Ingredients
As salt is to savoury, vanilla is to sweets. Salt enhances a dishes flavour, as does vanilla, but have you ever had anyone say "oh I don't think you have enough vanilla in this brownie?" No. But salt? Oh you bet!
There are diet trends that become quite popular then subside from front page news. The Atkin’s diet comes to mind; it was a real blow to bakers and its low-carb sentiments have sure stuck around. These trendy diets often seem rooted in weight loss or addressing a specific health challenge.
As a precipitously carnivorous person, I find myself in a bit of a quandary these days. I used to think nothing of eating a blue T-bone steak the size of a dinner plate — with pride. Now it seems a bit savage. My cupboards house lentils and black beans; former mere acquaintances to my intestinal abode.
In recent years, you have likely seen amazing laminated dough pictures posted online by many great bakers. Lately, the layers are thicker in the finished products. The result is very defined layers of dough separated by the butter.
Bagels are like The Beatles of baking: an original rock star with legendary backstory and legions of enduring fans. Much like The Beatles experimented with sounds that strayed from their early days, the bagel is also finding its own version of Sgt. Pepper’s.
Many consumers welcome ingredients they can see and pronounce on food packages. They value ingredient declarations that do not contain long lists of chemical-sounding words.
With the constant desire for more natural products and cleaner labels, bakers are facing a dilemma. Many are asking, “How do I delay mould growth without the addition of inhibitors?”
Tea has a long history originating from its Chinese and Indian heritage. It’s known as a comforting beverage, but well-publicized research about its health benefits has also helped its popularity.
In the last issue (see Bakers Journal, January/February 2017) I shared the results of a personal experiment I conducted with a sourdough starter (or levain) to determine just how resilient an established starter can be. Leaving two levains in my refrigerator, one for seven months, one for three months, I revived them with no problem over the course of four days.
Feb. 21, 2017, TORONTO -- March 1, 2017, marks the beginning of National Nutrition Month, an over 30 year old campaign designed to focus on bettering food choices and developing improved eating and physical activity habits for Canadians. According to StatCan in 2014, 20.8 per cent of Canadians over 18 are classified as obese, with poor eating choices acting as a major contributor. To help incorporate more nutrient-based items into Canadian diets, Victoria, B.C.-based raw foods chef Heather Pace shares five lesser-known ingredients that pack flavour and function into everyday recipes.
Sweets carry year-round appeal, but customer cravings still have seasonality. A survey of 1,000 consumers found that their chocolate cravings really kick in during winter. And, in fact, the desire to cozy up with all things cocoa only seems to be growing: “Chocolate’s not only the No. 1 flavour on dessert menus, but it’s also risen 7 per cent over the past four years,” says Jana Mann, senior director of menu research at food industry research firm Datassential.
For many years now I have been teaching artisan bread classes to foodies, bread lovers and students. It is interesting that a common theme from students is they don’t like sourdough bread. After a few quick questions, however, I realize they have not had real sourdough bread that’s naturally fermented. Instead they have been eating a “bread product” made with flavour additives like acetic acid, lactic acid and fumeric acid that have been added to a premix or base to replicate the smell and taste of a naturally leavened sourdough bread.
Consumers today buy their food following three criteria: taste, health and freshness. If a product fulfills all three criteria, they will have more trust and increase their purchase intention.
In a move to assist food manufacturers with clean label ingredients, Cargill is adding to its line of emulsifiers with the deoiled canola lecithin. The company now offers customers three plant-sourced lecithin options – soy, sunflower and canola – in the U.S. and Canada.
For the 17th year McCormick has released its annual Flavour Forecast, a guide for trends and ingredients from around the world.
Native to Indonesia and Southern India, turmeric has been harvested for more than 5,000 years and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and a textile dye. It’s a spice with a peppery fragrant flavour, and it’s part of the ginger family of herbs. Often used in curries, sauces and soups, most recently, turmeric is popping up in teas, drinks, smoothies, breads and baked goods.
Shortbread has been a Christmas favourite of mine since childhood. Mom’s recipe originated in Scotland and only has four ingredients: butter, rice flour, all purpose flour and fruit sugar. She always places the dough in an air-tight container and leaves it in the fridge for up to a week. Chilling the dough provides a slightly darker colour, a more pronounced flavour and a shorter texture. Family and friends look forward to these delights every holiday.
Following an inaugural meeting at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary in November 2015, a group of baking and pastry instructors from Western Canada felt the need to continue their discourse on teaching and learning in the trade. As a result, an invitation for a reunion was sent out to all colleges in the four Western Provinces and Washington State, and 23 delegates made their way to Vancouver Island on the weekend of June 24-26 for a learning/teaching event.
In our fast-paced world, a familiar country apple pie or classic carrot cake made with simple ingredients brings a sense of comfort. Homestyle recipes continue to be a popular line for many bakeries and never really go out of fashion. We are seeing a modern twist on some of Grandma’s favourites that still bring a sense of ease, familiarity and a remembrance of things past.
As ethnic trends continue to become popular more and more people are enjoying spicier foods. Consumers are willing to explore new options based on their travels and their desire for twists on their usual favourites.
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