Bakers Journal

Features Technical
Technical Talk: May 2011


May 2, 2011
By Dr. John Michaelides

Topics

Fruits have been used in baking for many years, with basics like raisin bread and blueberry muffins enjoying long-running popularity. The process for producing raisin bread is well established and the fundamentals are well documented, including the method of production, timing, quantity of raisin addition, yeast level, fermentation and water absorption. Similarly, other fruits and vegetables are used in the production of sweet or savoury baked goods. Carrot cakes, banana breads and a variety of fruit and vegetable muffins are available in the market and consumers are quite familiar with them. The most recent introductions of savoury breads in North America include different variations of olive and onion breads, which are gaining quite the fan base. The use of fruits and vegetables in baking has expanded beyond the basics and there are lots of opportunities for new, exciting additions to your product line.

Fruits have been used in baking for many years, with basics like raisin
bread and blueberry muffins enjoying long-running popularity. The
process for producing raisin bread is well established and the
fundamentals are well documented, including the method of production,
timing, quantity of raisin addition, yeast level, fermentation and
water absorption. Similarly, other fruits and vegetables are used in
the production of sweet or savoury baked goods. Carrot cakes, banana
breads and a variety of fruit and vegetable muffins are available in
the market and consumers are quite familiar with them. The most recent
introductions of savoury breads in North America include different
variations of olive and onion breads, which are gaining quite the fan
base. The use of fruits and vegetables in baking has expanded beyond
the basics and there are lots of opportunities for new, exciting
additions to your product line.

People may already have a good number of bakery choices to satisfy
their palates, but there are many other possibilities just waiting to
be created. Such products will satisfy many of today’s consumer
demands. Shoppers are looking for natural ingredients and flavours;
fruits and vegetables can often satisfy this need. They can also
provide a plethora of flavours that will replace many artificial ones
currently used in the manufacture of baked goods. Beyond their many
flavours, these fruits and vegetables can act as a natural substitute
for certain artificial colours. There’s a fair bit of research
investigating carrots of different colours, purple potatoes, beets and
certain fruits. Commercialization of these natural colours is an
exciting field and there are many promising opportunities.

Fruits and vegetables also deliver numerous nutritional benefits,
adding a healthful kick to your baking. Many fruits and vegetables
contain large quantities of antioxidants, a buzzword in today’s food
markets, and other beneficial compounds. Consumers are beginning to
realize the connection between antioxidants in food and the prevention
of chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Oxygen radicals in
the body affect various tissues. The antioxidants found in fruits and
vegetable can neutralize these radicals and help protect our tissues
from damage. Many of the substances responsible for the antioxidant
properties of these vegetables and fruits have been identified,
including lycopene in tomatoes, resveratrol in grapes, and rutin in
asparagus. Natural antioxidant activity can be measured by many
different methods. One of the most popular is to determine the Oxygen
Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value.

High quantities of antioxidants are often present in the outer layers
of fruits and vegetables. The skins of tomatoes, apples, peaches,
pears, grapes plums and other fruits were found to contain more
antioxidants than the rest of the fruit. Traditional processing
normally discards these skins; however, as their health benefits are
being recognized, efforts are underway to develop them into food
ingredients. Investigations at the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC)
have resulted in a process for the production of grape skin flour,
which is high in the antioxidant resveratrol. Grape skin flour can be
incorporated into breads and other baked goods, as well as pasta, to
create products that boasts a rich wine colour, great flavour and a
mouthwatering aroma, all while providing health benefits.

Although these types of ingredients are just beginning to enter the
market, whole fruit and vegetable powders have been available for some
time. Manufacturing these types of ingredients must preserve their
antioxidant activity. New technologies are emerging for the gentle
processing of fruits and vegetables to ensure that their health
benefits are preserved. Such technologies incorporate microwaves and
vacuums or pressure to dehydrate the fruits and vegetables at much
lower temperatures than standard processing. These technologies not
only maintain the healthy components of the fruits and vegetables but
also preserve their flavour, aroma and natural colour. When we use such
ingredients in baked goods, we must make sure that the baking
temperature, time and other process conditions do not impact the health
benefits a finished product delivers to the consumer. However, it is
also very important that the processing be adequate to safeguard the
consumer from the danger of food pathogens, and provide the quality
parameters the product requires. Many manufacturers supply fruits and
fruit ingredients that claim to be high in antioxidants. When
purchasing these ingredients, and before using them in your products,
make sure these claims are substantiated.

Many refined fruit fibres are commercially available that can aid us
with our formulations by retaining moisture, which helps maintain
softness and extend shelf life. Processed fruit pulps are also
available as functional ingredients and have been used in the baking
industry for a number of years. These pulps and purees contain fibre
and pectin, which naturally improve the quality of various baked goods.

Many new and exciting fruits and vegetables are available for use in
baked goods. They come in many convenient forms, including fresh whole,
dried whole, individually quick frozen (IQF), infused, freeze dried,
pieces or dried powders. The choice is yours.


Dr. John Michaelides is an independent food industry consultant for the
Guelph Food Technology Centre. For more information, or fee-for-service
help with product or process development needs, please contact John
Michaelides at 519-821-1246, ext. 5052, or by e-mail at
jmichaelides@gftc.ca


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