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An Overview of Lecithin: Its Uses in Baking, Confectionary, Snacks, and as a Supplement.

May 14, 2018

Lecithin is a natural stabilizer and emulsifier, which also goes by the name of lecithin. It is commonly found in fatty substances in animal and plant tissues. It is frequently used in commercial baking, and is found in different forms like in egg yolks. This is the reason why you will find eggs being used in creating emulsions.

What is Lecithin?

The best thing about lecithin is that it is an extremely high-performing stabilizer and emulsifier, and is an important fat for every cell in the body. It is naturally found in foods like soybeans and egg yolks, and is commonly found in baked products and packaged foods today. You can take lecithin as a health supplement or naturally to improve brain activity and memory, the skin, gall bladder and liver health, and cholesterol. It is so widely loved that you will find lecithin in many cosmetic products like creams and lipsticks too!

Lecithin is available in liquid and powered form, which is a highly processed version. It is often removed from eggs or soy to enhance its purity and strength. You can also use lecithin as a substitute when you don’t want to use eggs in any dishes. The most commonly used lecithins are the following: Soy Lecithin, Organic Soy Lecithin, Sunflower Lecithin, and Organic Sunflower Lecithin.

What is Lecithin Used For?

Lecithin is used for holding emulsions together. You will commonly find lecithin in packaged foods because of its fine qualities as an emulsifier and stabilizer. It is also the main reason why egg yolks work excellently for stabilizing sauces like Hollandaise, aioli’s, and mayonnaise. It is used in modern cooling for adding moisture tolerance and elasticity to doughs, creating airs and light foams, and holding vinaigrettes.

What Is Lecithin Good For?

The fatty substance in lecithin is produced naturally in the body, and is also found in plants. You can choose to extract it from lecithin supplements, and animal and plant sources. The body needs lecithin to properly function, because there are a lot of important functions that lecithin servers, which impact the overall health of your body.

 Sources of Lecithin

The soy plant is known for producing lecithin, but it isn’t the only one. The human body also produces lecithin naturally in the liver. However, it is recommended that you should acquire lecithin from the foods you are eating daily to maintain peak health.

You can also consume sufficient lecithin for your body in the form of supplements, which come in liquid form and in capsules.

 Essential for Cell Production

The human body needs a certain amount of lecithin to properly function because it is essential for cell production. Doctors also prescribe lecithin supplements to pregnant women in their prenatal vitamin regime, because developing fetuses need more lecithin.

 Processing Vitamins

Lecithin is well known for containing a lot of fatty acids, but these aren’t harmful fatty acids. This is because these fatty acids have high quantities of lecithin in them. The fat content ensures that your body can adequately process vitamins that are fat-soluble like vitamins A, D, E, and K by helping them absorb and breakdown nutrients.

How Do You Add Lecithin to a Liquid?

Lecithin has a lot of great qualities, and is also used to blend into liquids at any temperature. It starts working immediately, and is blended into the liquid before the oil when making an emulsion. Lecithin is used with other thickeners and stabilizers to provide an additional effect.

Benefits of Using Lecithin:

If we start getting into the benefits of using lecithin, we won’t be able to finish, so we will just highlight a few benefits briefly to give you a general idea. Lecithin has high contents of choline, which makes it perfect for use as a supplement. The micronutrient choline is integral for brain development and heart health in the body.

Role of Lecithin in Biscuits – Bakery Products:

  • It performs as emulsifier.

  • It evens distribution of ingredients.

  • It reduces fat and egg requirement.

  • It simplifies cleaning and prevents sticking.

How to Make a Lecithin Emulsion?

Lecithin is commonly used to stabilize emulsions, and adding lecithin powder will thicken and bind the emulsion. This adds a subtle creamy texture to the emulsion, and holds it together longer before breaking apart. The good news is that you can easily stabilize an emulsion with lecithin, as all you need to do is add the lecithin into the emulsion, and watch as it begins stabilizing it. You should add around 0.5% to 1% of lecithin to an emulsion based on the weight of the liquid.

Lecithin is a clean label emulsifier

Lecithin is the best clean label emulsifier because it comes from natural sources. If you have previously used clean label emulsifiers in baking, you must understand the challenge of finding the right emulsifier. There is none better on the market, and you will find a lot of non-GMO, organic, and natural lecithin products. Some of the foods that contain natural lecithin include:

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Soybeans

  • Eggs

  • Animal sources

The best part about lecithin is that it is great for baked goods, as it helps improve the color and texture, while improving machineability, acting as an accelerating agent, and helping create fluffy and light foams. It can also help the dough outlast a deep freeze.

How to Use Lecithin in Baking?

There are several ways of using lecithin in baking, and we are covering a few of them:

 

 As a Dough Conditioner

   Step 1

Take around ½ to 1 tsp of lecithin for every cup of flour.

   Step 2

Dissolve the lecithin in the liquid.

   Step 3

Prepare the baked goods and bake them until done.

  Step 4

Taste and evaluate the baked goods, and if the texture hasn’t improved or is still stale, then you should add more lecithin in the next batch. If you can taste a distinct flavor of lecithin, you should reduce quantity when making the next batch.

