NPD: How to ramp up your baking skills

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages/fotostorm
Pic: GettyImages/fotostorm

Related tags Baking home bakers artisanal bakeries craft bakery Ingredients sourdough plant-based Ancient grains

Spurred on by popular baking shows like The Great British Bake Off, there has been a notable increase in the number of independent bakeries opening in the UK in the past year – while Brits of all ages are seriously engaging in the hobby at home.

The out-of-home bakery sector is proving resilient, despite headwinds like rising costs across the supply chain, labor challenges and a cost-of-living crisis. According to Lumina Intelligence, the total UK eating out market reach £91.5m in 2022, just 0.6% ahead of the 2019 levels and up 38% year-on-year. The bakery, coffee and sandwich channel outperformed the total market – pulling in £ in 2022, which was 9.8% ahead of 2019.

In 2023, the UK was home to more than 1,500 Bakery Cafes businesses, an increase of 0.4% from 2022 (IBIS World). The trend translates into the home too, with research from Mintel revealing that today, as many as 41 million Brits (equating to 79% of adults) bake at home.

We’ve done a snapshot roundup of some of the products and services that will take your baking to the next level.

Sourdough baking retreat

Baking classes

Spend a week in the Alpujarras region of Granada to learn the art of sourdough baking with e5 Bakehouse.

The bakery has been inspiring bakers in the art and science of baking sourdough for many years.

This year’s retreat in October will involve two full days of sourdough bread making, along with a half day pastry workshop overseen by two master bakers.

Day one will see student make three different breads – a  100% rye loaf, ciabatta-style buns and a classic country loaf – using grains and flour grown at 35 Bakehouse’s Suffolk farm. The bakery will also reveal the coveted techniques it uses to manage a sourdough starter and prepare a leaven.

The second day will focus on a more indepth look at sourdough, including the science behind the fermentation, the impact of different grains and the process of flour milling. They will then bake e5 Bakehouse’s signature Hackney Wild recipe as well as a porridge loaf and flatbreads.

The final half day will be a morning of pastry, preparing a shortcrust dough using a variety of flour. Students will also be taught how to make a frangipane tart – using locally grown almonds – with seasonal or preserved toppings.

Dates: October 13-20, 2024

Cost: £1,350

The weather will largely dictate on which days bread will be baked. If it’s a particularly sunny day, leaders David and Emma will invite guests to spend the day to explore the area. Las Chimeneas is located in the dramatic region of The Alpujarras and consists of beautiful villages and quaint converted houses. Expect lots of antiques, books and hidden nooks and crannies. Students will be served fresh and seasonal food from the small restaurant every day.

It's okay to crumble

Rubicone Crumbles - complete range

The Italian supplier of ingredients for ice-cream and pastry shops has expanded its range of Crumbles.

Rubicone’s Crumbles are crunchy inclusions that add textures to ice-cream and pastry products, standing out for the original and unique formulation. Unlike competitor products on the market, the Crumbles are ready-to-use and created by coating crumbled butter biscuits with different spreads and creams to enhance both flavor and color of the final product.

According to the company, it’s precisely this formulation that makes Crumbles so versatile and also customizable.

Crumbles are available in 12 flavors to meet the needs of a diverse range of tastes, including Salted Caramel, Yoghurt, Blueberry, Speculoos, Coffee, Caramel, Choco, Raspberry, Lemon, Pistachio, Tea Matcha and White Chocolate.

The Crumbles are all gluten free (except for Speculoos) and are produced in Italy, like all Rubicone solutions. They are suitable for multiple applications: from a base or decoration for cakes to adding crunch to ice-cream and frozen yogurt.

“Rubicone is committed to offering its customers – specifically pastry chefs and ice cream artisans – a varied range of solutions based on Italian tradition but open to innovation,” said Alessandro Cioccolini, director of Rubicone.

“We wanted to develop a versatile product that’s suitable for numerous applications and consumption occasions. It’s a functional solution that can be customized. It’s also a product capable of satisfying the demands of consumers curious to experiment with new flavors and textures, without neglecting the needs of people with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease.”

The Cesena-based company also offers a 570-strong portfolio for the gelato and pastry channel, from traditional to more innovative formulations, including vegan, gluten free, Hi-Pro and sugar free lines, which are exported to 84 countries worldide.

The company falls under the Ingredient-Tech Platform, a collective of companies – including CSM Ingredients, Hifood, Italcanditi, Comprital, Park Products and Creative Food Ingredients – committed to a single purpose: to support the food industry in importing both human wellbeing and the health of the planet.

Cocoa alternatives

Voyage Foods Noel Barnhurst 2

A commercial partnership between Cargill and Voyage Foods aims to deliver healthy and particularly more sustainable alternatives to cocoa-based products, along with nut spreads without their traditional ingredients - peanuts & hazelnuts.

