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All-Natural Beef Stocks Add Verstatility, Flavor 02.14.11

February 14, 2011. This article was originally published in Food Product Design magazine, here.

The cornerstone of many great soups, gravies and sauces is stock – that flavorful building block for the rest of the product. And when formulators are seeking a “natural” designation for the label – and a “cleaner” ingredient statement – all-natural stock is the only choice.

Hormel Specialty Products manufactures a range of 100% natural beef stocks to add protein-rich flavor to a variety of soups, gravies and sauces, while also building mouthfeel and body, and contributing to aroma. The stocks are made by cooking fresh beef bones with adhering meat in water over time, yielding highly concentrated products with varying percentages of solids and protein. These stocks are subsequently processed into three ingredient formats: frozen, dried and shelf-stable.

Hormel™s Great Beginnings® Frozen Beef Stock is available in either 38% or 56% (typical) solids. Both have mild, beefy notes and a high protein content – accounting for at least 93% of the solids. The 38% stock ranges from 35% to 45% protein and 36% to 46% total solids, and sees typical use levels from 1.5% to 10.0% of the formula. The 56% stock ranges from 56% to 62% protein and 55% to 62% total solids, and is generally used at 1% to 7%. Even when frozen to -20°F, the product remains soft, since the protein ties up all free water.

To make it shelf stable, the Building Blocks Beef Stock Concentrate B1 is concentrated and then blended with salt (at 7.5% to 11.0%). This highly viscous paste has a protein level of 57% to 67%.

“Very few manufacturers have the capabilities to produce a high-solids broth and paste, especially inside the United States,” says Melanie L. Brechka, national sales manager, ingredients. “It’s very unique to the U.S. market.” She notes the benefits of a highly concentrated product are lower use levels and reduced shipping costs (from not shipping water).

The Great Beginnings Dried Beef Stock comes as a free-flowing powder with no added salt. Its high protein content helps smooth-out harsh, acidic flavors to develop a mellow, beefy, full-bodied background flavor. It’s generally used at 0.5% to 5.0%. As dictated by USDA standards, reconstituting the product 1:135 with water lets formulators remove “water” from labels and replace it with “beef stock”. According to Brechka, the Dried Beef Stock can serve a number of flavor-driven purposes. She suggests formulators visit the Hormel Specialty Products website to review a recipe for Hearty 3-Bean & Ham Soup that uses the dried stock to help with overall flavor.

All of these stocks are flash-sterilized to ensure safety, and have a shelf life of two years.

Hormel Specialty Products

1 Hormel Place

Austin, MN 55912

Website: hormelingredients.com