You may not have used lecithin when baking at home, but you must have eaten it either knowingly or unknowingly. Most home bakers are not familiar with using lecithin, but many commercial bakers always use lecithin in baking.
Lecithin acts as an emulsifier for baking ingredients. This means that it helps combine ingredients that mainly repel each, such as water and oil. It is also used as a stabilizer which means that it helps to keep most baking products on the shelves for longer.
Lecithin is usually derived from various products such as sunflower, soy, or eggs. That is why you will see that most home baking involves eggs because the eggs have lecithin that acts as an emulsifier.
Now, let’s leave the egg lecithin and focus on the two most widely used types of lecithin: soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin. Soy lecithin is derived from soybeans, while sunflower lecithin is extracted from sunflower. Both of these can be used for baking, but we are focusing on the best to use for baking.
What is Lecithin?
Lecithin is a natural stabilizer and emulsifier, meaning that it is a natural preservative that adds more shelf life to a product. By an emulsifier, we mean that it harmoniously combines two ingredients that repel each other.
Lecithin has water-soluble and oil-soluble abilities that help it in making it a good emulsifier. However, home bakers mostly use eggs while baking, which is why they may not be familiar with lecithin.
However, commercial bakers use lecithin to act as a stabilizer for their baking. That is why you might not have used it in your cooking or baking, but you might have been eating it all through the years.
Why is lecithin Used in Baking?
As stated, home bakers may not have used lecithin, but they must have used lecithin in eggs in their baking. Commercial bakers, however, can swear on the effectiveness of lecithin in their baking. So why do commercial bakers love lecithin? First, as stated above, lecithin is a natural preservative, which means that when used in baking products, longer shelf life is guaranteed.
Secondly, lecithin is used as an emulsifier in baking. In baking, some ingredients don’t mix well; an example of this is vinegar and oil. After you have whisked the two, they may seem to have mixed well, but this is temporary. However, if you use lecithin on them, they will emulsify and mix well.
With that said, there are many types and forms of lecithin that you can use for baking, whether for home baking or commercial baking. There is also a wide range of lecithin brands that you can use for your baking. You need to ensure that you are sourcing lecithin from a trusted and genuine lecithin supplier like National Lecithin. After finding a good source for your lecithin, the big question remains, which lecithin is best for baking?
Forms of Lecithin Used for Baking
Lecithin is manufactured in three main forms, which include liquid, powder, and granulated lecithin. Different people love using different forms, so it is impossible to point out the best form of lecithin for baking.
- Powder lecithin: it can also be referred to as dried lecithin because this form of lecithin has had all of its moisture dried out. It is also oil-free and easier to dissolve than granulated lecithin.
- Lecithin granules: it is the most challenging form of lecithin to dissolve, and it will take more effort and time to dissolve than any other form of lecithin.
- Liquid lecithin: It has a yellow or brown color; it is odorless and has a bland taste. It is the easiest lecithin to dissolve.
There are three main types of lecithin which include soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin, and egg yolk.
- Egg yolk: eggs contain lecithin, which is why you will see it in a lot of baking.
- Soy lecithin: soy lecithin is derived from soybeans, and although it is widely used in processed foods, the FDA has branded it as an allergen. Soy lecithin is the yellow or brown extract substance from soybeans.
- Sunflower lecithin: this type of lecithin is extracted naturally from sunflowers. Many consider sunflower lecithin very healthy when compared to soy lecithin.
Soy Lecithin vs. Sunflower Lecithin: Which is the Best for Baking?
Among the types of lecithin, sunflower lecithin and soy lecithin are the most used types of lecithin in both cooking and baking. So, which one is the best?
Sunflower lecithin is a healthier option when it comes to baking for many. Many people tend to be allergic to soybeans but do not have similar reactions to sunflower. Also, soy lecithin is considered to have many chemicals as compared to sunflower lecithin.
When you think of eggs as good lecithin, you will find that still, some people are highly allergic to eggs. This makes sunflower lecithin better than eggs as lecithin for baking. With sunflower lecithin, you can offer your baked edibles to many people.
Powdered or Liquid Lecithin?
There are three forms of lecithin that you can use, but lecithin granules are difficult to dissolve, so many people do not prefer them. Powdered and liquid lecithin, however, is the most preferred. But which one is best for baking?
If you are in for a low-fat content, then powder lecithin can be your best bet. Also, powder lecithin is easier to mix than lecithin granules but still difficult to mix than liquid lecithin. Powder lecithin is also easier to clean as compared to liquid lecithin.
On the other hand, Liquid lecithin is the easiest to dissolve than both lecithin granules and powder lecithin. So, when choosing which form of lecithin is the best for baking, it all depends on your liking.
Hopefully, the information above will help you in choosing your best lecithin for baking. Health-wise you can go for sunflower lecithin, which is considered to be the purest and all-natural. However, liquid lecithin is your best bet when you are looking for lecithin that will not make your mixing of ingredients harder than it already is. Either way, do not ignore the power of lecithin when baking, as many people do. It can do the magic!