Wafers have moved beyond their role as an accompaniment to ice cream. In Eastern Europe, for example, they have risen to become the primary product type in the bar market. As their popularity grows, protein enrichment stands out as a promising opportunity to satisfy consumer demand for innovative variations on the wafer theme.
Until now, most protein addition to wafer products has focused on enrichment of the fat-based filling. But, while the filling may contain up to 24% protein, the protein content of the overall product is significantly lower if the wafer only has a protein content of around 8%.
What stops manufacturers from adding more protein to the wafer sheet?
You don’t have to look further than these four challenges:
• Poor mould release
• Excessive browning and a burnt taste
• Low crispiness
• Increased batter viscosity
The challenges arise when using a standard whey protein concentrate which typically contains around 7% lactose. When wafers are baked under pressure, lactose tends to burn, causing the wafer sheet to stick to the mould. Lactose also contributes to the Maillard reaction, leading to browning and a potential burnt off-taste, if the reaction is excessive.
Although a standard whey protein concentrate improves wafer crispiness, the downsides of the lactose outweigh this positive effect long before the optimum protein level is reached.
Finally, protein addition is known to have high gelling properties, causing the viscosity of wafer batter to increase. This is an issue during processing, when the batter is sprayed on to the warm baking mould. Blocked spray nozzles are a likely outcome.
The solution is in the whey protein
Whey protein is not just whey protein. The right choice can both eliminate the lactose issue and keep batter viscosity at an optimum level for efficient processing.
At Arla Foods Ingredients, our application specialists have good experience with up to 26% protein enrichment of wafer sheets using Nutrilac® whey protein isolates. Not only that, the specific gelling properties of these proteins ensures the crispiness that matches consumer expectations.
Our pilot plant is equipped to simulate industrial wafer processes. Just get in touch if you’ve got a protein enrichment challenge you need to solve. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo source Arla Foods Ingredients