America’s a nation of readers—label readers, that is. Per the International Food Information Council Food Labeling Survey, a majority of those polled always read packaged-food labels prior to first purchase, with 45 percent tuning their radars first to the ingredients they want, and 31 percent zeroing in first on those they don’t.4
That’s a challenge for bakery manufacturers, as many “chemical-sounding” ingredients—from mono- and diglyceride emulsifiers to synthetic preservatives and the dough conditioner DATEM—perform critical functions in baked goods and doughs.
So what’s a clean-label baker to do? Sub out the “chemicals” for potatoes. They’re not just gluten-free whole foods; they’re hardworking ingredients whose natural chemistry makes them as useful as synthetic ingredients—but with clear consumer appeal.
For example, the starch in potatoes has a high water-holding capacity, which increases yields, enhances absorption during mix, and softens doughs for smoother machining and cleaner portioning. As a natural dough conditioner, potato ingredients can even replace DATEM and make yeast easier to handle.
Potatoes’ natural sugar promotes even browning and a golden color in finished baked goods—qualities hard to achieve in gluten-free formulas. Breads made with potatoes also develop a crisp, golden crust and soft interior with an attractive crumb. They make biscuits fluffy and flatbreads more pliable.
And because potato ingredients bind moisture, they forestall the staling that comes with moisture loss—instant shelf-life extension.
Best of all, potatoes have a mild flavor with a light, creamy-sweet background that complements the natural flavors in baked goods. No wonder they’re clean baking’s secret weapon.
4. “Food Labeling Survey.” International Food Information Council Foundation , America Heart Association , Jan. 2019, https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IFIC-FDN-AHA-Report.pdf. Page 3.
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