Hybrid bakery items seem to sweep over the culinary world in waves, appearing and disappearing just as quickly. We’ve witnessed the cronut (a cross between a croissant and donut), the duffin (an amalgam of a muffin and donut), the townie (tart meets brownie) and an as-yet-unnamed mixture of cheesecake layer atop a delicious fudge-like brownie.
While hybrid varieties might come and go, the overall category of pastries was the best performer within baked goods globally. According to Euromonitor International, pastries experienced a compound annual growth rate of more than 3% from 2008-2013, with analysts attributing this performance to a combination of flavor innovation with the rise of specialized bakery chains. Both of these trends are setting the stage for further development of hybrid pastries.
One distinctive that defines the category of hybrid pastries is the consumer expectation of an artisanal-quality experience, which translates into reliance on authentic ingredients and from-scratch preparation. For example, brownies should be rich with a strong presence from dairy ingredients, chocolate and butter. The more fudge-like the brownie, the more it depends on the whole eggs and egg yolks added for richness and mouthfeel. Whole eggs and egg yolks deliver great flavor and help build the structure of the brownie.
If that brownie were topped with a cheesecake layer for a hybrid creation, that element would be started first, prior to the brownie construction as part of a two-stage baking process. Again, real eggs in cheesecake preparations add the functional properties of coagulation and gelation and create proper texture and mouthfeel in a cheesecake layer.
While eggs might not appear in the classic French croissant, they are included in the dough for a cronut, since it mixes the textures, appearance and flavor of a croissant with a donut.
In all of these creations egg ingredients play three major roles, in leavening, gelation and coagulation. There isn’t a single protein ingredient available in the market that can replace the superiority in baking formulations that eggs deliver. Customers will appreciate the quality, the flavor and the appearance that real eggs bring to hybrids or any other bakery item that relies on eggs, including muffins, donuts, brownies, cakes, cookies and similar products.
However, baking operations can improve profitability on all of these items by saving time. Many bakeries, including large to mid-sized, are still using shell eggs. Converting to egg ingredients, particularly liquid, is an easy switch and saves time and labor. A new video and accompanying worksheets explain this simple switch at www.aeb.org/conversion.