Your choice of food can have a huge impact not just on your health, but also on your overall well-being. Thus, a good stepping stone to start taking charge of your life is by paying close attention to what you eat.
With healthy living coming into focus in recent years, it is important to start looking for healthier ingredient alternatives for your dishes or bakes.
Whether you are a home baker or a business owner who runs a bakery, there are various ways to bake your favourite products so you and your customers can indulge, with a healthier twist.
Here is everything you need to know about healthier baking, including tips and tricks, the health benefits and substitutes for ingredients to help you prioritise your health or make your bakery stand out from the competition.
Keep reading to find out more.
Part 2 – What You Need to Know About Healthier Baking
2.1 What is healthier baking and why should you be a part of it?
“Healthier baking” is a broad term that encapsulates actions taken to make a variety of baked goods more nutritious while retaining their taste as much as possible. Many home bakers and businesses have the misconception that healthier baking is tedious, challenging and expensive.
The good news is that there is no need to burn a hole in your pocket or overhaul the entire recipe. Some simple ways to kickstart your own or your bakery’s healthier baking journey is by choosing ingredients that are more nutritious and substituting certain ingredients with healthier alternatives wherever possible.
Healthier baking does not focus only on reducing or removing fats, salt, sugar or gluten but also aims to introduce or increase health-supporting ingredients for guilt-free feasting. Additionally, baking does not significantly affect most of the vitamins and minerals found in a variety of ingredients so there is no need to worry that the healthy options you use in your bakes will go to waste in terms of nutritional value.
As a home baker, you will benefit from healthier baking as you get to pursue your passion and indulge in your creations without compromising on your health. If you are running a bakery business, offering your customers healthier alternatives has benefits such as boosting sales and catering to a wider customer base.
2.2 Simple habits to kickstart your healthier baking journey
Healthier baking is easier than most people think – adopting some of these simple habits will help both home bakers and bakeries get started on a more inclusive and nutritious baking journey.
1. Take note of portion sizes
One of the most effortless ways to start making a difference is by taking note of portion sizes. By adjusting the portion sizes, you and your customers will essentially be getting the same taste but with fewer calories, sugar and fats.
2. Follow healthier baking recipes
When searching for a recipe to follow, one of the most important keywords to include is “healthy”. These recipes will usually include suggestions on ingredient substitutes that you can use, such as swapping out regular flour with
3. Substitute common baking ingredients with healthier alternatives
Baking is more experimental than you think – most ingredients can be easily substituted with a healthier alternative to make it more nutritious and cater to different diets and preferences. For instance, sugar can be replaced with a natural sweetener like honey while butter can be switched out with Greek yoghurt.
4. Cut down on ingredients high in fats and sugar
Cutting down on ingredients high in fats and sugar can help too – for instance, consider using less sugar or chocolate than what the recipe calls for. While there may be slight alterations in taste, the long-term benefits of healthier eating will make it all worth it. With more customers becoming increasingly health conscious, healthier options will surely be a hit among them as well.
5. Include more healthy ingredients
Using healthier ingredients in your baked goods helps to strike a balance for guilt-free indulgence. For instance, use healthier flour such as wholegrain flour in your baked goods or include nuts and fruits in your chocolate chip cookies.
6. Use less salt when making bread
One slice of most types of bread contains about 100 to 172 milligrams of sodium, contributing to about 7 to 12% of your daily sodium intake. It has also been found that Singapore residents consume almost twice the recommended daily limit of sodium and the number will only increase as people dine out more and more frequently.
As people usually consume more than one slice throughout the day, cutting down on the amount of salt you use in your baked goods can help you and your family or customers maintain a healthy diet.
2.3 Healthier substitutes for common baking ingredients
While the tips mentioned above are all useful and can be easily incorporated into your personal or professional baking journey, consider substituting common ingredients with healthier alternatives for even better results.
Natural sweeteners like honey and Stevia are your best bets at replacing sugar while still retaining the taste of your baked goods. They contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will all make a positive impact on your health. Alternatively, adding fresh fruits to your recipe is a great idea not just for a tinge of sweetness, but also as aesthetically pleasing decorations.
Butter tastes heavenly but is made up of fats which can cause many undesirable problems if consumed in excess. For healthier baking, opt for plant-based oil like olive and avocado oil or Greek yoghurt instead. The former adds moisture to your baked goods while the latter provides a rich and tangy flavour reminiscent of buttermilk.
Instead of icing which is made with copious amounts of powdered sugar, consider using cocoa powder, yoghurt or honey as drizzles for baked goods. Most of the time, these drizzle alternatives taste better and work equally well.
