Flour Blends Make for Easy Baking

While grains are, without a doubt, an essential part of our diet, establishing the right proportions to obtain the best nutritional profiles for the product with the sensory characteristics required takes science. Ready-made flour mixes reliably provide a starting point to achieve both, while also customizing unique formulations.

Consumers today are looking for nutritional added value – even in everyday foods such as bread. That is why Good Mills has developed a range of flour mixes for artisan bakers and the baking industry as a whole, which can be used to produce bread and rolls, as well as pastries with added health benefits. The GoWell® flour blends, for example, are enriched with Omega-3, proteins or various other functional nutrients from cereals. “Functionality is becoming increasingly important in bakery products throughout Europe. Many people know a lot about healthy eating, but they lack the time to put such knowledge into practice with the preparation of balanced, fresh meals. For years now, people have been turning to products that can help compensate for this – in the past, that would mean a dietary supplement or special dietary food from a health food store. Yet today, consumers expect added health benefits in everyday food,” Good Mills’ specialists told us.

Thanks to growing consumer awareness, genuine and/or regional ingredients are an important segment of the market, alongside functional components of flour blends. Ancient grains are key words here, Good Mills shares: “Spelt is already well known – even if spelt as we know it today is, strictly speaking, not an ancient cereal – as are einkorn, khorasan, 2ab Wheat or Tartary Buckwheat.”

On the other hand, manufacturers have to consider not only consumer needs but also their own operational requirements. This is where flour blends are an ideal solution, as they offer standardized quality and ease of handling, while still allowing bakeries to add their own personal touch to a recipe.

Creating Mixes

During the past century, human taste has become accustomed to refined flour products. Consumers prefer baked goods with a fluffy, juicy, soft texture and a mild taste. “Maintaining this familiar and beloved taste experience, while taking advantage of full-grain or ancient grain varieties, is by far the greatest challenge,” Good Mills points out. For instance, it is not possible to produce “pure” ancient grain bread with einkorn or emmer, and achieve satisfactory sensory results. Instead, modern bread wheat must be supplemented to achieve tasty results. The same goes for whole grain: most people are aware of its advantages and valuable components such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, the rough texture and the tart, slightly bitter aroma of a wholemeal bread does not match modern taste perception. “That’s why GoodMills Innovation’s R&D department set a standard for all new developments to ensure that the results satisfy in terms of taste. This is the only way to guarantee that the baked goods will be successful with consumers in the long term. White Gold whole grain concentrates for light baked goods, for example, can certainly compete with those made from white flour in terms of sensory perception.”

Unique Recipes with Standard Blends

Pre-mixes are the ideal solution for ease of handling, consistent quality and maintaining flexibility when creating new recipes. Good Mills’ GoWell range, in particular, offers the greatest flexibility possible, the manufacturer says: “For example, bakers can create seasonal specialties, such as a bread with many valuable nutrients obtained from cereals, and seasonal herbs. Target group-oriented variations such as an Omega-3 sports bread enriched with superfoods are also possible. With blends, the baker no longer has to go through a time-consuming development process for the ideal recipe: the basis is already there, so all that is required is some fine-tuning. The team at GoodMills Innovation supports its customers with plenty of suggestions and recipe examples, from first tests to the finished recipe.”

The biggest challenge is in making products without artificial additives. Here, Good Mills recommends thermally treated flours. This treatment not only reduces the bacterial count and increases storage time, but also optimizes stability. “But what we have to keep in mind,” the company emphasizes, “particularly with mixes, is that there is now a shortage of specialists in the industry. Staffing levels have been thinned out in many companies. Here, blends score points with their standardized handling – and reliability of the ingredient company regarding product quality.”

Key Trends

Looking at the nutritional profiles on the rise, calorie reduction is in demand. Sugar reduction is not easily done in bakery, as in addition to taste, sucrose contributes to the structure and texture of the products.

