How do you feel when you see a perfectly fluffy bread or cake in a shop window? A pleasure feeling will immediately cover your heart and you want to enjoy it as soon as possible, right? There is an extraordinary taste of this fluffy cake. However, have you ever imagined what kind of ingredients makes a cake or bread expand so well with a taste quality that is maintained until the last bite? That’s the act of the emulsifier that makes your eyes turn to the display case in the bakery.
What is an Emulsifier?
Emulsifier is an additive in food products that function as a stabilizer in emulsions. Pharmaceutical products also use a lot of emulsifiers. In foods such as cakes, bread, and ice cream, an emulsifier acts as an additive to maintain the consistent shape of the food. Foods that use emulsifier additives with a certain amount will appear to expand with a taste that is never changed.
Why Do Certain Foods Need Emulsifiers?
Not all foods need an emulsifier. The type of food that requires this chemical compound is usually in the form of food that can be stored for a long time and the texture after the production is chewy or fluffy.
An emulsifier in food is one of many chemical additives that promote the suspension of one liquid in another. The closest example is in a mixture of oil and water in margarine or salad dressing. Several emulsifiers are derived from natural materials such as algae, algin, and lecithin. Lecithin is found in egg yolks. Egg yolks are a natural emulsifying agent that cake makers often use to make their cakes look good, fluffy, and taste just right.
In mayonnaise products, the emulsifier evenly distributes the oil-soluble flavor compounds throughout the product. While in frozen products, the emulsifier prevents the formation of huge ice crystals. Furthermore, in some baked products, the emulsifying agent can increase the volume, taste uniformity, and smoothness of the texture.
The mustard you eat in your burger also contains several chemicals that act together as emulsifiers. In addition, there are emulsifiers in the form of sodium phosphate, soy lecithin, sodium stearoyl lactylate, homogeneous milk, Pickering stabilizer, and diacetyl tartaric acid ester of monoglyceride.
Some bakeries, beverage manufacturers, and frozen food manufacturers are enjoying using emulsifiers such as modified starch, galactomannans, gum arabic, pectin, and modified cellulose. They don’t have to bother with providing lots of natural materials which are sometimes much more expensive than hydrocolloid emulsifiers.
When we talk about emulsifiers, we will find CMC or carboxyl methylcellulose as a stabilizer. Salad dressing makers usually use CMC in their products. People will feel comfortable when eating salads with toppings and mayonnaise without feeling too oily or too runny and watery.
How to Use Natural Emulsifier?
We will take the simplest example of eggs as a natural emulsifier. Eggs are easy to get and abundant in the market. Eggs contain a substance called lecithin which acts as an emulsifier. This natural emulsifier can break down fat into smaller particles through its chemical reaction. Your dough is not clumping and the distribution of fat particles is evenly throughout other substances.
Using eggs as an emulsifier is quite simple. You just need to add the egg yolks one by one into the butter and sugar while constantly stirring. Mixing it requires a technique such as stirring each yolk well before adding the next egg yolk.
Emulsifier in Medicine
The pharmaceutical industries also use emulsifiers in the manufacturing process of their products. The main purpose is to cover the unpleasant taste of the medicine, facilitate the digestive process, and make it easier for daily application.
Medicine usually uses emulsion type O/W or oil in water. It is an emulsion consisting of oil droplets dispersed into water. Have you found the product of fish oil-based children’s vitamin supplements? This is an example of a medicinal product with an emulsifier. The taste of the supplement becomes delicious and fresh. The unpleasant smell of fish oil can be covered with a fresh scent that children love. It’s all because of the emulsion preparation.
What a delicious cake our mother made because of the yolk in it. Without some egg yolk, sponge cake, or any kind of cake it would be hard and have no traction in the throat. Eggs make cakes delicious, nutritious, and soft so we love to eat them over and over again. Egg yolk is an example of a natural emulsifier that we have known from the past until now.
The mayonnaise that we consume in burgers also becomes stable, not runny, and doesn’t make it nauseous to swallow because there is egg yolk which contains lecithin in the right dose. Besides egg yolks, other natural emulsifiers that are often used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries are algae. When the needs for these natural emulsifiers are high, they are starting to be shifted by synthetic emulsifiers.
When many entrepreneurs have to use natural emulsifiers such as milk, eggs, and soy lecithin in their food or pharmaceutical business, they will find it difficult. They will use a synthetic emulsifier to change the natural one. This synthetic emulsifier is in the form of a powder is known as CMC or carboxyl methylcellulose. Salad dressing products that we often encounter already use CMC so people will feel comfortable eating salad with toppings and mayonnaise without feeling too greasy or too runny and mushy.
You can buy this synthetic emulsifier from a company that has a license for its product and has been proven to produce emulsifiers that are safe for both short and long-term use. You can ask people who ever tried that product or read some reviews from the company’s website. When you have any doubt to buy from one company, so you need to move to another company’s product.