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Bread & Grain Trends

Insights, Innovation and Market News


Buttery Brioche Stands Out On Menu Of New California Bakery

Baker Nubchi Thao, who grew up in France, is known, like her new bakery in Fresno, Calif., as The Brioche Lady. The bakery used to be Le Parisien Cafe, and the new owner continues to sell a few treats from the old menu, including colorful macaron sandwich cookies, mini eclairs, and French pastries. But the headliner is really the brioche, a specialty that is not easy to make, what with the rising and fermentation processes that can take 14 to 16 hours. The bakery offers a variety of loaves, including brioches flavored with chocolate, cinnamon, blueberry cream cheese, and strawberry cream cheese. The brioche is used to make: the croque madam ham and cheese sandwich; waffles and traditional brioche French toast; and a brioche bread and ice cream sandwich. [Image Credit: © ptiloup074 from Pixabay]

Ardent Mills Shows Pizza Expo Attendees What Authentic Really Means

As consumer food preferences change, pizza bakers need to adapt to new trends and ingredient choices, including unusual flours like heirloom and ancient grains. The Ardent Mills culinary team recently showcased top flour-and-grain trends at the recent International Pizza Expo, a gathering of pizza-making experts and enthusiasts from the restaurant industry. In the process, the team whipped up a variety of brick-oven style pizzas at the expo, including five that illustrated current ingredient trends (and featured company flours): traditional Neapolitan-style pizza; margarita pizza; farm stand pizza made with whole wheat flour and red quinoa; Mardi Gras pizza with Cajun chicken and andouille sausage; Mediterranean pizza with grilled chicken and roasted peppers; and savory garlic parmesan pizza.[Image Credit: © Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay]

Innovative Ways To Integrate Wheat Products Into Menus

Can kids be tricked into eating healthful vegetables? One chef’s answer: yes, by creating tortillas made from carrots. Josh Kranz of South Dakota recently participated, along with 12 colleagues, in the Wheat Foods Council’s Wheat Immersion Program, where they brainstormed ways to incorporate more wheat products into menus. The immersion program gave the chefs opportunities to work with wheat in innovative ways. Kranz, for example, used whole kernel grain to blend wheat into a salad much like beans or quinoa are used with leafy greens. He soaked the grain much like you would dry beans, then cooked it, cooled it down, and tossed it with a vinaigrette.[Image Credit: © Pexels from PIxabay]

Churros On The March, In San Diego At Least

Food experts may disagree about its origins, but most concede that the deep-fried, cinnamon-and-sugar-dusted churro fritter has been around since the 16th century. A long-time cheap snack in San Diego and Tijuana, the churro has begun popping up in unique ways at local restaurants, bars, and food stands. Among the offerings:  Punta Mita-style churros (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside; the churro doughnut (rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla ice cream); churro bagel (coated in cinnamon sugar and paired with dulce de leche cream cheese); churro waffle sticks ( coated in cinnamon sugar, served with maple cream cheese sauce, jalapeño-blackberry jam and fresh fruit); and churro waffles (fresh-baked Belgian waffles dredged in cinnamon sugar, then paired with ice cream). Also available: churro ice cream sandwiches, pancakes, and French toast.[Image Credit: © Daria-Yakovleva from Pixabay]


Hey America! Chickpea Flour Is Not A U.S. Innovation

Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, and others have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. And now that Americans are getting into the ancient ingredient, some Indians wonder whether their culinary heritage might be getting blurred. The popularity of chickpea flour in the U.S. has been traced to 2009, when it began to appear on gluten-free blogs. In a few years, cookbooks appeared with recipes, for example, like chickpea flour pancakes layered with tomatoes and onions. Gluten-free bakeries popped up, offering treats like chickpea chocolate cupcakes. But freelance food writer Priya Krishna, whose family has long cooked with chickpea flour, wishes cooks and bakers in the U.S. were aware of chickpea flour’s deep roots in South Asian cooking. “I'm not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream,” she writes. “But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn't frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.”[Image Credit: © Alex Dante frim Pixabay]

Research & Insights

New Data On Bread Wheat May Help Improve Yield, Disease Resistance

For about 12,000 years, since the dawn of agriculture, humans have been selectively breeding plants with desirable traits, such as high grain yield and disease resistance. Bread wheat (triticum aestivum) during that time emerged as one of the world's most important crops. Together with the growing human population and the changing climate, the demand for wheat with a higher yield and additional resilience is increasing. However, for a few years now the average yield increase of wheat is stagnating. But, according to a new study (Pont et al., Nature Genetics, 2019; 51 (5): 905), high-yielding varieties of triticum aestivum can be found all over the world, each adapted to its growing environment. The study provides a rich genetic data resource that can be used to improve genetic traits in bread wheat, from environmental adaptation to improved yield and disease resistance. [Image Credit: © Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay]

Whole Grain Reduces Gut Serotonin Levels – And Risk Of Diabetes

A new Finnish study finds that adults who eat whole grain rye products have lower plasma serotonin levels than people eating low-fiber wheat bread, and therefore possibly a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Serotonin, best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain, is also produced by the intestines where it remains separated from the brain. In the gut it serves various peripheral functions. including modulation of gut motility, the ability to move food through the digestive tract. Increased blood serotonin is also associated with high blood glucose levels. The researchers noted that whole grain is known to reduce the risk of diabetes. “On the basis of these new results, the effect could at least partly be due to a decrease in serotonin levels," said researcher Kati Hanhineva from the University of Eastern Finland. (Pekka Keski-Rahkonen et al., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019.)[Image Credit: © Couleur from Pixabay]
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