New horizons for craft baking

by Joanie Spencer
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Having access to its own grains and being a small, nimble craft bakery allow the company the freedom to innovate.
 

For Wheat Montana, craft baking isn’t really its bread-and-butter — think of it more as the farm is the bread, and the bakery is the butter.

Having access to its own grains and being a small, nimble craft bakery allow the company the freedom to innovate. One case in point taps into the craft beer trend. While baking in general has been capitalizing on the “craft” concept, Wheat Montana is doing it in the literal sense.

“We get a lot of requests from chefs on what’s next,” said Bo Maurer, vice-president, sales and marketing, Wheat Montana. Considering the bakery is located near the headwaters of the Missouri River and operates a wheat farm, a logical step is to work with craft brewers in the area to develop signature buns. “This is a real brewery bun, made with beer, water and spent grain,” Mr. Maurer explained.

The concept, which is in the final stages of R&D with plans for launch this fall, will come with marketing materials to explain exactly how the buns are made. “We’re working on a cool line-art diagram that shows what part of the process we get our ingredients from,” he said.

Also in the spirit of innovating from resources in the company’s own backyard, Wheat Montana recently launched a line of organic breads. “We’re growing more organic grain and want to capitalize on the organic market by creating a product that could truly compete,” Mr. Maurer said. “We’ve been selling organic grain for years, and this is our first foray into actual organic bakery items.”

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