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The “Masters de la Boulangerie” competition, organized by Lesaffre, will be held Feb. 3 to 6 in Paris, France, as part of the “Europain” trade show. It is the final stage in a prestigious, three-year team competition cycle, comprised of the 2014-2015 Louis Lesaffre Cup and the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.

Based on talent and potential from the competition cycle, 18 experienced candidates will compete in one of these categories: Nutritional Bread Making, Gourmet Baking and Artistic Bread Making. A panel of six jurors will evaluate candidates on technique, sales, marketing and communication skills, economic factors and “social and environmental responsibility linked to bread making,” according to the competition website. Each category includes specific challenges for the candidates “linked to evolutions in baking and the profession’s future.”

Related demonstrations during the competition, following a “Sharing and The Future” theme, include sharing how the candidates responded to challenges, their bakery “tips and tricks,” innovations from competition sponsors and a spotlight on “Young Bakery Hopefuls.”

Like USW, Lasaffre is committed to helping the world’s baking industry grow to its fullest potential. USW admires the mission of its baking competition cycle. We wish all the candidates good luck, including bakers from the United States, as well as bakers from U.S. wheat importers Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Brazil.

Read more online at www.mastersdelaboulangerie.com, or follow the competition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and by following #BakeryMasters2018 and #MastersBoulangerie2018.

 

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The New Year always brings out trade and consumer media coverage of best products and trends from the previous year and the year ahead. As 2018 dawned, some pundits put wheat foods in a prominent place.

The media company Bloomberg, for example, named bread as its “Dish of the Year for 2017.”

“Restaurants and bakeries have shown what can truly be done to make bread a culinary wonder,” they wrote.

Freshly ground, whole wheat flour gets a lot of credit for the trend (obviously a narrow slice of the U.S. market), but Bloomberg took a longer view, also.

“One of the biggest cookbooks in 2017 had bread as its focus. ‘Modernist Bread,’ a sprawling, five-volume work, provides a revolutionary new understanding of one of the most important staples of the human diet, bread,” Bloomberg noted. “The collection offers comprehensive information on the subject of bread, from its history, to its science and physics, to techniques and recipes that will astound bread enthusiasts.”

The U.S.-based National Restaurant Association raised the humble doughnut to celebrity status in its “What’s Hot – 2018 Culinary Forecast,” a survey of 700 professional chefs on “hot trends on restaurant menus in the year ahead.”

Specifically, the list suggests restaurants will make more doughnuts with “non-traditional” fillings.

“When we think of doughnuts, we tend to conjure up images of glazed treats filled with vanilla cream,” the association noted. “But in 2018, more creative options abound. How does a cheesecake-stuffed doughnut, topped with raspberry jam, sound? … that’s what we’re talking about.”

“Fortune” magazine’s food trends for 2018 suggested an “era of permissibility” is afoot with a fusion of different foods including sushi croissants to pasta donuts.

“The salmon roll wrapped inside croissant dough, sometimes called the “croissushi,” debuted this year at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in Los Angeles,” editors exclaimed. “The spaghetti donut hails from the East Coast, made from pasta, eggs, and cheese fried into a donut shape for hand-held ease.”

We suspect the farmers USW represents, flour millers and wheat food companies around the world like the direction this is headed.

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By Marsha Boswell, Director of Communications, Kansas Wheat Commission

In an effort to increase consumer trust in the domestic wheat industry, U.S. wheat farmers have created a consumer-minded marketing campaign called “EatWheat” to increase awareness of farming and production practices as well as the practical benefits of wheat in the United States.

This campaign will allow the U.S. wheat industry to speak with one voice in an effort to reclaim the national conversation on wheat and share one primary message among numerous influencers while dismantling the false promises of diets without wheat.

Wheat foods are eaten all over the world and U.S. wheat is exported to all parts of the globe. Food is an expression of cultural identity and many favorite family memories from celebrations and holidays are often associated with wheat foods. Food is also a great unifier across cultures. And “to break bread together” is symbolic for bonding relationships.

