Honey, molasses and malt extract have long been incorporated into food products for many other reasons besides their natural sweetening abilities—among them color, aroma, browning, texture, better moisture retention and improved shelf life.
In some cases, these benefits are outweighed by process and product constraints, especially in volume baking applications.
“ADM Milling’s dry sweeteners products retain all of the desirable properties while eliminating the flavor and color variability, handling difficulties and storage problems inherent with their liquid counterparts,” Brook Carson, director of R&D at ADM Milling in Overland Park, KS, told FoodNavigator-USA as part of our special edition on sweeteners.
Most importantly, though, is dry sweeteners are simply easier to use when it comes to scaling and temperature, with very little waste, Carson added.
“Dry sweeteners have been converted into a free flowing powder that has similar granulation to sugar. It can be easily scaled when using in food applications," she said, noting that because the products are dry, they are not affected by temperature.
“They can be used at room temperature and would not need to be heated like liquid honey or molasses before being used.
"There is also the possibility with liquid sweetener that during heating, it can become overheated and cause color and flavor change. With a dry product, manufacturers can get all of the ingredients out of the container. With liquid honey or molasses, the loss in the drum or pail can be as high as 10%."
And because dry honey and molasses are not affected by cold temperatures, either, normal warehouse conditions can be used for storage.
Resistant to caking in storage
ADM’s dry honey, molasses and malt extract products are made using a patented process through which the liquid materials are dried on wheat starch carriers and converted to free-flowing powders. Using wheat starch makes the powders less hygroscopic and more resistant to caking in storage compared to other carriers, Carson said, adding that it also facilitates absorption and thickening in many food systems during the baking process as the starch gelatinizes.
From ice cream, baked products and cereals to candies, beverages, batters and sauces, dry sweeteners are fairly easy to incorporate into most formulas, and don't require additional equipment or notable changes in procedure. Dry sweetener can be scaled like sugar or salt that is typically found in most formulations, though it should generally be incorporated with other dry ingredients rather than separately pre-hydrating it before adding it to an existing formula.
“Experience has shown that we can replace the liquid sweetener in formulas developed with liquid honey or molasses pound for pound with dry honey and dry molasses.
"In fact, it is very common to replace the liquid sweetener with the dry sweetener at 10-20% and still have the same flavor and color in the finished application,” she added.