Demand for baked goods with a longer shelf-life is increasing, according to Puratos, which has offered advice to bakeries looking to tap into this demand.
Here, Matthew Bratt, patisserie chef at Puratos UK, outlines some easy-to-implement techniques to help extend the shelf-life of patisserie and bread items.
There are several ingredient tweaks that can help make patisserie items stay fresher for longer.
“Margarines and oils have a longer life than butter, so opt to use these where possible. Sugar is also well-known for its preservation properties, so where appropriate, add a 5% sugar syrup or honey to recipes to boost both shelf-life and sweetness,” Bratt explains.
Once baked, he advises wrapping goods tightly in two layers of clingfilm and storing in an airtight container, ensuring the container is stored in an ambient environment away from direct sunlight or other heat sources.
“Alternatively, many patisserie products have excellent freeze/thaw properties, giving the option to freeze the goods and defrost when appropriate,” he adds.
There are many products on the market that can help maintain freshness in bread, such as improvers and shelf-life enhancers. But, as Bratt notes, simple changes to the process can also help.
“To keep bread softer for longer, add more fat and water to the dough when preparing it. Baking bread for a shorter period, as far as the application allows, will also help keep bread fresher. If you are considering streamlining production and focusing on certain lines, consider using a sourdough, which will help bread stay fresher for longer naturally, delivering a great flavour that improves over time.”
Like patisserie, the correct storage of bread is essential to maintaining freshness. Bratt advises double-bagging loaves that are kept outside the freezer and storing in a cool environment.
It’s also worth sharing this knowledge with consumers, highlighting that freezing loaves at home is a great way to extend its life. Supplying loaves pre-sliced will help them when it comes to portioning.
“If a loaf is beginning to stale, inform the consumer that they can refresh it in the oven for a few minutes and serve immediately,” he adds.
And, as no one wants to see food wasted during this time, Bratt suggests making the most of any leftovers and turning them into new products. Slightly stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs, melba toast or croutons, for example, or used in desserts such as bread pudding and treacle tart.