If the recipe calls for white or milk chocolate, swap it out with dark chocolate which has health benefits such as improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk and improving brain function.
Other than dark chocolate, loading up on wholegrain has a range of health benefits as well like improving digestion and lowering the risk of heart disease. Thus, swapping out a portion of all-purpose flour with wholegrain flour will help you and your customers meet the daily recommended wholegrain intake for a balanced diet. Additionally, wholegrain flour adds a delicious nutty taste to your baked goods for an extra depth of flavour.
In fact, wholegrain flour is not the only healthier alternative – almond, buckwheat and oat flour are some other options to consider.
Learn more: 5 Flour Substitutes for Healthier Bakes
Many avoid eggs for various reasons ranging from health concerns like allergies to dietary preferences such as being vegans and vegetarians. When you substitute eggs with plant-based alternatives, like mashed bananas and silken tofu, your bakes will be able to cater to more people of various diets and preferences.
Part 3 – All About Wholegrain Flour
Although most common baking ingredients have healthier alternatives, it is still recommended that you pay more attention to the type of flour you are using. After all, flour is an indispensable ingredient in most, if not all baking recipes.
If you are still on the fence about incorporating wholegrain flour into your baking journey, keep reading to learn more about why it is time to adopt the habit of using wholegrain flour.
3.1 What is wholegrain flour?
All grains first start out as wholegrains but only the bran, endosperm and germ are kept after milling for them to qualify as wholegrains. Some of these wholegrains can be eaten on their own like brown rice and oatmeal, while others are made into wholegrain products like buckwheat in noodles and wholegrain flour in bread. In particular, wholegrain flour is made from whole, unprocessed wheat kernels, grains and seeds. By keeping the germ and bran intact, the flavour of wholegrain flour gets enhanced while the essential nutrients and fibre are retained.
Other than adding a slightly nutty flavour to your baked goods, which many enjoy, wholegrain flour is also high in fibre, protein, minerals, and vitamins B and E, all essential nutrients for a healthy body.
3.2 The health benefits of incorporating wholegrain flour into baked goods
Wholegrain flour has many health benefits that people of all ages can reap. Here are some to know:
1. Improves digestion
The high fibre content in wholegrain flour helps to boost digestive health by feeding the gut “good” bacteria. Good gut health then keeps irregular bowel movements and indigestion at bay to prevent various problems like stomach pain, diarrhoea, bloating and constipation.
2. Prevents overeating
Foods that are high in fibre provide volume to help you feel full faster and longer with fewer calories so that you avoid overeating. This is great if you are trying to watch your weight and is an alternative to indulging in treats but minus the guilt.
3. Lowers the risk of heart diseases
Consuming wholegrain foods can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by a whopping 30%! Thus, loading up on wholegrains through baked goods made with wholegrain flour can reduce cholesterol levels and maintain healthy blood pressure which is all important for a strong heart.
4. Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
Wholegrain foods have a lower glycaemic index (GI) that will help maintain optimum blood glucose levels, managing or preventing type 2 diabetes thanks to the bran and fibre in wholegrains that take a longer time to digest. Wholegrains are also rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that play a part in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Rather than baking plain, white bread, follow more wholegrain bread recipes to offer yourself and your customers a chance to choose the healthier alternative.
3.3 Why both home bakers and bakeries need to opt for wholegrain flour
According to research done by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), it was revealed that there have been positive trends in the consumption of wholegrain among Singaporeans. More are now selecting unrefined carbs by consuming wholegrain foods such as wholemeal bread, oats and brown rice.
Hence, regardless of whether you are a home baker or bakery owner, you can also do your part in encouraging the continuous nationwide adoption of healthier baking as well as wholegrain flour.
As a home baker, adopting healthier baking practices and using more wholegrain flour in your baked goods have the obvious benefits of improving your and your family’s health, and enhancing quality of life in return. Introducing more wholegrain foods into the household can also motivate family members to continue the consumption of wholegrains even outside of the house.
As a bakery owner, choosing to offer healthier baked goods through different solutions like using healthier ingredients and opting for wholegrain flour will help you to reap benefits on a bigger scale. For instance, selling healthier baked goods made with wholegrain flour sets your bakery apart from other conventional bakeries baking and selling products that can be found anywhere else. This increases brand awareness and loyalty in return which will have positive long-term earning benefits for your bakery. Researchers also saw a 28% increase in the sale of products labelled with healthy ingredients – a telltale sign that more are choosing healthier baked goods. Lastly, your bakery will be able to cater to a wider customer base of different diets and preferences, encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations which is also a great way to market your business.
