maillard reaction which involves the interaction of proteins and free reducing sugars. The shine could be just a result of formulation but could also be a spray that is applied soon after the pan is taken from the oven. Various "shine" products are available to the commercial market generally to take the place of egg wash before or after bake.

    You will have a very difficult time obtaining some of the ingredients you see on commercial labels as the companies that sell them only deal with large bakeries or mix houses. You could try to call ingredient manufacturers and ask for samples but they will want to know who you are. Maybe you could make up business name and bluff your way through.

    Finally, sometimes there are just some things you can't duplicate. The largest food R&Ds are sometimes frustrated trying to figure out how their competitor did something. There are "trade secrets" out there no matter how hard you try. But I am amazed at what length you have gone to. I hope you're having a good time.