Turning something old into the next big thing

by Dan Malovany
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At a time when gluten-free and sodium reduction are capturing all the buzz, Dennis and John Rossetti’s latest product development initiative focuses on turning the oldest of the old into the next big thing. Specifically, the brothers, who own Italian Home Bakery (IHB), are tinkering with ancient grains to diversify the bakery’s portfolio of ciabatta, boules and European-style bread and rolls. Additionally, they believe products like 100% spelt bread provide a wholesome, full-bodied alternative to mainstays on the bread shelf or in the in-store bakery channel.

“It’s being treated like the red-haired stepchild and is relatively untouched,” noted Dennis Rossetti, president and chief operating officer of the Toronto-based company.

IHB operates its business under the Shakespearean philosophy of “to thine own self be true” that allows a company steeped in tradition to stay relevant in a constantly changing market.

“You have to stay true to your methods, including long fermentation and retarding times, for doughs to properly mature,” Mr. Rossetti explained. “We — the industry as a whole — unfortunately have taken the bread process from 10, 12 or 15 hours down to 2.5 hours. We’re not allowing the proper enzymatic breakdown of certain proteins in the product. Although it’s completely conjecture on my part, I believe we’re not allowing full fermentation and full enzymatic activity to take place during the breadmaking process, and that can be causing some of the problems that we’re seeing with gut health.”

For IHB, the best way is the Old World way.

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