3.4 Baking tips when using wholegrain flour
Some common challenges of baking with wholegrain flour include a coarser texture that some may not enjoy and a drier mouthfeel as the flour absorbs more liquid. However, do not let these deter you from incorporating wholegrain flour into your baked goods!
If you are unsure of how to start, these tips will help you to take the first step.
Feel free to substitute all-purpose flour with wholegrain flour in a 1:1 ratio when baking cookies, scones, muffins and quick bread like banana bread. But make sure to let the batter sit and rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before baking – this process is crucial to let the flour absorb the moisture so that absorption does not occur during the baking to prevent a dry result.
It is also advisable to add extra liquid to the batter since wholegrain flour tends to absorb more moisture. Check to see if the batter is thicker than usual after allowing it to rest, then add more liquid as required – a guide is to add two teaspoons of extra liquid for every cup of wholegrain flour.
If you are just starting to experiment with wholegrain flour and do not wish to alter your recipe too much, consider using 50% of wholegrain flour and 50% of all-purpose flour to avoid a dense result. This is a great baby step to take towards healthier baking and gives you and your customers time to adjust to the taste.
Some may enjoy the nutty flavour that wholegrain flour provides while others may find it too rich or even bitter. To help balance the taste of your baked goods, simply add some orange juice which is naturally sweet and acidic to make the result even more palatable. Furthermore, adding something citrusy will give your baked goods a breath of fresh air.
3.5 Frequently asked questions about wholegrain flour answered
The tips mentioned above will help to make baking with wholegrain flour a success. But before you start incorporating wholegrain flour into your baking journey, it is also important to clarify any doubts that you may have.
Here are some commonly asked questions about wholegrain flour answered.
1. What is wholegrain flour best used for?
Wholegrain flour, like all-purpose flour, is great for making a variety of baked goods ranging from cookies to quick bread and breakfast menu like waffles and pancakes. In fact, if a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you can always go ahead to substitute a portion of it with wholegrain flour.
2. Will baked goods made with wholegrain flour take longer to rise?
Yes and this is due to the fact that germ and bran in wholegrain flour add weight to the dough, impeding its ability to rise as quickly. But this obstacle can be easily overcome by using more liquid when concocting your batter or only replacing a portion of all-purpose flour with wholegrain flour.
3. How can I choose the best wholegrain flour?
You may want to look out for wholegrain flour that has an ultra-fine texture to avoid baked goods with a coarse texture. Unbleached wholegrain flour with no additives added is also a good choice.
4. What is the main difference between wholegrain flour and plain flour?
One of the biggest key differences between wholegrain flour and plain flour is the fibre content. Wholegrain flour is high in fibre which is an integral component of your diet, while plain flour’s fibre content is lower.
5. What is the healthy amount of wholegrains to consume on a daily basis?
It is recommended to consume two to three servings (about 50g) of wholegrain foods on a daily basis. This can be easily achieved by loading up on wholemeal bread and crackers made from wholegrain flour.
Prima Flour – a one-stop spot for a wide range of flour products in Singapore
Starting your healthier baking journey may seem daunting at first but incorporating some of these tips, like opting for wholegrain flour whenever possible, is already the first step towards a healthier lifestyle and a more inclusive business.
If you are unsure about where to get high-quality flour products, consider Prima Flour. We are a trusted flour supplier in Singapore with decades of experience and have built an international reputation for our consistent and high-quality flour products and premixes.
With the belief that “The Right Flour Makes the Best”, we have utilised our extensive knowledge and expertise in flour milling, baking and food manufacturing to develop different types of speciality flour for the best results across applications.
Our wide array of flour ranging from bread flour to top flour and wholegrain flour is everything you need – be it baking for your family and friends or baking for hundreds of customers that patronise your bakery.
Our Wholegrain and Superfine Wholegrain retail flour, in particular, are unbleached with no additives added and specially made for the health-conscious. They are high in protein and fibre, and great for baking a wide variety of bread, buns and cookies.
Opt for our Farm Brand range of wholegrain flour available in bigger quantities for your business needs – they are an excellent source of fibre, come in superfine or coarse textures for different types of bakes, and have a good aroma.
For consumers, Prima Flour and Premixes products are available at all major supermarkets, hypermarkets, and ingredient shops islandwide. Get in touch with us here for enquiries!
You may also choose to email us at email@example.com to reach us directly for business enquiries.