The EatWheat campaign provides an opportunity to share the story of food culture and customs and helps foster a connection between people, including U.S. wheat and their customers. There are many popular wheat foods around the world made with U.S. wheat. Pan de muerto is a type of sweet roll traditionally baked in Mexico as part of the Dia de los Muertos observance. Agege bread is one of the most popular Nigerian breads, known for its soft, stretchy and chewy texture. In Japan, U.S. wheat is used in ramen or udon noodles, and in China it is used for Chinese wheat noodles and steamed buns. Pancit or noodles is probably one of the most well-known Filipino dishes. In Filipino vernacular, pancit simply refers to noodles. When Brazilians ask for “o pão nosso de cada dia” (our daily bread) most think of a roll with a crisp brown crust and a light-as-air crumb that fits neatly in the palm of a hand, known as pão francês. In Indonesia, traditional breads might include Bagelen bread, crocodile bread or gambang bread.

All too often, when urban consumers in the United States look down at their plate, they may not know how that food came from the farm to their table. While it may not be top of mind, many are wondering about the farmers who produce the food they consume and the processes used to grow it.

The website aims to create awareness of farm and production practices through the lens of food as an identity. And the food that we think can connect best is, of course, made with basic, simple and versatile wheat flour. And it does not matter if it is homemade for hours, or picked up at the supermarket ready-to-go — wheat food is a natural way to connect to others and yourself. EatWheat.org launched in November 2017, just in time for the holiday season.

On the site, consumers can find answers to their questions about wheat production practices, share their values with wheat farmers and engage.

Kansas wheat farmers are the driving force behind the EatWheat.org campaign and want to share the farmers’ side of the story through the website, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The site features stories of family farmers including Justin Knopf, who farms with his dad, Jerry, and his brother, Jeff.

“Our farm today looks much different than when I was a kid,” said Justin, a fifth-generation farmer focused on a sustainable future. “We are farming more acres because now, instead of just one family, there are three families to support. The machinery we use is different. Just like anyone’s life or job, we are using technology so we can better understand the biology and soils. All those things point to continual improvement which is important. We’re thinking critically about how we produce, where it comes from…”

Jerry Knopf is proud of how far their family farm has come.

“I just farmed because it was what I needed to do,” said Jerry. “I thought it was pretty cool they were willing to go to college but then come back and farm, because now they knew the new way to do things and are way smarter than I ever was.”

To watch the video of Justin’s story, visit https://eatwheat.org/stories/justin-knopf/.

Finally, the site features quick and easy recipes geared toward moms on the go, using ready-to-eat wheat foods like tortillas, bread and buns, and short-cuts including refrigerated dough and pasta. The “Learn” section tackles questions such as, ‘what is gluten,’ ‘what are the different types of flour’ and ‘what are some of the tools farmers use.’ Consumers can also “Get Inspired” with family activities like salt dough handprint ornaments, gingerbread houses and wheat décor.

Please visit EatWheat.org to learn more and help amplify these messages by sharing social media posts at facebook.com/eatwheat.org, instagram.com/eatwheat/ and pinterest.com/eatwheatorg/.

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Two new resources developed by milling and baking organizations in North America that communicate how consumers can reduce the risk of food-related illness are now available. The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) and the Canadian National Millers Association (CNMA) have produced a new food safety educational video designed to help eliminate the food safety risk associated with wheat flour by educating consumers on proper handling and baking instructions. In addition, NAMA worked with the U.S. based Home Baking Association to add specific information to its “Baking 101” resource about how consumers can minimize food safety risks with raw flour.

“Wheat is a healthy and wholesome grain, and an important part of the global food supply,” said NAMA President and CEO James A. McCarthy. “From farm to kitchen, the entire wheat industry is committed to best practices for food safety, and the simple and easy to use video is designed to help consumers understand and apply proper handling and baking procedures so they can safely enjoy their favorite baked goods.”

NAMA, CNMA and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration advise that flour is made from wheat grown and harvested on the farm, and it is possible for wheat to be exposed to environmental sources of E. coli and other bacteria that may present a food safety risk. Thus, raw flour is not ready to eat, and consumers should not eat or taste raw flour, dough or batter prior to cooking or baking as they can cause illness if harmful bacteria are present. However, proper cooking and baking eliminates the food safety risk associated with E. coli and other bacteria in raw wheat flour, dough and batter.

“An informed consumer is a safe consumer when it comes to food safety and at-home baking,” said CNMA President Gordon Harrison. “This video will make it easier for consumers to understand and implement a few simple food safety precautions that help protect them and their families.”

USW has posted the video on its YouTube channel. It is also posted on the CNMA website.

