Baked good for you

Whole-wheat flour, nuts and fruits help operators create healthier baked goods.

Published in FSD Update

The Olympic Training Center’s espresso scones.

Sugar, butter and white flour are the core ingredients for most baked goods. In an effort to make breads, muffins and pastries healthier, non-commercial operators are swapping in better-for-you options for these three ingredients.

Incorporating fiber-rich whole-wheat flour might be the most common way non-commercial operators up the nutritional value of their baked goods. Take the Blood Orange Scones with Fresh Berry Compote served at Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, in Illinois, which boast 100% whole-wheat flour. The scones are made tender through the addition of yogurt, instead of the more traditional—and higher in fat—cream. The scones are also dusted with raw sugar, which, while not nutritionally different from conventional sugar, has a larger crystal size. “It’s coarser, so you tend to use less when you sprinkle it,” says Executive Chef Jim Roth. 

And while Elmhurst’s scones may seem like an elevated version of a classic, there’s no rule saying whole-wheat flour can’t be employed in more basic recipes. The rolls and breadsticks served at Forsyth County Schools, in Cumming, Ga., are made with half whole-wheat flour, while Oak Park & River Forest High School, in Oak Park, Ill., serves scratch-made whole-wheat peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, butter and sugar cookies. “We’re trying both full whole wheat and half whole wheat and seeing how well each one is accepted by students,” says Micheline Piekarski, director of food & nutrition services. 

Another option is replacing butter with oil, non-hydrogenated margarine or even puréed fruit, which reduces the saturated fat levels that are commonly high in baked goods. That’s a tactic the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs employs to meet performance-based menu guidelines, which call for keeping total fat calories below 30% and saturated fat below 10%. “Our focus is not how many calories but rather the right types of calories,” says Executive Chef Jacqueline Hamilton. Date nut and pumpkin muffins are kept rich with a combination of margarine and applesauce, while espresso scones contains Soft Balance spread.

To add additional vitamins, minerals and fiber, the Olympic Training Center also bulks up baked goods with fruits, vegetables and nuts. A prime example is the Garden Harvest Cake, which packs in chopped apples, grated carrot, grated zucchini and chopped walnuts. “As far as our diner response to healthier baked goods, they love it and really do not see a difference [when compared to traditional baked goods],” Hamilton says.

Then, there’s gluten-free baked goods, whose population is skyrocketing due to increased awareness of gluten intolerances, as well as the perception among nutrition-conscious eaters that breads, cookies and pastries made without wheat are healthier than their traditional counterparts. Still, many non-commercial facilities, like Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, in Colorado, have shied away from scratch-baking the items in-house, opting instead to use mixes or to purchase premade items from gluten-free bakers. “Some folks are very sensitive, and we do use [wheat] flour in our kitchen for the pizza dough, cookies, etc. The [gluten-free bakeries] have also been working on recipes to perfect the taste and overall quality. They’re the gluten-free pros,” says Daniel Skay, nutrition manager and executive chef. 

Finally, don’t discount the simple tactic of serving smaller portions of regular baked goods, which automatically slashes fat and calorie counts. “Even with some of the nice desserts, we’re learning how to put things out in smaller portions, like cheesecake pops or chocolate cake pops,” Roth adds. 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

FSD Resources