“Cargill is proud to invest in the next generation of even more sustainable food solutions,” said Inge Demeyere, MD of bakery, ice cream and chocolate confectionery, Europe, Cargill.

“We want to be our customers’ main source of inspiration and growth, setting new standards for innovating and collaborating. To do this, we’re anticipating future trends by focusing on high-value categories such as sweet bakery, ice cream and chocolate confectionery.”

The alternatives complement  and diversify Cargill’s traditional chocolate portfolio to provide a broader range of solutions that are vegan, label friendly and completely free of nut and dairy allergens.

“Alternatives to cocoa-based products are a great accompaniment to the traditional chocolate solutions that Cargill offers its customers,” she adds. “This partnership is just one of the many ways that we are meeting consumer demands and market regulations when it comes to even more sustainable options,” added Demeyere.

Cargill will be the exclusive B2B global distributor for Voyage Foods, while the latter will bring its proprietary tech to the table to replicate the authentic flavor of chocolate products.

“We have always been focused on solving human and environmental health challenges through food,” added Voyage CEO and founder Adam Maxwell.

“Partnering with Cargill is the perfect way to scale these solutions globally to offer food manufacturers the ability to integrate cocoa-free confectionery and spreads, produced with no nut or dairy allergens used in the recipe formulation, into their portfolios.”

Coming to the party

AAK shutterstock_2463269999

Looking to create a sweet treat that delivers a creamy center inside a decadent shell with great shelf life?

AAK claims it’s non-lauric filling fat outperforms traditional lauric filling fats, in that it’s non-hydrogenated, non-tempering, low in saturated fats, more compatible with cocoa butter and offers better bloom stability and greater flavor release.

The 1:1 replacement for cocoa butter is a cost-effective solution that doesn’t skimp on performance or sustainability, with a mass-balance RSPO option also available.

Not all shortenings and flakes are created alike, evident when you take a bite of AAK’s carrot cake sconce concept made with palm flakes.

The flakes influence the shape and structure, while enhancing the mouthfeel and flakiness of the scone. AAK flakes are complemented by Cisao® 8312-00-01MB palm shortening which creams easily, with

For a more elastic texture, excellent machinability and reduced post-hardening – thus extending shelf life – AAK recommends complementing the flakes with its palm shortening.

A plant-based cream cheese icing takes the treat to a new level, delivering a sensory and functional experience very similar to traditional cream cheese icings, but offering a 26% reduction in saturated fat. And to top it off, AAK has a AAK’s has a formulation to add to a cinnamon sugar topping that acts as a moisture barrier to help prevent clumping, adding to the visual appeal.

All of AAK’s products are RSPO certified.

The rise of butter powder


Mintel data shows that more than 400 NPD incorporating butter powder were launched on world markets over the past four years.

The rise in popularity of the ingredient is mainly its organoleptic and functional benefits (retaining the nutritional benefits of butter, such as its fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K); its shelf stability; and alignment with speciality diets and allergy considerations.

Butter powder has a longer shelf life compared to regular butter, making it an attractive option for consumers and manufacturers seeking convenience and the ability to store products for extended periods without refrigeration. It’s easily reconstituted into butter, providing the rich flavor of authentic butter, but as an ambient product, is convenient in shelf-stable mixes like pancake and cake mixes.

Consumers on specialty diets (keto, low carb) are increasingly choosing butter powder for its fat content. Additionally, it is free from certain allergens, making it a suitable option for people with dietary restrictions.

To meeting this increasing demand, EPI Ingredients – the Dry Ingredients Division of French dairy cooperative Laïta – has added an additive-free Butter Powder to its range.

“Currently, few players on the European market offer butter powder, especially in additive-free versions,” said Anne-Laure Legrand, product manager for EPI Ingredients.

“We have always been committed to provide solutions that meet evolving market requirements and today, we’re seeing a growing demand for additive-free products. It was only natural that we should work on creating an additive-free butter powder to meet the expectations of both manufacturers and consumers.”

According to the company, its solution is easily incorporated into a broad variety of food matrices, imparts the taste of traditional butter and has a creamy texture and mouthfeel comparable to those of traditional butter-based products.

EPI claims its powder also goes one better, with benefits including matrix incorporation, good dispersion and hydration, as well as ease of storage. With no need for refrigeration, butter powder offers a high level of flexibility for manufacturers, unlike traditional butter.

The modern take on ancient grains

Ancient grain bread Getty Manico
Pic: GettyImages/Manico

Ancient grains are slowly making a comeback – fueled by the growing better-for-you and better-for-the planet demands among consumers – but the formulation challenges continue to keep their use low in the bakery field. A new study has revealed some hacks for bakers. Link here to find out more.

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