The “Baking 101” developed by the Home Baking Associations now features these baking food safety steps:

  1. Store raw flour, baking mixes, dough and eggs separately from ready-to-eat foods.
  2. Before baking, tie back long hair, clean counters, assemble ingredients and equipment, wash hands, and apron-up.
  3. Keep separate the measuring, mixing and handling of unbaked batter or dough from cooling, serving and packaging of baked products.
  4. Test baked products with wooden toothpick or cake tester and food thermometer at center to ensure products are completely baked.
  5. Clean tools, work surfaces and equipment with hot, soapy water or in dishwasher.
  6. Wash hands before you taste, serve or package baked goods.
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By Megan Meyer, PhD, International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation

Original article first appeared in March 2017

[IFIC is] rounding out National Nutrition Month [March], with a new Sound Science analysis. In fact, this Sound Science piece includes a double feature. Recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a pair of studies focused on a variety of health benefits associated with whole grain consumption, specific to the body weight and microbiome. Whether you are a carb enthusiast, carb skeptic, or somewhere in the middle, it’s important to take note new scientific findings and see how they align, enhance, or refute the current body of evidence. This will help you get the whole (grain) story.

A Closer Look at The Science

First up, the study by Karl et al., examined the effects of whole and refined grains on energy and metabolism endpoints. The study enrolled 81 participants in an eight-week study. The participants were divided into two groups: a whole grain group and refined grain group. The diets differed only in the types of carbohydrates consumed. Interestingly, the study found that the whole grain group had a calorie deficit (burned off more than they took in) more each day due to a few different factors, including an increased resting metabolic rate. Moreover, the authors postulated that this calorie loss could “translate into a ~2.5-kg (5.5 lbs.) body weight loss over one year.”

The other complementary study by Vanegas, et al., analyzed different endpoints and samples from the Karl et al., study to investigate the impact of whole grains on the microbiome. The microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses found on and in our bodies. While we are only at the early stages of understanding the impact of the microbiome, current research indicates that these communities provide us with important health functions.

One of the largest microbial communities resides in our gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Data from Vanegas et al., demonstrate that short-term whole grain consumption altered the GI microbiome composition and modified specific immune system and inflammatory markers. However, the researchers acknowledged that these effects were “modest” and that additional follow-up studies are “needed to observe more dramatic effects on immune and inflammatory responses.”

How does this impact what we already know?

So how do these findings stack up with the body of evidence? These findings feed in nicely to the current recommendations regarding carbohydrates and whole grains, which is to make half of your grain intake whole grains. In fact, comprehensive evidence from the Nutrition Evidence Library indicates that there is moderate evidence linking whole grain intake and lower body weight. If you are looking to boost your whole grain intake and meet the daily recommended 48 grams, try to incorporate more whole wheat flour, oats, cornmeal, popcorn, brown rice, bulgur, barley, rye, and quinoa into your diet.

However, this does not mean that there isn’t a place for other grains, such as enriched refined grains. Enriched refined grains contribute a variety of essential micronutrients such as B vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid, as well as iron. These micronutrients are key for supporting your overall metabolism and some specific micronutrients, such as folic acid, decrease the risk of neural tube development during pregnancy.

While these two studies on whole grains reveal a compelling reason to make half your grains whole, don’t forget about their other half. Both whole and enriched refined grains contribute important nutrients and are key components of a healthy eating pattern.

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Bakers around the world consider flour produced from U.S. wheat to be consistently high quality and versatile. That reputation is earned largely because wheat farmers grow excellent crops (supported by quality data from USW) the crops are delivered through the most efficient grain handling system in the world, and because USW invests trade service, technical support and more to serve the world’s wheat buyers and wheat food processors.

One of those technical experts is Bakery Consultant Roy Chung who, from a base in Singapore, has represented U.S. wheat for almost 40 years. He has consistently added value to U.S. wheat imports by introducing quality bread processing to the milling and baking industry across South Asia in conjunction with his USW colleagues and training program collaborators.

The association of such expertise and service with U.S. wheat’s reputation overseas is so well regarded that leading French yeast and fermentation products company Lesaffre asked Chung and USW to collaborate on an innovative publication called “Sandwich Bread in Words. A Glossary of Sensory Terms.” Lasaffre describes the booklet, published in January 2017, as a tool “to formalize a common vocabulary about sandwich bread, drawing on different cultures and incorporating a repeatable assessment method … to create a bridge to connect experts with consumers.”

Lasaffre’s baking ingredients and flour produced from HRS and HRW wheat classes are ideally suited for the high quality “sponge and dough” system bread products that Chung describes in the book: “The internal characteristics, like flavor, grain, texture, taste, mouthfeel … will determine if the customer returns for another loaf. The vested interest of the baker is to make the best possible looking and tasting product with the best ingredients available.”

