Lecithin is a common ingredient that is naturally found in a variety of foods. Eggs, soy beans, and sunflower seeds all contain lecithin. But when purchasing these ingredients or simply using them in a recipe it can be tricky to figure out which one to use. Liquid, powdered, de-oiled. What do all these things mean and how can you figure out which one goes where. Let’s look at the differences between all the types so we can find the right one for your recipe.
“What lecithin do I need to use?”
Two Ends of the Spectrum
Lecithin is an emulsifier which means it walks a fine line between water and oil. Generally emulsifiers have two sides, an oil loving side and a water loving side. When an emulsion is made such as mayonnaise, the lecithin in the eggs will slowly start to incorporate tiny globules of oil into the water. The lecithin acts like a moderator between the two opposing sides. This quality is called being a surfactant. Now this is the basic idea of how lecithin works. But how will you know what type to use for your recipe. Are you adding the ingredient to a water based recipe or a fat based recipe. The reason this is important is because powders soy lecithin or powdered sunflower lecithin are known as “de-oiled” lecithin. The powdered lecithin had more of the hydrophilic properties which means it can be dissolved in water easily. Liquid soy lecithin contains more of the lipophilic properties which make it great for high fat content recipes. An example could be using powdered soy lecithin for foaming liquids or extending the shelf life of breads through emulsification. Liquid soy lecithin is amazing for preventing the fat from separating out of chocolate. The last thing to note would be allergens. If there are any concerns about allergens we suggest using sunflower lecithin. Sunflower lecithin can be substituted for soy lecithin in a 1 to 1 ratio if need be. As you look for a way to improve a recipe whether it be a foam, bread, vinaigrette, or even chocolate use these tips to help you find the right lecithin for your recipe.
Do you have a recipe you just can’t seem to figure out? Shoot us an email or drop us a line and we will do our best to guide you to the right option. Ready to start cooking? Try our Caramelized Corn Bread or Honey Balsamic Dressing!