Spices and herbs are ideal particulates in bakery foods. These ingredients should be mixed with other dry ingredients.
Fruit, although delicious and nutritious, is difficult for wholesale bakers to formulate into bakery foods. Weather often adversely affects fruit prices and consistency,it is difficult to match fruit pH to bakery formulations, and fruit has a limited shelf life.
However, many manufacturers offer fruit as particulates and flavor bits—while still providing the nutrition and taste that consumers expect. Not only is fruit available in particulate and flavor bit form, but other additions such as marshmallows, caramel, chocolate chips, dehydrated vegetables, savory flavors and sweet, sugary flavors are available for bakers.
To differentiate, particulates are actual pieces of food, such as herbs, dehydrated vegetables and dehydrated fruit. Flavor bits are natural or artificially manufactured pieces that imitate an ingredient. Both of these ingredients are ideal for bakers in a variety of applications.
Because of its nutritive properties, bakers commonly formulate fruit into bakery foods. But, because of fruit's low stability, it is ideal for bakers to incorporate it as a particulate or flavor bit. One manufacturer offers several varieties of flavor bits, each providing different functional characteristics. One variety is a large piece of manufactured fruit. It is formulated from fruit powder, so bakers are able to claim that the product contains real fruit. This ingredient's structure ensures that some of the flavor bit's material is left behind in a pocket when the product is baked. "The batter hydrates the ingredient," the manufacturer says, "and leaves this pocket of goo that's like a jelly or a preserve." This gives consumers the appearance that the bakery food contains real fruit. This ingredient is ideal for muffins and deliver color and flavor.
This manufacturer offers another type of flavor bit that is a traditional bakery inclusion. It is ideal for donuts, frozen bakery foods such as waffles, and bagels. These also provide flavor, but not as much color and body. "It looks likes somebody jabbed a little pin inside a donut a few times," the manufacturer says. "It leaves little body behind."
For food bars such as nutrition bars and granola bars, one manufacturer recommends a fruit flavor bit that provides a gummy, chewy texture. This manufacturer provides a sugarbased flavor bit that is offered either wet or dry. This ingredient is formulated from sodium alginate, which is a natural gum. The manufacturer recommends that bakers formulate with the dry form of the ingredient, and it also is ideal for dry pancake mixes, waffle mixes and donut mixes.
Bakers can formulate with other particulates and flavor bits besides fruits. One of the most common inclusions is chocolate chips. In large wholesale operations, bakers who use real chocolate chips find that their conveyor belts gradually become more dirty. Chocolate chips melt at low temperatures, although compound chocolate chips are slightly more tolerant to heat. Over time, chocolate chips are going to melt on the conveyor belts, and that chocolate will burn and scorch the more that line is used.
In addition, cookies with chocolate chips or compound chocolate chips will melt as they leave the oven. If bakers pack these cookies quickly, the chocolate will attach to the film and smear.
Manufacturers offer engineered chocolate chip pieces that will eliminate these problems. These engineered pieces will have the same flavor profiles and same appearances, but they will not have the disadvantages of real chocolate.
Other ingredients with similar disadvantages are marshmallows and caramel. Marshmallows melt when they are baked into foods. In addition, it is difficult for bakers to find suppliers who manufacturer kosher marshmallows. However, engineered marshmallows will not melt and are kosher, caramels are hydroscopic. They stick to conveyor belts and slicers during production. But, similar to engineered chocolate chips and marshmallows, these difficulties are eliminated in engineered pieces.
Instead of the sweet flavors found in fruits and candy, bakers may formulate with the savory flavors found in dehydrated vegetables and spices.
One manufacturer offers several blends of dehydrated vegetables that are ideal for many bakery foods. These particulates include blends of roasted red bell pepper, green bell pepper and onion; roasted green bell pepper strips, roasted red bell peppers, roasted onion strips and roasted zucchini slices; and roasted red bell pepper, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and onion. These particulate blends are ideal for sandwich breads, pizza crusts, crackers and other artisan breads, the manufacturer says.
Bakers should mix savory particulate blends at the end of the mixing stage, at low speeds to avoid tearing gluten proteins and color bleeding, the manufacturer says.
Flavor bits and particulates are not just a vehicle for real fruit powder and vegetables. Many manufacturers also are formulating value-added ingredients into flavor bits and particulates, such as omega-3 fatty acids. When flaxseed is mixed, the grain becomes exposed and becomes more rancid over time, due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acid. But, manufacturers are able to ensure a proper delivery of omega-3s through an engineered piece.
Flavor bits and particulates are able to deliver taste and nutrition without the cost and inconvenience that is associated with non-engineered pieces. Many manufacturers offer flavor bits and particulates in a variety of flavors, including fruit, sweet and savory.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CONAGRA FOOD INC.