Problem: How can I use a natural sweetener without sacrificing taste and functionality?
Solution: Incorporating honey into bakery formulas allows highvolume bakers to maintain exceptional flavor while creating natural, clean label bakery foods.
Today’s consumers are more concerned than ever about the food they eat–and for good reason. It’s hard to pick up a newspaper without reading a story dissecting the food we eat and the impact it has on our bodies.
As a result, many high-volume bakeries are reformulating their products or introducing new products made with simple ingredients consumers trust and are familiar with. A growing segment of consumers crave natural, clean ingredient labels on their bakery foods, and honey is the ideal ingredient to ensure not only a highquality product, but also a product that conforms to the latest trends in the baking industry.
Pure honey is all natural and contains only one ingredient: honey. It’s produced by bees in a beehive. When used in bakery foods, honey is simply labeled as “honey.”
Te ingredient is about 25 percent sweeter than sucrose on a dry weight basis, and is composed of numerous sugars, including fructose (38.5 percent), glucose (31 percent), maltose (7.2 percent) and sucrose (1.5 percent). Te color and flavor of honey differs depending on the bees’ nectar source, allowing volume bakers to launch complete lines of honey-sweetened products, all with different flavor profiles.
Honey’s flavor and its pure and natural attributes have made it a popular ingredient with consumers and bakers alike. In a recent Honey Attitude and Usage Study, researchers interviewed 521 households about their honey usage. Te study revealed that 44 percent of respondents preferred whole wheat bread made with honey, and 35 percent indicated that they are willing to pay a premium of $0.40 for a whole wheat bread made with honey.
The natural sweetener with functionality Although honey is most widely known as a natural sweetener, it also has many functional benefits in bakery foods. Honey allows bakers to extend the shelf life of their products with a natural ingredient. Honey’s fructose content holds in a bakery food’s moisture, thus reducing dry products. Honey also has a high acidity (average pH 3.91), which inhibits mold growth.
In most bakery formulations, honey can replace the existing sweetener with only minor modifications. In general, bakers using honey should follow these guidelines:
1. Honey sugars caramelize during baking, adding a golden color to a variety of products. As a result, bakers may have to reduce oven temperatures to prevent over-browning.
2. Te moisture content of honey varies throughout the year, by region and by floral source. On average, honey’s moisture content is about 17 percent, and as long as the moisture content remains below 18.6 percent, honey will remain stable.
3. Honey naturally contains small amounts of enzymes, which contribute to the ingredient’s properties. Te predominant enzymes in honey are diastase (amylase), invertase (Dglucosi- dase) and glucose oxidase. Some flours do not contain sufficient amount of diastase enzyme due to poor climatic conditions in which the wheat was grown. Because honey contains diastase, bakers can avoid adding specially prepared diastatic malts when using such flours.
Honey’s usage in the baking industry continues to grow as consumer trends run parallel to the ingredient’s many benefits. For more information on honey and its many uses, visit www.BakingWithHoney.com.
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