Standard potassium bicarbonate is not much use as a replacement for baking soda in products such as biscuits, pound cake and hotplate products because the particles are too large, Kudos Blends technical director Dinnie Jordan told FoodNavigator-USA.com.
“It’s like granulated sugar, and it won’t dissolve fast enough, which means it doesn’t release the available carbon dioxide in baked products and you are left with products that don’t rise properly with unsightly spotting: dark spots of undissolved particles.”
However, if you try to address the problem by grinding potassium bicarbonate down to reduce its particle size, it becomes too hygroscopic and sticks together, making it useless for industrial bakers, said Jordan.
To tackle the problem, Kudos Blends – a baking powder specialist based in Worcestershire, UK - has developed a patented process that produces tiny, free-flowing particles of potassium bicarbonate that have the same functionality as sodium bicarbonate – but without the sodium, or the unsightly spots, said Jordan.
US market offers huge potential for sodium reduction products
The product had been so successful that 50% of Kudos’ business was now in low sodium solutions, said Jordan. And the market potential in the US was clear. “The US is very analogous to the UK in terms of the kinds of products that benefit most from this product, and the growing demand to reduce sodium.”
The latest generation of the product – released in the UK last month – will be launched in the US in June at IFT, she said. “We’ve just sold our first few pallets to the US, but the big push will be at IFT.”
Importantly, manufacturers using the microscopic potassium bicarbonate did not have to change the way they worked to achieve significant sodium reductions in products such as pancakes, waffles and biscuits, she said.
“You can replace sodium bicarbonate in a recipe 1:1 with our potassium bicarbonate without having to change your recipe or your processes and bake times, and achieve a 50 percent sodium reduction.”
Typically products would still contain some sodium from other ingredients such as added salt or leavening agents such as sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP), she explained. “Some companies say leave the sodium bicarbonate, but take out the [sodium-containing] phosphates instead, but that is much more challenging.
“It’s the phosphates such as SAPP that govern the speed of the carbon dioxide release and give you other benefits.”