Adding novel grains, spices, herbs and fruits to bread will continue to evolve in 2012, but for Tip Top commercialisation manager and former L A Judge winner John Kruik, the focus for bread will remain squarely as a carrier for food.
“There’s lots of efforts to look at putting novel grains into bread which is a great idea. And chia is probably the best-known example. In the long term [however], the fancier are breads are not mainstream,” John said.
You can put all these weird and wonderful things in, which maybe on their own taste great, but there’s a lot of people that just want bread just to make a sandwich with. You can put all these great tasting herbs, spices, fruits and nuts into your bread, but it really limits what you can do with the bread as a carrier.”
John generates product concepts and fine-tunes them in the Tip Top test bakery. Once they have been accepted, he then takes them to the plant bakery and onto the marketplace. His work includes testing new formulations or introducing new shapes to products.
Having worked in in the baking industry for most of his life and having won the prestigious L A Judge in 1986, John has plenty of knowledge to draw upon. Even though he works for a large bread manufacturer, John believes there is plenty of opportunities for people who are skilled tradesmen, especially in smaller bakeries.
“As a bakeries increase in size, the number of skilled people that you need decreases per 1000 loaves of bread. As the bakeries get bigger there’s less requirement across the community for skilled people. But I think certainly we need those skills because even though you have a plant bakery, you still need people there able to identify what the quality issues are and how to rectify them,” John said.
John credits winning L A Judge in helping to provide opportunities for his career.
The next L A Judge competition will be held in May 21-to-24, 2012, with registrations to open in early 2012.