Lecithins are present in eggs but also in different seeds. Discovered in 1950 by a French chemist, Emile Golbey, the term plant lecithins covers a wide range of molecules including glycolipids, triglycerides, and most important : the phospholipid fraction (phosphatidylcholin, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol). These are extracted mechanically or chemically from soy, sunflower seeds or wheat grain. The resulting additif is a brown substance sold as such or slightly modified (hydrolysed by lipase). We have selected a powdered format easier to dose and use.
Lecithins are molecules related to lipids (fat constituents) that enable coating of water or oil droplets with a fine bipolar layer improving their dispersion and stability. The caloric value of lecithins is that of fat : 9 Kcal / g.
Easily metabolised, lecithins are well tolerated and very safe. They may even be beneficial to health.
- Recommended emulsifier that can replace eggs (egg yolk is called lecithos in Greek), egg whites or other protein and hydrolysed proteins from milk, plants in most recipes. The tensioactive molecules improve the distribution and stability of fat in water sols like in traditional American ice cream (heavy and rich in fat) or Italian ice cream (Gelato type rich in eggs).
- Lecithins are an important ingredient in chocolate products (water in fat stability), butter and egg pastries (sweet dough like in brioche where they act as wetting agents and antioxidants), and in confectionery (wetting agent and antioxidant).
- They are used in high fat cooking margarine to reduce splashing and browning.
- Used to improve texture and stabilise phasing out of fat in reheated sauces and roux, also to avoid fat building up in stuffing and casseroles...
Indications for use
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per Kg in fatty ice cream and milk shakes or vegetarian versions will improve smoothness and overrun by separating the fat from the protein. In leavened dough, lecithins work like extensors and enhance dough elasticity providing more volume -useful in bread machines.
- 1 to 3 g per litre of Kg in chocolate and pastry. In light mousse and foams, doses can be increased (2g for 250 to 300 g preparation or 8g/ Kg) to have a firmer product.
- Avoid adding lecithins to products above 40°C.
GRAS - Generally recognised as safe - ingredient in the States, a food additif in Europe under number E322. Plant lecithins are recommended emulsifiers in problematical recipes for vegans, orthodox Jews (lecithins are pareve, neutral) or muslin.
The use of this product is not recommended for infants and babies.
Store in a dry cool place away from direct light. Shelf life once open: 6 months. Best before: refer to packaging.
Soy lecithin, emulsifier - E322