“It can be especially challenging to replace sugar in yeast-fermented baked items because the sucrose directly affects processing conditions and final structure of the product. Balancing calorie content is critical here to ensure that while reducing sugar content, it does get not partially replaced by fat and therefore inadvertently increase calorie count (for reference, sucrose is 4kcal/g, fat is 9kcal/g),” Saquib Ramday, category director for Beverages, Bakery and Confectionary, Europe, at Tate & Lyle, explained for us.

For products like bread that are typically lower in sugar, only a portion of the sugar may be removed to ensure proper taste and structure from the yeast fermentation. “Tate & Lyle has found that, as a result of these challenges, more and more of its manufacturer customers are turning to select fibers for their unique ability to deliver a satisfying sensory experience in reduced-sugar and reduced-calorie formulations,” the specialist says.

Plant-based alternatives have recorded a 30% increase in the bakery category globally, according to Mintel data. In particular, vegan sweet baked goods such as biscuits and cakes are becoming increasingly popular, as well as vegan-labeled bread. Egg is a vital component to many baked goods because of its functional properties. “In order to replace it, bakers must find substitutes that can replicate its emulsification, gelification and aeration properties, without negatively impacting upon taste,” Ramday explains. Tate & Lyle has developed egg replacement solutions, using plant-based proteins together with emulsifiers, starch and hydrocolloids, such as CESAGUM® Locust Bean Gum.

Tate & Lyle’s latest additions to their mixes and concentrates for bread and dough products include:

  • “PROMITOR®Soluble Fibre, a corn-based soluble fiber with over two times the digestive tolerance of inulin, which reduces the possibility of digestive discomfort.
  • CESAGUM® Locust Bean Gum, a completely natural, vegan gum made from the seeds of the carob tree. “This preserves the structure of products, as well as preventing phase separation, helping baked goods manufacturers to ensure their products retain the texture, taste and mouthfeel of traditional baked goods in vegan alternatives,” he explained.
  • HAMULSION® platform, designed to offer a complete reformulation and collaborative solution approach. “This can help manufacturers to create plant-powered baked goods, which deliver amazing taste and texture to delight their customers and help support their dietary choices.”

In addition, in the search for healthy bakery goods, there is mounting evidence that wheat has increased in dietary fiber over time. A study conducted at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, UK, comparing historic and modern wheat varieties grown side by side has shown an increase in dietary fiber and other features beneficial to human health. This is contrary to concerns that the push for higher yields has made today’s wheat less “healthy” than older types.

Free-from Blends

Oast to Host is a gluten and wheat free bakery based in Kent, UK, which has seen its cake flour packs become very successful and its pastry flour, packaged in recyclable paper bags, winning multiple awards. The two recent launches are aimed for foodservice/trade as well as for home bakers.

The Pastry Flour has been blended to create crisp puff or shortcrust pastry and the Cake Flour can be turned into a light cake sponge. “Like the entire Oast to Host product range, the two flour mixes are completely gluten-free, wheat-free and vegetarian,” the company said at the launch. The range contains a blend of corn, rice, potato, xanthan and egg albumen.

The Cake Flour creates a moist light sponge that is perfect for sponges cakes, sticky toffee pudding, scones, blinis and biscuits: 225g will make an 8” cake suitable for anything from lemon drizzle, to rich chocolate fudge cake, or Battenberg to coffee and walnut cake, Oast to Host recommends. The Pastry Flour creates a pastry finish and is recommended for experts or beginner bakers. This multi-award-winning flour is so easy to use, roll and bake. The flour blend is extremely versatile as it can be made into sweet, plain or dairy-free shortcrust, puff pastry, cheese-straws or shortbread.

“Gluten-free pastry is notoriously tricky to get right using the usual wheat replacement flours. Co-founder Claire and I have spent years iterating the recipe to get it absolutely perfect,” said Oast to Host co-founder Sally Black.

With the demand for diverse flours greatly increased, either by home baking or by professionals growing capacity, specialists are providing mixes to ensure convenience when baking all product segments, as well as guidance for developing new formulations.

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