Wel-Plan Replacement Project Results

In October 2018, Nutricia North America confirmed that they would no longer be importing and distributing Wel-Plan, the low-protein baking mix on which so many PKU families had relied for decades. Shortly thereafter, Cook for Love undertook a semi-scientific project to try to determine the best replacement for Wel-Plan: A baking mix that was accessible, affordable, and versatile enough to work in all the recipes Wel-Plan had worked in.  Cook for Love received a grant from Nutricia to support the project, and donations of mixes from the following companies: Cambrooke Foods, Cook for Love, Flavis, Nutricia, Promin, and Taste Connections. We’d like to thank these sponsors for making this project possible, and also thank the volunteers who gave their time & taste buds to help us narrow down the competition. The results are in, and they are definitive (sort of).

METHOD:

SURVEY: 

Cook for Love surveyed the community to determine the most well-loved recipes across four baking categories (muffins, cake, cookies and bread) that used Wel-Plan. The winners, all from Low-Protein Cookery for PKU by Virginia Schuett, were: 

  • Applesauce Muffins (p. 124)
  • Birthday Cake (p. 377)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies (p. 363)
  • Best White Bread (p. 71)

INITIAL TESTS: 

Cook for Love fired up the test kitchen and originally tested eight (8) mixes for each recipe. 

Following the original tests, the top 3 mixes made it to the finals. Sadly, the Cook for Love baking mix didn’t make the cut: Brenda proclaimed the Applesauce Muffins made with CFL mix to be  “a disaster: Too firm, dense, didn’t rise well; doesn’t taste good.”

While the test kitchen heavily favored the homemade mix, the finalists were:

  • Cambrooke + Wheat Starch
  • Homemade Mix
  • Nutricia’s Loprofin Baking Mix

COMMUNITY TESTS: 

This is the most important part of the project. We asked for volunteers to test each of the four recipes. To be selected, they had to be able to cook within the required time frame and have made the recipe, with Wel-Plan, in the past. This is important because  we were seeking the mix that most closely replicated the experience of Wel-Plan, so we needed people used to the taste, appearance, and consistency of these recipes when cooked with Wel-Plan. For each of the four recipes, we enlisted 4-5 test cooks and sent them the mixes, unlabeled, so that there would be no unintentional bias, Unbeknownst to our testers, they were also using actual Wel-Plan as one of their test mixes.  

We asked each tester to rank the baking result of each mix from best to worst on the following criteria: 

  • Appearance
  • Texture
  • Taste
  • Overall

RESULTS

Amazingly, in 75% of the tests, the testers did not choose Wel-Plan as their favorite!  Ultimately, the scores for the top two — Homemade and Cambrooke + Baking Mix, were very close. We analyzed the ratings as an overall average, and for each category, but that did not affect the rankings.

The overall winner as chosen by the community testers was Cambrooke Baking Mix + Wheat Starch

CONCLUSIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS

  • Time: For both finalists, you need to mix two to three products to replace Wel-Plan so the time is the same. (Both can be done in bulk and in advance and stored so they are ready to use when you need them). 
  • Flavor: If you’re used the to flavor of Wel-Plan, these will give you the closest replacement
  • Phe content & cost: We’ve included all the finalists in this chart so you can compare.
  • The Recipes: Both the Community Winner and the Runner Up have been added to CookForLove.org as “Wel-Plan Replacement” and “Wel-Plan Replacement Runner Up.” All recipes on CookForLove.org that used Wel-Plan have been updated to use the new Wel-Plan Replacement.
Per 110g» WelPlan CBF+ CBF Wheat Starch🔹 CBF + Honeyville Wheat Starch ⭖ Homemade + Honeyville Wheat Starch🔸 Loprofin🔹
Phe (mg)  6 5 5 8 11
Cost $1.48 $0.43 $0.21 $1.40

Thank you again to our sponsors:

And to our Test Kitchen Cooks:

Janet Amadio, Jill Armentrout, Beth Burke, Sarah Chamberlin, Barbara Cubic, Lilly DeCamilla, Lynn DeNisi, Mary Dunn, Erin Fisher, Millie Foster, Rachel Hill, Cheryl Kirkwood, Cathy Lorimer, Caroline Melcer, Emele Porter, KC Singletary, Lynn Stremer, Chanin Styka, and Brenda Winiarski

» In recipes using Wel-Plan, 1 cup weighed 110g, so that was the measurement used in recipe testing, and in this chart. Weight per cup may vary among mixes.

🔹 Shipping and minimum order threshold not included for orders from Cambrooke & Nutricia

⭖ Shipping and minimum order threshold not included for Cambrooke. Shipping included for Honeyville Wheat Starch (50lbs for $79.98)

🔸Shipping included for Honeyville Wheat Starch (50lbs for $79.98)