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Eggs as a humectant?

eggs humectants lower water activity

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#1 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:10 AM

Hello there,

 

Does anyone know if adding more egg to a recipe will lower water activity in the final product?

 

Most indebted,

 

Chris

 



#2 GMO

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 11:04 AM

Honestly I doubt it unless it's dried egg.  Egg is a pretty high water activity ingredient.  To lower water activity you tend to either need to dehydrate the food in some way (baking, desiccation etc) or add in something which would dissolve and increase the boiling point, e.g. salt or sugar (as that would mimic osmotic pressure on a pathogen cell).  So pure water has an Aw of 1.00 but a saturated salt solution has one of 0.75.

 

There's a useful reference here (p13).  http://www.aeb.org/i...tion_Manual.pdf

 

If you describe your product we might be able to help with some suggestions?



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#3 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 11:11 AM

Thank you GMO

Dried egg would be the preferred option for us as the industry moves away from adding salt and sugar

Also green labels prevents us from adding e numbers such as glycerol for example

 

The product is a Russian style canapé

 

Your input is thoroughly appreciated,

Chris



#4 GMO

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:07 PM

Like a blini?  The cooking process would reduce the water activity and while the water activities of some foodstuffs often surprise me, I'd be surprised if it is a baked or fried product that it would be high enough to cause you micro issues apart from mould spoilage.  Reducing water activity by cooking more is going to have a quality trade off. 

 

If it is spoilage you're looking to control though there are some other options out there other than reducing the water activity.  I'd look at packaging options, e.g. gas flushing or vac pack, control of spores in the environment, there are also some natural ingredients which have impressive shelf life effects.  Rosemary extracts are good for extending meat shelf life for example.  This article may give you a few ideas?  https://cen.acs.org/...servatives.html



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#5 GMO

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:08 PM

Ooh and another idea.  This may seem paradoxical but could you ferment your batter?  Like making a sourdough as the acidity does help with keeping properties, perhaps only a day or so but might be an idea?



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#6 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:22 PM

Thanks again GMO

Exactly like a blini (fried on hotplate)

We are packing in gas flushed packs

Shelf life extension is the aim but require the food safety hurdle of water activity to be below 0.97

Cooking more may simply be the answer

which would make it a CCP currently looking at water activity meters

Fermenting may bring in other food safety issues such as bacillus cereus toxin production



#7 GMO

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:27 PM

Wow, I'm really surprised the water activity is so high after cooking?  The hurdle has no doubt been chosen because someone has asked a question about C. botulinum?  Aw by cooking more would be sensible to do but it would make your Aw a CCP as you say which is difficult to control.  Aw meters though are reasonably inexpensive (surprisingly so).

 

Interesting you mention about b. cereus.  It's not a problem from what I know in sourdoughs, probably I suspect because lactobacilli are also present which not only helps acidify but is a competing micro organism.  Might be worth a thought because the acidity and the microflora may help.  Are blinis not traditionally fermented?



#8 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 07:44 AM

C. botulinum is the reason for the hurdle, not that there is a high risk of it being in any of the raw materials

I've recently tested our batter after 13 hours at 20'C, 25'C and 30'C and the B. cereus count has remained <20 which would suggest we possibly could let it sit for 24 hours or longer at ambient temperatures

We don't ferment any batter currently but as you say may be worth a small trial to see what the results yield

We would have to use a different leavening agent with a slower rate of reaction



#9 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 04:11 PM

Shelf life extension is the aim but require the food safety hurdle of water activity to be below 0.97

Well the more you know! I had no idea that UK had required controls for refrigerated items targeted at refrigeration tolerant botulinum.

 

I might recommend the pH control as GMO said, or perhaps you can use your cooking validation as indicated in the guidance I linked?

 

One other thought was to ask if your product is filled with a filling that is contributing to the high Aw? Have you tested the blini portion and the filling separately? It may be a case where you control C. bot in the filling with pH (much easier) and the pastry portion with Aw. Don't know if that will fly from a regulatory standpoint, but if the science is solid you could give it a shot.


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#10 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 08:00 AM

Hi FurFarmandFork,

 

We don't add any toppings or fillings, our blini's have 1.88g salt per 100g and the moisture level at the last nutritional was 51.4g which meant a salt level of 3.52% in the aqueous phase which is within the parameter but only just,

The pH of our blini is about 8.5

Our hotplates run at approximately 200 degrees Celsius, batter is deposited on a revolving hotplate 1 for about 38 seconds then transferred by a wire belt then blini is flipped on to a second revolving hotplate 2 running at the same temperature for about 38 seconds - core temperature is usually 85 degrees Celsius exit 2nd hotplate - blini's are 55mm in diameter and approximately 4mm high

Lowering the Aw by cooking longer seems the most suitable solution to our operation and recipe - the blini's just need to be a shade darker



#11 GMO

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:23 AM

By the way, humectant is the opposite term, that would be something to increase or retain moisture.

 

There seems to have been an over zealous drive on C. botulinum since the latest guidelines came out.  As some of your limits are close to what will control it, it may be a good idea to see if modelling shows a combination of salt and Aw controls growth in any case?  Campden can do this for you, at a cost but it's cheaper than challenge testing.



#12 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:31 AM

Thanks again GMO

 

My understanding was that it would retain moisture but also take away the available water

 

Yes I approached Campden for a quote on predictive modelling at about £300 whereas the challenge testing was quoted at least 10 times that

 

I think the easiest and cheapest solution for us to try is increased cooking and then monitor water activity

 

I shall keep this thread posted on progress made



#13 GMO

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:40 PM

My understanding was that it would retain moisture but also take away the available water

 

Not necessarily.  It may have the opposite effect.

 

Good luck but do consider the impact on your yield.  If you reduce your total moisture content by 5% then with the associated reduction in profit (you'll have to make the blinis out of more batter) that's probably going to be a bigger cost than the £300 when the impact of two hurdles may mean you're sufficiently safe already.

 

Hope it goes well!



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#14 chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:55 PM

I suggested predictive modelling to the technologist and auditors who recently visited however they were not interested in the slightest

 

Many thanks for all your time and expertise,

 

Thoroughly appreciated







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