Organic Functional Ingredients & Organic Potato Starch: Bakery applications

In many cases organic food differs from conventional only in that the raw material is from organic farming. The processing might be exactly the same. However there are some important restrictions in the organic regulation due to which there are challenges in organic food development. The most notable are much shorter list of accepted additives and technical aids and absence of chemically modified starches from the organic tool kit. Often – and with good reason – organic food developers want to go even further and try to avoid even those additives that are allowed and overall try to develop more wholesome and natural foods with a clean label. 

Challenges of Organic Food Processing 
•Raw-material & ingredients: availability, volume, price, quality, specs, quality systems, certifications, residues etc
• Develop organic food that meets consumers’ expectations: a mainstream copy or whole food product? What is natural? 
• Separate, refine and recombine - or use natural raw materials?
• How to combine traditional with modern?
• Limited list of allowed additives & clean your label even more than required? 
• Starches: no chemical modifications allowed and very few clean label starches
• Organic Protein Isolates: do we really want or need them? 

To tackle these challenges we offer Organic Potato Starch with the best functionality a native starch can offer and Protein Flours based on Organic Brown Peas and Fava Beans. Of the later we are publishing separate application articles on www.organicpeaprotein.eu.

We are arranging a Webinar on Organic Baking on 17.6.2020. Please join by registering here.

Organic Potato Starch 

Potato starch is not just starch, it is an ingredient with a wide range of functionalities in different applications – in some cases it can even be considered a hydrocolloid. This is especially interesting for product development of organic products. Why native potato starch is so special compared to other native starches is that starch in potatoes is not only about storing energy to the next season. Potatoes are 70% water and also that water needs to remain in the potato from harvest to the next spring. A dried out potato will not sprout. Therefore starch, fibres and protein in potato are ”designed” for effective water binding. Potato starch can bind up to 6 times its weight of water! 

The production of potato starch is a mechanical wet process that can be repeated in your kitchen sink.

You might think that potato starch is a highly refined foodstuff that does not fit into the wholefood way of thought. However potato starch is a traditional product and so simple to produce that you can do it in your home kitchen and house wives in Europe 100 years ago did. Even Incas in South America knew how to produce potato starch 4000 years ago. Organic potato starch production is a mechanical wet process involving no chemicals. Both in kitchen and industry it is used as a functional ingredient for some specific purpose – not just because ”we like it”. Potato starch can be used in almost any sweet or savoury application because it has no taste or colour, so you only get the technical functionality you are looking for.

In the conventional food development the raw material origin of starch is not critical – the needed functionality can be achieved with chemical modifications. In organics the raw material origin of starch becomes crucial and it totally defines what functionality can be achieved. Often what can be done with potato starch can not be achieved with corn or wheat starch or tapioca! The other crucial difference is that in most cases a starch factory can not produce a physical starch modification and put it in a bag for sale – but it is fully possible for the food processor to manage the starch modification in their food process. How to do that is what we want to share with our customers.  

The Amylograph of Potato Starch illustrates what happens when potato starch is first heated in a water solution and then cooled down (on horizontal axis is the temperature of the solution; on vertical axis viscosity).

While heating potato starch in water the starch granules start to take up water and swell. When the temperature has reached appr. 60°C the granules are so swollen that they start to give viscosity. Further heating increases the viscosity and the granules become like balloons. At appr. 75°C the granules are swollen to their maximum. Further heating starts to break the granules which continues until all the granules are completely broken into a solution. When cooling the solution retrogradation takes place and gel is created. The exact process depends of course on the concentration of the starch and other solids. All these different phases offer different functionality and possibilities for food processing in temperatures that are applicable in most food processing. Therefore organic potato starch is a natural functional ingredient with several potential application areas.

The Amylograph of Potato Starch is unique in that the whole process of transforming into different phases happens in a temperature range that is normal in food processing. Other native starches require much higher temperatures and energy input and therefore do not offer comparable application solutions as Potato Starch. This is especially important in Organic Food Processing where chemical starch modifications can not be used.

The two key properties of potato starch – compared to other starches – are 

A typical home cooking application in all Eastern and Central Europe is Berry Kissel. Just mix berries, water and sugar, heat to a boil, mix potato starch in cold water and slowly add into the hot blend and boil gently to bubble.
Materials:
5 dl fresh organic or wild berries
7 dl water
1,5 dl sugar
4 table spoons organic potato starch
1 dl water
sprinkle some sugar on top.
  1. high water binding capacity and viscosity creation and 
  2. the relatively low temperature were the starch water binding peaks and opens up possibilities for other functionalities.
Organic Potato Starch 
- Fast swelling at lower temperature (start at 57°C and max at 75°C) 
- Very high viscosity at low dosages 
- Possible to create solution with fantastic glueing properties 
- After baking and cooling creates invisible film on all surfaces to prevent moisture migration from inside-out and outside-in 
- With the Pre-gel Potato Starch dough viscosity can be managed before baking 
Crispiness achieved with potato starch

Many of the application possibilities of potato starch relate to the later property. When the starch granules are broken and starch becomes a solution it opens up possibilities to create molecular films, glue or gells. Other starches have much higher peak temperature and therefore require far more energy to create a solution so it is not possible to achieve similar effects at normal food processing temperatures.   

