Bakers Journal

Editor’s Letter: October 2019

September 11, 2019
By Bakers Journal

sustainable fall baking

As I write this, IBIE is two weeks away. This year’s International Baking Industry Expo will be a first for me, and I have only photographs and clips from previous years’ attendees as reference.

From what I have learned, various countries around the world contribute more than just ideas and products. This trade show covers the many facets of baking. From industrial equipment, technology that helps retain and mimic old-world artisan baking styles, and the reknown IBIEducate program provides classes promise to boost bakers knowledge in business and their craft.

September marks the start of school, and I’ll be learning more about the baking industry by speaking with industry experts, discovering what new equipment is available, and how the trends are evolving for bakers. I hope to get a comprehensive about what sustainable baking means, and what clients are looking for. I look forward to sharing my findings with Bakers Journal’s fine readers.

For pastry chef Kailey Laird, of Rhubarb restaurant in Asheville, NC sustainability means baking with what is grown nearby, and preserved or used until depleted. It also means thinking creatively, as sustainable menus can’t guarantee that a certain crop will be available. She shares her tips in prevent food waste by getting creative with the excess, and you’ll learn how she uses a local grain in an innovative way for her signature dessert.


Local grains and organic produce are only one small way that chefs are learning to be resourceful. Sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean going all organic, but it can mean reducing fossil fuels by reducing the amount of gas used to transport ingredients to a restaurant. In Rhubarb’s case, the food is grown as locally as possible, right down to the grain used in Laird’s famous rye and rhubarb cake.

I learned from Chef Laird that another angle of sustainability is the skill to use ingredients to the last; preventing food waste means inventing exotic recipes for mundane ingredients. No client wants to sit down to a menu of root vegetables prepared the same way throughout the winter months: Laird went beyond the tired winter menu of gnocchi and mashed potatoes, and created sweet potato doughnuts and sweet potato brioche for the months where local produce was scarce.

Many turn to international influences for their inspiration in comfort food. In Joel Ceauscu’s article, you’ll read of an entrepreneur who went back to his roots to bring Greek treats to the masses; Mr. Puffs is bringing loukoumades to Canada. As the punny title of Ceauscu’s article jokes, you could even say they are Loukoumade-in-Canada.

Customers are not recoiling from deep fried goods as they once were. Fats are now seen as something that enhances flavour, and in the case of ketogenic baking, some fats add flavour, and texture. Certain diets credit fat as key to helping weight loss.

Karen Barr’s article discusses how fats and oils are being used for more than just the deep fry for loukoumades or doughnuts. Oils from nuts and seeds can add a new dimension to pastry and cakes. Coconut oil satisfied both vegans and those in ketogenic diets. Richly flavoured oils can create an exotic fragrance or mouth feel that is sure to appeal to bakers looking for a new way to create a moist but flavourful experience, or provide a decadent option for vegans who eschew dairy.

October is a time for harvest and putting the best of the summer’s bounty away for the colder, harsher months. The chefs at Rhubarb are busy canning and preserving their own jams for use during the winter. Many of us are craving heavier, more substantial dishes as an instinctive way to insulate our bodies for the colder months. I think I’ll start by enjoying some lovely doughnuts or loukoumades from my neck of the woods, since I’m too far from Asheville to sample the sweet potato doughnuts.

May you enjoy the best of the autumn, and enjoy what the harvest brings.

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