Replacing some original fat in chocolate muffins with soluble cocoa fibre could also improve texture and shelf life of muffins, whilst having minimal effects on final taste, according to findings published in LWT - Food Science and Technology.
The study led by Susana Fiszman from the Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (CSIC) indicates that “soluble cocoa fibre is an encouraging option for replacing oil in a chocolate muffin formulation.”
Consumers take a great interest in food ingredients, and highly value products that are healthy or are seen to be making efforts to improve nutritional value.
The idea of replacing ingredients with healthier alternatives is not new, with previous research including assessing the potential for replacing flour with fiber in bakery products, as well as replacing wheat flour with resistant starch in biscuits.
The new study aimed to consider the effects of reducing a chocolate muffin’s fat content by replacing part of the oil ingredient (25, 50 and 75 per cent) with soluble cocoa fibre.
Fiszman and her team then measured the texture, composition, appearance, and colour of the muffins, and also performed a descriptive sensory analysis to compare the muffins flavour and texture.
The study shows the addition of soluble cocoa fibre as a fat replacer gives muffins a more tender and crumbly feel, with a more compact and less aerated crumb.
Only muffins with 75 per cent fat replacement were found to be significantly smaller than the control samples, with the researchers suggesting that the loss in size could reflect an imbalance in formulation, recommending that this may be rectified with further investigation.
Fat replacement muffins were also found to have a lower staling rate, with the hardness of the control tripling over 28 days whilst much lower values were seen in the soluble cocoa fibre samples.
The study reveals several advantages to adding soluble cocoa fibre to muffins, such as higher moisture, a more tender and crumbly texture, and reduced the signs of hardening during storage.
However the study outlines points that need to be improved on, such as the loss of height (size), perception of bitter taste, and increased surface stickiness.
“A study to attempt to correct the height by reformulating the leavening agent or beating the egg whites more before adding them to the batter and to correct the lack of a typical chocolate flavour and colour by adding a small quantity of cocoa to all the formulations would make it possible to conduct a wide-ranging consumer acceptance study with information on the very considerable fat reduction and high fibre content of the new products,” stated the researchers.
Source: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2010.06.035
“Cocoa fibre and its application as a fat replacer in chocolate muffins”
Authors: S. Martínez-Cervera, A. Salvador, B. Muguerza, L. Moulay, S.M. Fiszman.