Bakery applications

Organic potato starch is gluten free so it has several benefits in gluten free baking. However it has interesting applications also in standard wheat based baking. 

In wheat based baking the main benefits are … 

Apricot Biscuits
Whip margarine and sugar to a foam. Mix dry ingredients and sieve them into the foam. Roll the dough and take round for heart formed pieces out with a form. Bake in 175°C for 8 minutes and let cool. Fill with marmalade.

Materials:
250 g organic margarine
1 dl organic sugar
2 tea spoons organic vanilla sugar
4 dl organic wheat flour
2 dl organic potato starch
  • increase shelf life, freshness and crispiness of crust (up to 3% of flour)
  • Use as a food glue, f.ex. to glue seeds on bread crust (6% water solution)
  • Stabilises dough in rising process of cakes, muffins etc (prevents collapse)
  • In biscuits and cookies to increase crispiness and preserve crispiness in open air (after package has been opened) (replace up to 10% of the flour) 

Gluten free baking is seldom based on single ingredient flours. Potato starch can constitute up to 20-30% of a gluten-free flour mix. Other starches in gluten free flours are not binding water and creating viscosity to such an extent as potato starches. So potato starch replaces gluten functionality to manage dough texture during the baking process and improves shelf life after. However we recomend to use other starch containing fours that swell at higher temperatures (like peas and beans or grains) to maintain basic structure of the product after baking. 

Maybe the most interesting benefit of organic potato starch for gluten free baking is in managing dough viscosity and water content. Wheat gluten has the extraordinary capability to bind water, create viscosity and texture in cold conditions, i.e. in the dough. Gluten free baking by definition means that this benefit of wheat is lost. So the challenge for the gluten free baker is to make a dough that has enough viscosity to be handled with standard bakery equipment and to retain enough water in the dough so that starches have water available when they start to swell in the heat of the oven. Lack of water in the baking process results in bread that is dry and has a starch mouth feel. 

A common solution is to use hydrocolloids, f.ex. guar gum for this purpose. However hydrocolloids solve the problem of dough viscosity but they are so stable that they do not release the water they bind back to the dough and therefore the bread can still have a starchy mouth feel. However Cold-swelling (pregel) Potato starch can be used to replace hydrocolloids in gluten free baking. In the dough it acts as a hydrocolloid binding water and creating viscosity but when the bread is baked potato starch dissolves and releases the water that thereby is usable for the other starches in the dough. 

A special application where organic potato starch excels is waffles and especially ice cream cone waffles. By substituting up to 30% of wheat flour with organic potato starch you can create a crispy surface that acts effectively as a moisture barrier that prevents moisture from the ice cream from entering the cone. 

A Gluten-free Bread made of Nordic-Baltic raw-materials

Oat flour300
Brown pea flour200
Potato starch200
Water250
Egg (liquid)150
Vegetable oil50
Glucouse syrup45
Potato starch CS20
Vinegar12
Backing powder12
Salt7
You can add 10-12 g dry yeast to improve flavour but baking powder will still be needed.

Baking Powder 

Using organic potato starch in Baking Powder has interesting benefits. Baking powder consists of Sodium Bicarbonate, an acid (f.ex. Tartaric Acid) and a carrier which often is corn starch or wheat starch. Actually the starch has in that case no function in the baking powder apart from bulking the product and diluting the salts to a more manageable blend.

In Aloja’s Organic Baking Powder we use organic potato starch as a carrier but there is a real benefit in doing so. In the baking process potato starch starts to swell at relatively low temperature (<60C) and creates viscosity that helps to hold the dough from collapsing in the early stage of baking when other starches are not swelling yet. Therefore we call our  Organic Baking Powder ”double-function”: it has the normal leavening effect but also helps prevent the collapse of the dough in the oven. If a bakery is blending baking powder components  themselves they can obviously achieve the same effect by adding organic potato starch in the dough. 

Benefits of Organic Potato Starch

Overall there are several benefits to using organic potato starch in baking: 
- Potato starch is 100% allergen free
- Much lower swelling temperature than other starches
- Excellent protective film making properties 
- Strengthens rising effect
- Reduces moisture migration

Of course Organic Potato Starch can not solve all your application challenges. For Emulsification, Foaming (volume) and Texturising we have developed a range of Organic Protein Flours based on Brown Peas and Fava Beans. For more information about what application possibilities in organic food industry those offer please visit www.organicpeaprotein.eu.

Below we are giving a few recipe examples for your inspiration. You can also let us know what you are developing and we can support you with our application know-how.

We are specialists in Organic Food Processing and Organic Functional Ingredients: contact us for application support!

We are arranging a Webinar on Organic Baking on 17.6.2020. Please join by registering here.