Large-scale bakeries and small artisan bakers are branching out or branching out into whole grains, sprouted and alternative grains, and healthy inclusions.
“We have endless varieties of flours made with endless varieties of grains, like sprouted quinoa flour and all of these nutrient-dense flours that are now available — vegetable-based flours, fruit-based flours,” Jon said. Davis, head of culinary innovation at Aspire. Bakeries, Los Angeles, “It’s amazing what you can get there. I have a sprouted oatmeal that I will start working with, trying to bring a lot more nutrition and variety to our basic breads.
He also mentioned beet flour, recycled flours made from spent grains from the brewing industry and more.
“I even came across this pumpkin seed flour which has great nutrient content,” he added. “They can bring much higher nutritional value to your everyday breads. Everything is experimental at the moment. We need to prove all of these claims and see if they work functionally, but we’re still in the early stages of testing.
Craig Ponsford is a 30-year artisan baking veteran who served as a baking instructor and now owns artisan bakery Ponsford’s Place Bakery & Innovation Center in San Rafael, CA. He opened the bakery 12 years ago to be 100% whole grain, which was rare at the time.
“Now I would say most of my peers are mulling in pretty high percentages, otherwise all of their bread is whole grain,” he said. “That tide has turned quite quickly over the past 12 years.”
He also said in-house milling is a buzzword in the artisan bakery.
“A lot of professional bakeries grind some of their flour, if not all of their flour,” Mr Ponsford said. “There are people who are ‘fresh flour or nothing’. And there are people like me. I’d rather someone grind it. It’s an additional set of skills. I know some really talented bakers who have been milling for a while now, and if they stood next to me I guess they would say it took them five to six years to get really good at milling.
Peter Reinhart, artisan baker, author of the award-winning James Beard cookbooks and instructor at Johnson & Wales University, said he’s seen the rise of artisan millers.
“The one I refer to a lot because it’s close to me is Carolina Ground in Hendersonville, North Carolina,” he said. “It’s a small stone mill. The miller is a woman named Jennifer Lapidus, and she contracts with farmers within a 100-mile radius of her to grow grain, and at the same time, she finds artisan bakers who are willing to buy that grain if she grinds them. They create a coalition of baker, miller and farmer.
He also sees the influence of more women and people of color entering the baking space, both at the artisan level and in larger bakeries.
“When I go to conferences, the leaders are all these old white men, and that’s a changing pattern,” Mr. Reinhart said. “More women bakers are getting into artisan bread, and they’re influencing the products, so we’re seeing a lot of products being developed that are traditional type bread. A baker who may be of Guatemalan origin will bring this influence to the type of products he prepares. A lot of people getting into it are women.