The International Baking Industry Expo (IBIE) drew crowds of baking professionals to Orlando last month, as it showcased the latest equipment, ingredient and packaging solutions from nearly 650 industry suppliers.
“IBIE has always been a buying show, but we took that to a whole new level in 2007. This show proved its value as the one place baking professionals can get the resources and information they need to stay current and competitive,” says R.J. Lewis, IBIE committee chairman and president of Lewis Bakeries, Evansville, Ind.
Despite its new Orlando location, IBIE attracted a large number of quality buyers and exhibitors, including
|Solveig Tofte (left) and Dara Reimers, members of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA 2008, practiced for Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.|
167 new exhibiting companies and many international attendees. Registration data showed 31 percent of registrants were from outside the United States. “These are buyers we probably wouldn’t be able to reach any other way,” says Mike Hitt, Cambridge International, Cambridge, Md.
Retail and specialty wholesale bakers on hand found a host of educational seminars and demonstrations.
Ciril Hitz, instructor, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.. is a pioneer in the dead dough, or “yeastless” dough subset of the artistic bread design category. He demonstrated several simple dead dough techniques at IBIE, revealing interesting marketing opportunities.
Dead doughs make lively displays
Dead dough creations are especially useful for seasonal displays, depicting leaves falling from a tree branch in autumn or long grass and sunflowers in the summer. Hitz said the creations can last through entire seasons without much fading when sheltered from direct sunlight. Bakers also can create eye-catching signage from the designs by baking stenciled-on lettering into the dough.
Hitz recommened rye and buckwheat flours as cornerstones of dead doughs, citing their low levels of
| Ciril Hitz demonstrates dead dough displays. |
gluten-forming proteins compared with other flours. A simple syrup of sugar water provides the hydration. When the syrup cools, the sugar provides the rock-hard structure necessary for complicated designs, but while in syrup form prior to glucose crystallization, the dough remains extensible.
Dead dough has the consistency of clay prior to baking. Adding the syrup and gently mixing, Hitz showed how the dough slowly becomes a paste. He was careful not to over mix, noting that would create undesirable bubbling in the dough.
“Dough coloring agents include spinach, paprika, turmeric and other spices, really everywhere you look,” Hitz said. “There is no need to use food coloring with all of the naturally based shades available.”
He also demonstrated different folding and marbling techniques designed to retain definition between dough colors. “The more you fold, the more you lose bright color and blend color,” he added.
With decorative breads occupying a category in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie and the National Bread and Pastry Championships, bakers are increasingly realizing the marketing and display power that dead doughs hold.
Create ‘perfect’ peonies
“A peony is a ball that explodes,” said Buddy Valastro during a Retail Bakers of America-sponsored demonstration at IBIE. Valastro is a fourth-generation baker, cake decorator and owner of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J. He showed attendees how to make a gumpaste peony.
|When using gumpaste flowers to decorate a cake, keep the piped details to a minimum, says Buddy Valastro.|
To begin, each flower needs four sizes of petals, and six petals of each size. Use suppliers’ cutters to achieve the correct petal shape. After cutting the petals, lay a damp cloth over them to keep them from drying out. Then, use a tear drop Styrofoam form as the base of the petal, cutting off the pointed tip. To attach the petals to the form, Valastro uses a combination of gumpaste and water that has been strained. The result is a liquid with no spots and is thicker than water.
Press six small petals into a mould to add veins, and use a ball tool to thin the edges, applying a lot of pressure. “It’s okay if the gumpaste frays on the edges because that’s how peonies look in nature,” Valastro said. Coat 90 percent of petals with the glue, and wrap them one by one around the form. Then, hang to dry.
Do the same to the next larger size of petals. On this set, pull the petals out away from the flower’s center slightly, and hang to dry. Repeat this for the next two sets of petals. You may need to trim the bottoms of the petals with a pizza cutter before wrapping them, but let the peony form itself without trying to shape it too much, Valastro said. “It’s not an exact science. Flowers in nature aren’t perfect or identical, so gumpaste flowers shouldn’t be either,” he added.
Once all the petals have been applied, and the peony is dry, add more color by painting the flower with luster dust. Valastro suggested buying good paint brushes with stiff bristles. Then, brush the edges of the petals to coat with luster dust. If the color is too vibrant, you can mix the dust with cornstarch to lighten it. If a petal breaks, it doesn’t matter because no one will notice, he added. Steam the petals to set the dust so it won’t fall onto the cake.
Don’t forget to add leaves. “A lot of people don’t realize how important the foliage is. When you add the leaves, it really helps the flower stand out. They are the crown jewel,” Valastro noted. “When using gumpaste flowers on a cake, the cake itself doesn’t have to have a lot of intricate detail. Just let the flowers do the work.”