Psyllium and hemp protein

TER Ingredients and the students at LEMITEC in Kulmbach, Germany have teamed up to work on a joint project examining the influence of hemp and psyllium protein on various products in the food sector. The aim here is to gain findings not only on viscosity as well as temperature and pH stability, but also the taste and appearance of foodstuffs produced. After the preparation and experimentation phase, good results have already been achieved in terms of usage and effect of the proteins in shakes, meat replacement products and high-quality baked goods. This new knowledge will flow primarily into further product innovations and expanding the potential uses of these on-trend proteins.

Psyllium and hemp protein in various solvents

Before we start: The experimental setup

Optimal output calls for optimal input. A comprehensive and early analysis of the proteins to be used is therefore essential. Here, we investigated the properties of psyllium and hemp proteins,so to ensure that we were able to determine the differences between the two proteins, we carried out the experiments under the same conditions. We mixed the proteins with various solvents and examined their consistency, solubility and sensory factors. Would you like to know what we discovered?

Here you can find out more about LEMITEC Kulmbach.

Properties of psyllium:

Our experiments showed that psyllium demonstrates particularly good swelling behavior in water. Its maximum swell was reached after approx. 20 minutes, and after that its consistency remained unchanged (standing test only). In the various types of milk, it swelled only slightly. Furthermore, in water, milk and coffee, clumps formed, which did not dissolve even with shaking. With oat, almond and coconut milk, on the other hand, there was no formation of clumps, hence this represents a good basis for application.

In the standing tests, part of the protein settled at the bottom, but in water this occurred less than in the other solvents. High temperatures (ca. 90° C) showed the psyllium thickens briefly when stirred - yet it quickly flocculates and the clumps of protein then settle at the bottom.

Psyllium also has a strong flavor of its own, which has a negative effect on taste in milk and “drink products” in particular. Overall, therefore, we can say that psyllium is hygroscopic and water-soluble and that it swells. Fats, even in small quantities, affect its ability to swell. High temperatures will denature it, and psyllium is also acid-labile. 

Properties of hemp:

In contrast to psyllium, hemp protein bonds in the solvents that contain fat. Like psyllium, it forms a sediment, although it does not bond with water and settles at the bottom. Hemp is also not hygroscopic, does not bond in hot water, and flocculates. It is also acid-stable; even with a pH of 3.7 it does not flocculate.

Hemp protein has an earthy, slightly herbal flavor and leaves behind a slightly sandy mouth feel. It goes particularly well with oat drinks and does not have such a strong or notable flavor as psyllium.

The foam formation and solubility is influenced by the other ingredients and additives (e.g. Xanthan, lecithin, pea protein, carob bean gum, gellan gum) in the various solvents.The proteins have no notable influence on these. The properties, particularly in the case of coconut milk, can be traced back to the additives used.


The use of psyllium and hemp proteins in protein shakes is not recommended due to their taste and swelling behavior.

Chocolate cake made with psyllium and hemp protein

In another series of experiments in cooperation with LEMITEC Kulmbach, the team looked into substituting flour with plant protein. Classic cake recipes were taken as a basis (no ready-mixes), and a proportion of the flour was replaced with psyllium or hemp protein.

The results were astonishingly good and, contrary to expectations, the flavor remained unimpaired. The earthy, sometimes very negative flavor that had been identified previously was not manifested in the presence of the chocolate. In other experiments, we plan to analyze the recipes and precise properties under technical conditions.

Do you feel inspired to try out some of our experiments yourself? We have a couple of tasty recipes for you:

Basic recipe for a vegetarian meat replacement dish (falafel)

The basic recipe for this dish is a mix of seasonings:“7-Spice” (Fr. Raps), powdered garlic, powdered onion, cilantro, turmeric, powdered pineapple, powdered tomatoes and salt.

Here you can find an overview of the following recipes:

Are you interested in the sensory factors and the breadcrumb coating combinations? Click here.

Do you have any questions? Please feel free to contact me!

Ralf Kettner
Technical Sales Manager - BU Life Science
Tel.: +49 40 300 501 8203
Email: r.kettner[at]