Taking thousands of years of development to arrive at where it is today, baking is probably the most interesting example of food preparation in our history. Ever since grass grains were heated on flat rocks to make a paste that vaguely resembled the bread we now consume daily, people have been developing new and exciting baking techniques in all different cultures. There have been new innovations in bakery ingredients for the past two thousand years, and the development in product quality and makings of some of our favorite foods continues today.
Baking began to flourish in ancient Rome when pastry cooks, (known as 'pastillarium'), became a respected profession in society. Baked goods were considered indulgent and quickly found their place among Roman festivals and celebrations. After flourishing in Rome, baking began to make its way across Europe. Mills were used to make flour and new uses for ingredients were developed. Soon different types of bread were being made, along with cakes and other new baked goods. Different parts of Europe became well known for a range of pastries. Baked goods started to become familiar with their respective countries' national identities.
Innovations in ingredients lead to the creation of new types of pastries, new recipes, and helped grow it into the industry it is today. An essential ingredient today, baking powder, was only introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. Used in almost every recipe, the ingredient releases carbon monoxide during the heating process that helps cakes, bread and other dough's to rise. Before baking powder, bakers had to rely on unstable, early baking sodas to leaven their pastries. Bakers would add their own additions to try and control the baking soda of effects with early and individual innovation.
Other developments over the years include specifically milled flour from different grains, sometimes combined with different additives. Different flours are available from your baking ingredient supplier and used to create different types of baked goods.
The baking industry tries to keep up with modern trends. In recent trends, to support healthy eating movements that have become popular in many places in the western world, many bakeries have been adding more fresh fruit to their products in order to appeal to that market. Fruit ingredients add new flavors to products. It takes more than just picking some fruit and throwing it in with the mix when it comes to commercial baking; fruit additions need to be robust enough to withstand the high heats of the baking process.
There is a lot more to development in the industry than the average consumer would realize. New methods and ingredients are constantly being developed to create and deliver better products. The commercial baking industry is one of the most innovative in the world, and as our tastes continue to change so will the products they make available.