Didier Rosada confirms that consumers around the world are looking for better tasting, more natural bread. He is a globally respected master baker and vice president of operations at Uptown Bakers, where he produces quality baked goods for food service and retail stores in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. He is a frequent consultant with USW, particularly in Latin America.

“Baking is changing in a good way,” Rosada said. “At my bakery, my process is as natural as possible, with long fermentation time, like it used to be done, to bring back the flavor profile of a good bread, the keeping qualities and texture, etc. And the classes of wheat that we have in the U.S. are perfect for that. I am using a flour that is almost 100 percent hard red winter or sometimes combined with hard red spring wheat.”

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By Amanda J. Spoo, USW Communications Specialist

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel abroad with some U.S. wheat farmers to learn more about the world wheat market and see how those markets use U.S. wheat. We visited many end-product manufacturers, and as we reviewed their various products, most of our conversations circled back to consumer demand. In the United States, the consumer’s relationship with food is becoming increasingly sophisticated — following new trends and seeking out convenience and information on where it came from. The fuel for this change comes from increasing disposable income, television networks dedicated to food and the growing number of online platforms like food blogs, Pinterest, etc. Although products and taste preferences vary from market to market, the demand for food that is high quality, creative and has a story, is universal.

Here in the United States, I recently had the chance to participate in an event that represents a potentially successful way for the global milling, food ingredient and wheat food industries to tell their stories to consumers. It was the National Festival of Breads, a biennial event held in Manhattan, KS, hosted by the Kansas Wheat Commission and sponsored by King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast to showcase bread, U.S. wheat and the art of baking. At the center of the festival on June 17 were eight people selected as finalists in a baking contest, the only U.S. amateur bread-baking competition in the United States. They prepared their original bread recipes live for festival visitors and were judged on creativity, healthfulness and taste to determine a grand prize winner. Judges selected the “Seeded Corn and Onion Bubble Loaf,” made by Ronna Farley of Rockville, MD, as the 2017 National Festival of Breads Champion. The champion recipe and all eight finalists’ recipes are available at https://nationalfestivalofbreads.com.

The festival also featured diverse educational baking demonstrations focused on the versatility of bread, baking tips, convenience and health. The more than 3,000 festival visitors joined in hands-on children’s activities, bread tasting and a trade show featuring the baking industry and a well-rounded look at the  U.S. wheat supply chain, including wheat farmers, milling companies, research and extension, and those in product development.

Prior to the festival, the eight finalists also went on a farm-to-fork tour of central Kansas, which included a flour mill, a wheat farm and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. On the Kejr family wheat farm, the finalists rode along in the combine to actually participate in the wheat harvest, which one finalist said helped complete the story of the bread into which she put so much of her own care and hard work.

What was advertised as a fun, family-friendly festival for baking really serves as an opportunity to learn about what is important to the consumer and, in return, share information on the role of wheat in their diet — and why bread is so important in so many cultures. My experiences on my trip overseas and at the National Festival of Breads had many parallels, most importantly that listening to the consumer and creating product advantages and stories around their desires is an effective model for success.

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By Dr. Senay Simsek, Bert L. D’Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Associate Professor, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

With the global demand for wheat remaining quite strong, there is a continual need to develop new varieties that have resistance to the latest disease threats, as well as improved yield, agronomic and end-use qualities. The varieties available today are improved over historic varieties, yet their basic genetic structure is essentially unchanged. In the Northern U.S. Plains during the past century, there have been many improved wheat cultivars, including many public varieties developed by breeders at North Dakota State University (NDSU).

Those of us involved in wheat research, production and processing fully accept that flour from HRS and other wheat classes as well as semolina is healthy and very nutritious for the vast majority of people. However, this has not prevented opposing points of view, and serious attacks against food products that contain gluten.

Celiac disease is a real and serious autoimmune condition that has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. Reputable medical organizations have determined that celiac disease is prevalent in about 1 of every 100 people worldwide. However, the over-simplified explanation that “gluten causes celiac disease” has likely hurt the reputation of wheat and wheat foods. There is a subtle but significant difference that demonstrates gluten alone does not cause celiac disease and, as our study showed, that new wheat varieties are not responsible for increased cases of celiac.

The gluten in wheat, which is essential for the elastic texture of dough, is composed of two separate proteins: glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin and gliadin are divided into distinct compounds, which in turn are made up of specific peptides (compounds of two or more amino acids in a chain).

