Editor's Letter: July 2018

Inclusions add zest
Naomi Szeben
June 22, 2018
Written by
Canada Day means celebrating the inclusion of many people into our country.

With bakers who are providing red-and-white celebration cakes, pastries and cookies to new Canadians, the word “inclusion” can then have two meanings: The bakers who include newcomers to their client list and those who may also include international flavour palates to their menu.

When non-bakers hear “inclusion” they may think of drawing people into a conversation, or allowing others to join a community. For Lynda McLeod of Granny Lyn’s Kitchen, inclusion meant both volunteering at Huntsville’s Hike for Hospice fundraiser, and using local blueberries as a natural flavouring in her famous cookies. By using berries for their colour and flavour, she was able to donate purple cookies that tied in to her favourite charity’s colour scheme. Granny Lyn’s Kitchen is a welcome inclusion to her community, and her diabetic-friendly cookies that dogs and their humans can share are a home-grown favourite. McLeod knows that bakeries are welcome in virtually any neighbourhood; they bring joy to those who want a nostalgic treat, or to revel in a new flavour they haven’t tried before.

Master chefs know inclusion refers to the ingredients that are folded into dough or added as flavouring into batter. I loved how Karen Barr’s article focuses on the new spin on traditional inclusions. Her piece showcases carrot cake dressed with delicate, candied petals of its own main ingredient, and elegant éclairs finished with pistachios. In Barr’s article, bakers have used local fruits and berries from nearby Niagara Valley farms, and were brought closer to the farmers they acquired their ingredients from. The bakers were not just connecting with their clients, but forging a more intimate connection between their ingredients and their creations by becoming familiar with where their fruit was grown.

Balancing the demand for memory-evoking snacks with innovation is no mean feat for any baker. Some customers buy treats to recall past joys, and others want to thrill at a new taste sensation. Barr explores how bakers think outside the (pastry) box by using inclusions to bridge the gap between tradition and innovation.

For the readers who want to profit from the health-consciousness trend, consider adding seasonal, bright red berries to your baked goods. Strawberries and blueberries are popular summer berries; Bakers Journal’s online exclusive explores what “anthocyanin” means, and how it works to help your body rid itself of potential cancer-causing free radicals. Dr. Kalt explains what dark, brightly hued fruit actually do (other than dye your tongue.) So eat that Canada Day strawberry pie: It’s good for you!

Plant-based foods are seen as “healthyish,” and have been in the public eye for some time. With many millennials making choices based on allergies or the ethical treatment of animals, finding baked goods that allows for indulgent alternatives can be a challenge for customers and bakers alike. Some plant-based egg replacements are expensive or don’t yield the right texture…until now.

Aquafaba is currently in the spotlight as an egg replacement for both vegans and those with egg allergies. In this issue, the plant-based and cost-effective ingredient was discussed with Rebecca Coleman, author of the recently published “Aquafabulous.” For bakers looking for a way to bring decadence to plant-based cuisine, or for those who want to reach out to a vegan clientele, “Bean water is aquafabulous” is an informative read.

Wishing all our readers a wonderful July, a happy Canada Day or Independence Day, and may it include delicious treats shared in the company of those you love.

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