Wednesday, September 28, 2011: 02:18:26 PM

Food Processing Trend

The evolution in baking

More and more consumers opting for new age bakery products rather than following conventional baking techniques to make cakes and other food items at home

Bakeries play an important part in forming a region’s culinary culture and often reflect the food habits of a community. Though baked breads are not completely a part of the Indian cuisine, tandoors have produced what can well be called their desi counterparts. Tandoori rotis, nans, rumali rotis and several Indian breads have already made global footprints. However, conventional breads are gradually gaining ground in the Indian F&B market and thanks to the urban population’s appetite for all things western, the bakery industry in India is on the verge of a major boom.

Baking usually involves the following processes:
  • Formation and expansion of gases
  • Trapping of the gas in air cells
  • Coagulation of proteins
  • Gelatinisation of starches
  • Evaporation of water
  • Melting of shortenings
  • Crust formation and browning
Changing patterns
In culinary art, baking forms an important part in the art of cooking and food processing. Baking also plays an important role in the making of desserts like pies, cakes and cookies. Baking guidelines vary from item to item and in most cases the right baking time can be the key to the success of the recipe. In India, baking ovens formed an important part of the urban kitchen earlier, but the microwave has taken over its role completely nowadays. As a result of this, baking has taken a backseat for many domestic cooks and housewives. One of the major issues is the high electricity bill that the ovens caused.
Another factor that has changed baking habits in India is the gradual shift towards faster lifestyles and increase in confectionaries and bakeries across the country. With the entry of players such as Monginis, Cookie Jar, Ribbons and Balloons and others, the typical Indian consumer prefers bringing home the cake on special occasions than dedicate a day to grandma’s recipes.
Divya Sanglikar, food writer and corporate nutritionist at Healthji, an established health portal, shares some tips on baking:
  • “If you want to use stored soda (edible) you can check before using. Add few drops of lemon juice and if bubbles appear then you can use it for baking.  The same is applicable with baking powder
  • Excess amount of soda can hamper the taste of preparation
  • Self raising flours are used for domestic baking preparations for better textures.”
According to Kolkata based NGO worker Jayati Roy Chowdhury, “Earlier we used to bake cakes and pastries at home but now we prefer bringing it from outside. We realised that though we are paying a lot more, the convenience is much more. The variety available at places like Cookie Jar and Monginis is wide and since they take order beforehand and make customised bakes makes them the perfect choice for our family”
Though the art of making maybe lost in some cultures and regions of India, the baking industry on the whole has witnessed rapid growth due to the cropping up of new age confectioners and the bakeries in India. It is likely that more scientific and modern techniques of baking will become a part of the Indian food processing sector.
Tias Chakraborty

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