A genetic predisposition to celiac must exist in individuals before the presence of certain gliadin and glutenin peptides may trigger an immune response that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine. These peptides are therefore considered “immunogenic.” Previous studies have found that α-gliadin proteins in wheat have a high number of immunogenic peptides.

In many ways, simply blaming gluten for celiac has helped spark quite a bit of unwanted attention from bloggers, authors, doctors and others making claims that modern breeding practices have changed wheat protein chemistry. This has resulted in a higher concentration of immunogenic peptides in modern wheat in comparison to historical wheat varieties, and that this is a contributing factor towards increased incidence of celiac disease.

To test this hypothesis, we studied the protein chemistry of 30 HRS wheat cultivars released in North Dakota in the last century. The presence of celiac disease-initiating-peptides was determined using untargeted mass spectrometry, and the amount of these peptides was quantified using a targeted mass spectrometric approach. We collaborated with Dr. Steven Meinhardt from the NDSU Plant Pathology Department and graduate student Maneka Malalgoda worked with us as part of her master’s thesis project. This project was funded by growers through checkoff funds from the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

In the qualitative analysis, we determined the presence of 15 immunogenic peptides. We found that the presence of these peptides is not related to the release year of cultivars and that these peptides appear randomly. In our quantitative analysis, we specifically tracked two prominent immunogenic peptides, PFPQPQLPY (DQ-α-I/ glia-α9) and RPQQPYPQ (glia-α20), and total α-gliadin. The results supported our previous findings. That is, the amount of the peptides varied randomly across the years that were analyzed, and there is no correlation between release year and the number of immunogenic peptides or total α-gliadin.

Thus, overall, our results demonstrate that modern HRS wheat is not higher in terms of celiac disease immunogenicity in comparison to historical HRS varieties.

Our team plans to submit the complete study report to a peer reviewed journal in the future.

Editor’s Note: Capital Press has reported that a researcher is working with the Kansas Wheat Commission at the Heartland Plant Innovations Center in Manhattan, KS, toward a “celiac-safe” wheat. In theory, celiac-safe wheat would still contain the gluten proteins necessary for making bread, but would have none of the immunogenic peptides which trigger an immune response in people with the genetic predisposition for celiac disease, said Chris Miller, director of wheat quality research for Heartland Plant Innovations.

“I think the problem of celiac disease is so big that it won’t be solved by a single group of researchers,” Miller said. “If we can identify the underlying cause of celiac reactivity in the process, and we have the means to reduce it, we should be working towards those types of goals.”

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In 2015, The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) shared the results of ongoing research showing U.S. consumers want more and more information about their food and primarily expect food companies to provide it. Those U.S. consumers surveyed also look to farmers for information about food.

CFI’s research shows being more transparent about food commodities and products builds consumer trust as well as a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. food system.

USW is sharing this information because in a broader sense, U.S. research can give the world’s commercial flour millers and wheat food manufacturers information about how consumer attitudes may evolve in their countries.

CFI took its 2016 research to a new level with an innovative methodology called digital ethnography. Charlie Arnot, CFI’s chief executive officer, said in a release that the new research offers much deeper insights into distinct groups whose actions about where they buy food, or how they form opinions about products, processes, people and brands, influence the decisions of others.

This emerging influence is why more U.S. consumers are flocking toward the things about today’s food that they believe is more sophisticated and represents “progressive” production, CFI noted. Arnot said this is seen in increased demand for food that is less processed, with simple labels that describe what is in, and what is not in, the products. USW see a relevant example for the world’s millers and bakers in the sponge and dough bread production method, using only flour, yeast and water, compared to “no-time” bread production that requires more additives and conditioners. Innovations in plant breeding may also be a resource for consumer questions.

“Understanding consumer attitudes toward food and how those attitudes influence the conversation allows food companies to more effectively talk with consumers,” said Leigh Horner, vice president, communications at The Hershey Company. “Consumers want to feel good about the products they buy for themselves and their families and want easy access to balanced, useful information to know they are making the right choices. These insights will help food companies build trust … and engage in meaningful conversations about the food their customers buy.”

The Center for Food Integrity is a not-for-profit organization that helps today’s food system earn consumer trust. Our members and project partners, who represent the diversity of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and working together to address important issues in food and agriculture. The Center does not lobby or advocate for individual companies or brands. For more information, visit www.foodintegrity.org.