While fruits are the stand-by for upping the value of baked products, plenty of unique and desirable textures, nutrients, functionalities and flavors are available outside the familiar fruit spectrum.
In order to differentiate their products in a competitive market, bakers are offering new and improved variations on their products with clever additions. These can range from fiber to flavors, functional ingredients to fun additions. What’s up with these new inclusions, and how can they improve your products? And how must these ingredients be handled in order to achieve maximum cost benefits, shelf life and functionality?
SensoryEffects, Defiance, Ohio, finds that key trends in today’s market are trans fat-free, fiber fortified, gluten-free, whole grains and natural/organic ingredients–especially those that offer interesting flavor and texture combinations. “We have high fiber inclusions that, when used at the recommended usage level of 10 percent, allow bakers to claim their product is a ‘good source of fiber,’” says Sensory Ingredients’ Becky Calvo, R&D manager.
Flavors include cinnamon, blueberrym strawberry, “gooey” cinnamon, maple, marshmallow and caramel. “The ‘gooey’ products were designed to deliver a melted, sticky texture to baked products. This is our most exciting new texture-delivering product,” says Dennis J. Reid, vice president of marketing and business development.
Since these inclusions serve as a vehicle for flavors and colors, the company constantly develops new flavors that are on-trend and are requested by specific customers. Recent examples of these new flavors are garlic, bacon (kosher, meat-free), peanut butter (allergen-free), cinnamon, maple, caramel, tomato oregano, asiago and cheddar. Fruit flavors can be made with real fruit powders or as flavors alone, either all natural or N&A. Popular fruit flavors include piña colada, coconut, mango, pineapple, cherry and pomegranate.
“Real cinnamon and garlic can inhibit yeast action, but because our inclusions don’t release the spice until the matrix melts, the yeast inhibition is eliminated or delayed,” he says. “Therefore, SensoryEffects can be used to introduce flavors like cinnamon or garlic without affecting the baking process, giving more rise to the baked product.”
These ingredients should be incorporated at the dough stage as a last ingredient, after mixing is completed. In general, most applications incorporate inclusions with no change to the formulation. If any change is needed, it would be a reduction in the oil or shortening. A 10 percent usage rate is recommended as a starting point.
“Cost in use is different depending on usage amount and the actual inclusion formulation used, so it is tough to make a general statement on how they compare with real fruit costs,” Reid continues. “What is certain, though, is that these inclusions offer handling and incorporation advantages versus natural products and deliver more consistent flavor and functionality in the finished products. Flavors and colors of foods do tend to vary depending upon the crop, so this is a good way to standardize a product’s organoleptic properties.”
The Whole Grain Game
Whole grains can be found everywhere, from bagels to flatbreads. Some are ancient grains that are being
discovered as consumers continue eating for health. Seeds and grains can be artfully added to doughs and batters to add texture and flavor as well as whole grain nutrition. However, sometimes these grains lack machineability, or may make too much of a texture impact. The addition of cooked, freeze-dried ground cereal products can add the flavor and nutrition consumers seek while maintaining the consistency and dough characteristics that bakers require. Freeze dried cereals are cooked and flash freeze-dried to maintain their nutritional qualities while giving a better mouthfeel than raw whole grains. Options include oatmeal, rice and wheat cereals.
In seeking a boost in nutrition, fiber and flavor in some bakery items, many bakers are adding familiar ingredients in new forms. Sweet potatoes are one of the top five food trends nowadays, according to Van Drunen Farms, Momence, Ill. Instant dried sweet potato powder can add flavor, color and the nutritional punch of beta carotene, flavanoids and antioxidants to cookies, breads, muffins and fillings while adding the sweet appeal of this familiar tuber. Also, sweet potato powder handles like flour and can replace up to 10 percent of flour in many formulas. The sweet/savory flavor is a slam-dunk with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Also try it with sage, chili pepper or smoked paprika for a new twist on an old favorite. The addition of spices also adds antioxidants and may help improve shelf life.
Rosemary is an ingredient that adds sought-after taste while helping to improve shelf life. The addition of onions and garlic improves both taste and nutrition, while incorporating moisture into batters and doughs. If the additional moisture is too much, try freeze-dried ingredients for all of the flavor without the need to change formulas. Freeze-dried caramelized onions are a great way to add wonderful flavor and antioxidants to snack chips, muffins, flatbreads, pizzas or breadsticks.
Other vegetable choices may include carrots, peppers and tomatoes in formulas for savory goods such as tarts and quiches, hand-held snacks and chips. Fire-roasted peppers add super-nutrients such as beta carotene and antioxidants while delivering full sweet flavor and ease of use. Try them in pizza fillings and bread toppings, or to add savory zest to muffins and filled breads.
Target the breakfast market with new combinations featuring natural whole grains and artisan cheeses, or add whole grain corn or oat flakes to familiar classics such as pancakes, waffles and crepes. And who says chilies aren’t for breakfast? Sweet chilies paired with corn and cheese make a breakfast burrito worth getting up for! The added nutrients are just icing on the cake.
Don’t forget the consumer benefits of adding vitamins and minerals targeted directly at a specific market. Vitacholine, a vitamin supplement, is used by Baby Belly as a vital ingredient for the health of developing babies. Baby Belly has a range of products designed for the lactating, pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant woman. Other markets such as those for aging adults, athletes and children are open for products designed for those demographics. Additions such as green tea provide valuable antioxidants and are very much in the consumer conscience.
Of course dark chocolate is on everyone’s radar as a superfood that is both decadent and a baker’s favorite. However, soaring cocoa prices have sent bakers searching for better ways to control costs on this valuable ingredient. A new introduction by ADM may make the search a bit easier: deZaan D11EB cocoa powder contributes the deep, rich true chocolate flavor while actually containing less cocoa.
Company releases claim this new product replaces traditional cocoa powders at a fraction of usage levels while maintaining both the color and flavor of dark cocoa. Other cocoa replacers have successfully replicated the color of dark chocolate but not the intense flavor. The cocoa can be used in muffins, biscuits, cakes, compound coatings, fillings and truffles, claims ADM.
Tame the chocolate’s intensity with other good-for-you additions–sweet potato, nuts (always a great combination), or the kick of chilies. All boost the nutritional value while adding their own bit of flavor.
Whichever path you take to ramp up the appeal factor of your newest creations, you can rely on ingredient developers to have your back in offering color, flavor and texture and nutritional ingredients that can help you win new customers and save money.