Spices and Other Flavourings
Flavours cannot be considered a truly basic ingredient in bakery products but are important in producing the most desirable products. Flavouring materials consist of:
- Extracts or essences
Note: Salt may also be classed as a flavouring material because it intensifies other flavours.
These and others (such as chocolate) enable the baker to produce a wide variety of attractively flavoured pastries, cakes, and other bakery products. Flavour extracts, essences, emulsions, and aromas are all solutions of flavour mixed with a solvent, often ethyl alcohol.
The flavours used to make extracts and essences are the extracted essential oils from fruits, herbs, and vegetables, or an imitation of the same. Many fruit flavours are obtained from the natural parts (e.g., rind of lemons and oranges or the exterior fruit pulp of apricots and peaches). In some cases, artificial flavour is added to enhance the taste, and artificial colouring may be added for eye appeal. Both the Canadian and U.S. departments that regulate food restrict these and other additives. The flavours are sometimes encapsulated in corn syrup and emulsifiers. They may also be coated with gum to preserve the flavour compounds and give longer shelf life to the product. Some of the most popular essences are compounded from both natural and artificial sources. These essences have the true taste of the natural flavours.
Aromas are flavours that have an oil extract base. They are usually much more expensive than alcoholic extracts but purer and finer in their aromatic composition. Aromas are used for flavouring delicate creams, sauces, and ice creams.
Emulsions are homogenized mixtures of aromatic oils and water plus a stabilizing agent (e.g., vegetable gum). Emulsions are more concentrated than extracts and are less susceptible to losing their flavour in the oven. They can therefore be used more sparingly.