By Jeff Coey, USW Regional Vice President, Hong Kong
The Baking Science and Technology course at AIB International in Manhattan, KS, is an intensive, 16-week program combining science, hands-on lab work and baking tradition. It is the “gold standard” for baker training and is well attended by aspiring, industrial scale bakers from around the world.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has helped many bakers participate in this and other AIB International courses over the years. This year, however, USW invested some of its activity funding to send USW Technical Specialist Dr. Ting Liu from our Beijing, China, office to the course. With her doctorate in food science and experience in cereal chemistry, we knew she would do well — but she far exceeded our expectations.
We are so happy and proud to report that Ting represented herself and USW with distinction, earning top student honors and an “Excellence in Laboratory Leadership” award for her participation in the course!
The context for Ting’s achievement at AIB is the changing nature of wheat food in China. Traditional Chinese wheat foods have been successfully made for thousands of years using local wheat. However, demand today is sharply skewing toward non-traditional baked goods like chewy breads and fluffy cakes, products that rely on the functionality of higher and lower strength gluten flours that are best made with the classes of U.S. wheat specifically bred for those purposes.
There is intense interest in professional baking expertise, especially in the scaling up of industrial sized operations in China. USW intends to help channel that interest in ways that work for U.S. wheat, whether through Ting’s work, our consulting experts or through our long, respected collaboration with the Sino-American Baking School in Guangzhou.
Ting brings the unique set of tools needed to enhance our customers’ effective processing of U.S. wheat flour and how its functional attributes perform for the baker. Now, after succeeding so well in AIB International’s prestigious Baking Science and Technology course, she will be better prepared to lead such services and, in concert with our milling experts, to troubleshoot and solve customer problems as they come up.
So, we say congratulations to Ting and, along with our other talented colleagues, we look forward to much more success representing U.S. wheat farmers in the challenging but growing Chinese market.