For the love of grain
As a home baker, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to add more whole grains to my breads. I love the nuttiness that comes through, and the nutrition is essential to my family. Our toaster gets significant use every morning, and I need to feel good about the way my family starts the day.
My mom was my first baking instructor, and she made some truly amazing bread. My kids hold her pan bread as the gold standard that all others must aspire to, and my loaves never quite reach that ideal. And while she would periodically dabble with whole grains, her go-to loaf was always standard refined white made with commercial dry yeast.
So my task has been to strive toward the light, tender crumb of my mom’s bread, but with a high percentage of whole grains. One way I’ve been able to make some progress is through the longer fermentation periods made possible through sourdough techniques. I’m trying to find the right balance between ingredients, technique, and process. One Saturday morning not long ago, when the kids were surprised to hear that their morning toaster bread was 100 percent whole grain—and the loaf disappeared in short order—I knew I was on the right track.
Commercial bakers have many of these same goals—providing strong, whole-grain nutrition in snacks and baked goods for consumers who seek to align their food choices with their healthy, active lifestyle. And through an astute balance between the right ingredients, time-tested techniques, and skillful process, they can find success.
One company that has leveraged whole grains to great benefit over the past decade-plus is Kodiak Cakes, our cover story feature this month and our 2020 selection for “Bakery of the Year.” Their toaster waffles and flapjacks, bakery mixes, graham crackers, and other products clearly advertise their “100% Whole Grains” pedigree, proudly proclaiming that “Whole Grains Taste Better” on product packaging and in marketing materials. And the products do taste amazing. They have the right blend of ingredients, technique, and process. Kids—and consumers of all ages—love the products. And their sales are through the roof.
When we get product dynamics just right, we can make meals and snacks more memorable, all for the love of grain.