Beyond smoothies and shakes, protein powders can be a very useful kitchen staple. Incorporating them to cakes and other baking recipes, is an easy way to add healthy protein to your diet whether you workout out often or want to supplement your vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet.
If you exercise, protein powders can enhance your performance and recovery as the amino acids that are present in protein powders help to encourage protein synthesis after an intense workout, aiding your recovery process by counteracting the negative effects of protein muscle breakdown.
However, for many people who work out, finding recipes which incorporate protein within their favourite sweet treats can often be difficult. Whether it’s cakes, muffins or cookies – MaxiNutrition, retailers of protein bars, can help you incorporate these powders into any baking recipe that you come across.
Types of powder
The most popular types of protein powder (to use when baking) are whey, soy, a soy/whey combination and rice. Based on experience, most users who try these different types of protein within their baking suggest that you should opt for a whey or soy/whey blend.
Pure soy protein can often be difficult to use because of its aftertaste. The powder can have a distinct taste once the batch is baked – so if you don’t want any additional flavours within your baking, then we suggest avoiding this type of protein.
Although rice protein is a very delicate type of protein powder – it is also fairly dry; at times, it can also fail to blend well with other ingredients. When you’re cooking with any vegetable based powder, such as pea, rice, or hemp, you’ll need to use a moisturiser that will weigh your protein down and add moisture to your food. Some moisturisers that you can include are bananas, Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree and jam or any sweet reserve. Try to remember that these types of protein will produce a bitter taste when you aren’t blending them with any kind of flavouring – so you should add a natural flavour, such as vanilla, to recipes that don’t already have flavourings included.
Placing it in your cooking
When cooking with a protein powder, you can substitute some of the white flour in your recipe for the powder that you use. You should do this because white flour contains many bad carbohydrates, so the protein acts as a healthy balancer within your recipe.
Substitute up to 1/3 of the flour in your recipe with protein powder. For example, if you were making a cake that contained 125g of flour, you could change this to 41.7g of protein powder (1/3) and 83.3g of white flour (2/3). We would always recommend this ratio when baking. This is because if your protein powder is more than half – 62.5g, for example – your food will turn out rubbery and dry, particularly if you’re using a whey or casein (both dairy types) of protein.
Making sure they’re perfect
By incorporating protein powder into healthier bakes, we are essentially folding heavier items into a lighter protein powder to start with. With this in mind, it’s important that you don’t over-fold your mixture so that it becomes over-mixed; fold your ingredients until they are just incorporated.
Remember, protein mixtures usually stick to pans and baking trays too. To avoid this, use non-stick spray on anything that you use to heat your mixtures. Alternatively, you can use coconut oil. Using wax paper or parchment on the bottom of a cake or muffin liner will keep your bakes lubricated after taking them out of the oven as well.
Many protein powders don’t like being exposed to the heat – and whey protein will often dry up if the heat is too high in the oven. Ideally, your oven should be at around 175 degrees Celsius, as this will make sure that the protein doesn’t burn or dry up in your mixture. As well as this, if you’re using coconut flour or liquid sugars, you should aim for a rule of 25 degrees less (150 degrees) for bakes with these ingredients included. Finally, always preheat your oven first, as your cooking times will be varied if you don’t – cooking only the outside and not the inside of your bakes.
This is a collaborative post by Maxinutrition.