• Improve Dairy Protein Hydration to Unlock High Protein Solutions

    By Rohit Kapoor July 11, 2019


    According to data from Innova Market Insights, global new product launches with protein claims have nearly doubled since 2014. As a result, the marketplace is seeing increased usage of higher protein containing dairy ingredients such as whey or milk protein concentrates and isolates in food products.

    A technical session on “Increasing Dairy Protein Hydration: A Fresh Look Using New Age Tools” was held at the 2019 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans. Attendees learned the mechanisms behind proper hydration of high protein powders, what factors impact it, today’s best practices to avoid product defects, and emerging techniques to measure and improve the hydration. 

    With the rise of innovations using proteins, it’s important for formulators to understand that achieving a complete hydration of dairy protein powders is a must for ensuring clarity, heat stability and satisfactory sensory characteristics in the finished beverage or food product. For example, if the protein is not properly hydrated prior to use in the finished food or beverage, it may cause product quality defects such as, grainy/chalky texture, precipitation, separation, or a general lack of water binding in the finished product. While hydration is not technically complex, it’s often not executed correctly.

    Here is a summary of what was presented to ensure complete hydration and optimal functionality in food and beverage applications:

    • Processing and storage conditions of powders can impact rehydration characteristics of commercially produced milk protein concentrates.
    • Differences in breed, season, and milk supply have an impact on the composition of milk, specifically, protein ratios (casein: whey) and mineral content. These differences affect the solubility of the milk proteins.
    • Care must be taken when concentrating and drying the milk proteins to ensure they remain soluble and functional.
      • For example, concentrating using filtration technologies which require less heat, can be used to produce milk powders with higher solubility than those concentrated via traditional evaporation methods.
      • Additionally, dryer inlet and outlet temperatures may be adjusted down and/or minerals removed to maintain the solubility of the finished powder during storage which helps ensure the quality and consistency of dairy protein powders for export markets.
    • When used in food and beverage products, the use of moderate to high shear mixers (i.e., shear pump, homogenizer, or likwifier) to rehydrate dairy protein powders is recommended. If used, hydrocolloids should be dissolved in water or melted fat at appropriate activation temperatures prior to blending with the hydrated protein solution to ensure a homogeneous mix.
    • Based upon lab results, milk proteins require longer hydration time than whey proteins. Best practices are to mix whey proteins in warm water for a minimum of 30 minutes and mix milk proteins in warm water for a minimum of 60 minutes to ensure complete hydration.
    • Until recently, existing techniques for measuring solubility have been expensive or have lacked enough detail to help manufacturers assess powder quality during processing and storage.
      • Researchers at Kansas State University found a low-cost and hand-held ultrasonic flaw detector has the potential for monitoring rehydration properties of high protein powders and predicting finished product solubility. 
      • Preliminary research evaluating electrical resistance tomography is also underway in hopes of providing a non-invasive, fast and low-cost method for imaging and monitoring rehydration of high protein ingredients. If successful, these techniques could provide manufacturers a better understanding of rehydration properties during processing and storage to maximize protein functionality for food formulations.
      • Lastly, researchers are currently testing atomic force microscopy as a new method of assessing protein morphology—adding soluble casein isolate to milk protein to see if it would enhance solubility. Initial results are favorable, but further work is required to completely understand the impact of the morphological change on finished product characteristics.

    Session speakers included KJ Burrington with the WI Center for Dairy Research Applications Lab, Dr. Chenchaiah Marella with Idaho Milk Products, Dr. Jayendra Amamcharla with Kansas State University and Dr. Daiki Murayama with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Visit ThinkUSAdairy.org for more information on usage of U.S. dairy protein ingredient innovation opportunities and to access the technical report Understanding the Role of Dairy Proteins in Product Performance.

    Dairy Ingredients Market Insights Global Dairy Proteins Global Market IFT
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