More than ever, consumers are purchasing whole grain and artisan breads. However, some bakers may not have the capabilities to produce these breads. Fortunately, many suppliers offer whole grain and artisan mixes and bases.
“Bakers can get a better price for [grain-based bakery foods] as opposed to just selling pan bread,” one mixes and bases supplier says. The supplier says that grains are the fastest-selling mix or base item.
There are several reasons why bakers may choose to forgo mixing whole grain breads in house:
• Scaling inconsistencies
• Formulation and oxidation problems
• Bitter flavor profiles
• Lack of research and development capabilities.
“Grains cause some formulation problems,” another mixes and bases supplier says.
Some bakers choose not to formulate with mixes and bases because of the costs. However, bakers may actually save money if they switch to mixes and bases. Bakers should analyze their end products for consistency and quality. “If they are throwing out dough because of inconsistencies in scaling or not having ingredients, and are having to adjust the production schedule because they cannot finish products,” one supplier says. “Then these bakers should switch to mixes and bases.”
Mixes and bases are able to produce a consistent product 99% of the time, the supplier says, and the product will look and taste exactly the way it should without any modifications.
When bakers purchase mixes, they buy all of the ingredients in a specific formula, except for water and sometimes yeast. Mixes eliminate the need for minor ingredient scaling and flour. Mixes alleviate many difficulties caused by scaling. For example, the scales could not be zeroed, not calibrated, broken, or not measuring at all.
One mixes supplier offers a 100% whole grain mix and also an organic mix. These mixes allow bakers to make health claims on their bread packaging, the supplier says. “A perceived health quality and health benefits are worth the extra price that the consumer is going to pay,” the supplier says.
On the other hand, flour is not included in bases. Minor ingredients are included in bases. In grain bases, ingredients typically include: grains, salt, sugar, shortening and dough conditioning ingredients. Bakers only have to add in standard white flour.
Whole grains cause difficulties for bakers because they are heavier and denser than standard white flour. This causes oxidation. Grain-based breads will not get lip, or the grain will become too coarse, if bakers formulate these bakery foods similar to how they formulate white pan breads.
Grains also may have bitter flavor profiles. This is especially true if bakers are formulating with 100% white whole wheat flour, one mixes and bases supplier says. Most suppliers take grains’ flavor profiles into account when formulating mixes and bases, and take steps to neutralize the bitter notes.
Many independent wholesale bakeries do not have the time, space and research and development labs to formulate a grain base or mix. And that translates to increased costs, as these bakers try to formulate grain breads.
“And that’s one of the big advantages of going to the mixes and the bases because all of the work has already been done,” one supplier says. “The trial and error has been taken care of already.”
Customizing mixes, bases
Although several bakers may formulate with similar mixes and bases, there are ways to provide unique bakery foods. Many suppliers offer custom blends, and bakers also can add their own flavors, colors or other additives.
Grains, fruits, herbs and even vegetables can be added into a customized mix or base. Seeds and additional grains are ideal for multigrain bread formulas, pizza crusts and bagels.
Freeze-dried or sugar-infused fruits add a gourmet touch to mixes and bases. These inclusions are more ideal than fresh fruit because they eliminate price fluctuations and are more consistent during the baking process. However, freeze-dried fruit adds moisture, and bakers will have to adjust their formulations.
When bakers experience challenges with their grain and artisan breads, mixes and bases offer an ideal solution. Grain mixes and bases may reduce costs, alleviate grain-based formulation problems and produce a consistent product. Bakers have multiple options to customize mixes and bases, including fruits, flavors and additional grains.