Each person’s body has its own metabolism, which regulates and limits the degree to which their digestive system can effectively utilize the food they eat. Most of us (thankfully) don’t have to worry about whether we’ll reach the point of satisfying our hunger, but rather how we’ll satisfy it. Our intentions are good: We want to meet nutritional needs in the course of satisfying our hunger. Unfortunately, cravings or a lack of time tempt us to eat in an unbalanced manner (consume an excess of certain food groups, leaving no “room” for others), or simply eating more than what our systems can effectively utilize.
Bakery products can be especially problematic in this sense. Although they have the potential to contribute important components to a balanced diet (whole grains), they often unnecessarily contain large proportions of sugar and/or fat (or chemical substitutes thereof), and little or no whole grains.
In talking to other bakers, we’ve found bakeries being economically swayed to baking less-healthy products; that is, people’s buying decisions appear to be based more on their palates than their knowledge of nutrition. We believe products can be baked nutritiously without sacrificing taste, and that for many people the transition to not only eating, but enjoying nutritious items is possible. We stress the word transition, and hope we’ll be able to offer baked goods that, while tasting somewhat different than what they’ve grown accustomed to, can eventually be more enjoyable to eat.
Here are principles we apply to increase the nutritional value of our baked goods:
- Reduction in sugar and/or use of honey and fruit as a substitute for sugar.
- Use of whole grains and whole grain flour (most of our products contain 50% whole grains or more).
- Creative use of fresh vegetables and fruits in our recipes.
- Avoiding the addition of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives or other chemicals.
- Choosing unsulfured and unsweetened or low sweet dried fruits when feasible.
- Using longer fermentation times in our breads to increase digestibility and shelf life.
- Offering some products with organically-grown ingredients.
- Substituting cream cheese or a starch-milk thickener for butter in frosting, resulting in significantly less fat, more protein, and a lighter consistency.
- Fat replacement via low-fat milk and egg whites.