WHAT IS SODIUM CASEINATE?
Sodium caseinate is a casein product that is produced from treating curds with an alkali like sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate. Sodium caseinate exists as a white to off-white powder. The general composition of sodium caseinate is around 88 percent protein, less than one percent lactose, four-to-five percent ash, about one percent percent fat, and five percent moisture, all of which vary slightly by manufacturer. Sodium caseinate is the most water-soluble form of casein differing from acid casein and rennet casein which are not soluble in water.
HOW IS SODIUM CASEINATE MADE?
Skim milk that has been pasteurized is heated and coagulated by an acid or rennet leading to precipitation of the casein protein. Once the milk has coagulated, the whey is drained off and the curds are washed thoroughly with water. Diluted sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate is added to the fresh casein curd creating a water-soluble product. The alkali treated casein curds are pressed, ground down thoroughly, and dried with heat which evaporates out the remainder of the water left in the curds to form a powder. Sodium caseinate can also be created from using a dry casein powder that is reconstituted in water and then adding sodium hydroxide and re-drying the product. Using fresh acid casein curds instead of dried casein powder is the preferred way of creating sodium caseinate as the flavor is preferable.
WHAT IS SODIUM CASEINATE USED FOR?
Sodium caseinate is used for coffee creamers, meat additives, processed cheeses, whipped toppings, ice cream, chocolate, baked goods, and dietary supplements. Sodium caseinate is water soluble, a good emulsifier, has an ability to create and hold foam, absorbs fat, and can improve the nutritional aspects of food primarily through increasing the protein content in the finished product.
WHAT DOES SODIUM CASEINATE TASTE LIKE?
Sodium caseinate overall has a very bland flavor profile. Sodium caseinate has been noted to taste papery, slightly sweet, and overall neutral. Towards the end of a sodium caseinate powders’ shelf-life, the powder starts to have stronger cardboard and paper notes. The mouthfeel of sodium caseinate is thick and foamy with a slight astringency on the tongue.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONAL PROPERTIES OF SODIUM CASEINATE?
Sodium caseinate is heat stable making the protein suitable for addition for many applications that require heat treatment during processing. Sodium caseinate is beneficial when creating foam and stabilizing foam such as in a coffee creamer of whipped topping. Sodium caseinate is beneficial as an addition to a food product to increase nutritional fortification by adding protein. Sodium caseinate can improve texture in beverages by increasing viscosity to give a preferable mouthfeel during consumption.