 In Eggless Baking

  Step 1

Dissolve 1 ½ tbsp. of lecithin in 2 tsp of water for every egg yolk in your recipe.

  Step 2

If you are replacing a whole egg, add around 1 ½ tbsp. of water.

  Step 3

Add flavorings, and fats, to bind the ingredients and complement the lecithin and compensate the lack of eggs in your dish.

Important Tips

You should use smaller quantities of lecithin when adding it into quick breads, muffins, and cakes. This will ensure that the goods have a softer texture, and have more shelf life. Yeast breads that already have dough-softening ingredients like butter, sugar, or milk will require less quantities of lecithin. You should start with a larger quantity for breads that don’t have these enriching ingredients or have a coarse texture due to whole-grain flour.

Eggless is complicated, but adding emulsifier or lecithin will bind the milk to the butter faster. This is where lecithin works amazingly, but it doesn’t add the flavor livening, fat, and binding that you get with eggs. When adding lecithin into baked goods like cookies and cakes, you should add around ½ tsp of baking powder to get that light texture.

What Are the Advantages of Using Lecithin?

Lecithin comes from the fat-soluble family of molecules, also known as phospholipids, which is integral for cell membranes. The body acquire lecithin from foods like peanuts, yeast, legumes, wheat germ, soybeans, fish, and egg yolks. You will also find lecithin as a dietary supplement, and it has been graded as “GRAS” or generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Features

The Nutritional Supplement Educational Center states that all the cells in the body require lecithin. It helps improve nutritional absorption by calls and prevents the hardening of the cell membrane. Lecithin also helps the body breakdown fat, and is the main element of bile. The Nutritional Supplement Educational Center also reports that having low levels of lecithin increases the risk of gallstones. So, if you consume lecithin supplements, you will improve gall bladder health, and prevent gallstones.

Cholesterol

Lecithin helps fats mix with other body fluids and water. The NSEC states that lecithin dissolves cholesterol in the blood, making it easier to remove from the body. This helps prevent heart disease and atherosclerosis, but there are currently no clinical studies that support the claim of lecithin preventing atherosclerosis.

Liver Health

One of the most important components of lecithin is phosphatidylcholine, which is beneficial for treating liver disorders like acute viral hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, diabetic fatty liver, decreased bile solubility, cirrhosis of the liver, toxic liver damage, and drug or alcohol induced liver damage. However, there are currently no clinical studies that support the claim of phosphatidylcholine treating liver disease.

Nutrition and Food Processing

Lecithin is rich in GLA or gamma-linoleic acid, which helps keep blood thin, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and pain, prevents blockages and clots, and keeps the blood thin. Lecithin is known for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K. It also improves shelf-life of processed foods, and dissolves fat molecules in food products.

The amazing food processing and nutritional properties of lecithin, makes it incredibly popular for use in processed foods like protein powders, instant soups, prepared foods, nut butters, salad dressings, candies, and chocolate.

Why Is Lecithin a Good Emulsifier?

Do you know what keeps the dressing on your salad and the cream in your coffee together? Emulsifiers. They stop water and oil from splitting, and lecithin is one of the best natural emulsifiers. It increases good cholesterol, and prevents separation of foods. Here are some more properties that make lecithin an incredible emulsifier:

Emulsifiers

Mixtures of oil and water tend to separate, because water and oil repel each other. This is where an emulsifier helps, because it keeps the oil in your sauce or mayonnaise from drifting apart.

Surface Active Agents

When you mix an emulsifier, with water and oil, it will cover the oil droplets, and that is why it is known as a surface-active agent. The surface-active agents give more stability, and therefore ensures that foods stick together, instead of separating.

Lecithin Structure

As an emulsifier lecithin consists of five smaller molecules, and is backed with glycerol, which bonds the other three molecules. Two of these molecules are hydrophobic fatty acids, but these are the ones that provide lecithin with its structure. The third molecule is phosphoric acid, which has an amino alcohol known as choline.

Lecithin in Emulsions

The main reason lecithin is such a great emulsifier is because the hydrophobic end dissolves in oil droplets, and the hydrophilic end dissolves in water. Lecithin stays at the edge of oil droplets, and that enables the emulsion to remain stable for a long time.

Weight Loss

Lecithin is extremely beneficial for helping the body break down the blood and dietary fats. This ensures the fatty acids can be metabolized for energy, instead of being stored as fat. Lecithin acts as an effective fat burner, which helps you with weight loss.

conclusion

There are a lot of different emulsifiers that are used in baking, and processed goods, but none are as popular as lecithin. It has a lot of benefits as an emulsifier, with the biggest plus point being that it is naturally occurring in the body, and can be consumed from different organic foods. If you are looking to use lecithin in your baking, then you came to the right place, because Maverik Oils offers different lecithin products in various packaging’s from truckload, tote, drum, and pail.

We guarantee the best price and the highest quality for our lecithin products, so come out the incredible range of products we have. Lecithin has a lot of benefits, and there are a lot of reasons to use it in your baking, so check out our products at Maverik Oils today.

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