Amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, spelt and teff — grains with an ancient heritage and unique flavors and nutrients — offer much potential to improve the health profile of baked foods, according to Tara Froemming, business development, SK Food International, Fargo, ND. Formats include whole grains, milled flours and precooked flakes. Also, a newly available red corn carries its pigments intact through processing, giving a distinct red color to foods without needing extra color additives.

Baking & Snack: Among baked foods and snacks, what category offers the most untapped potential for whole grain formulating? Why?

Tara Froemming: Ancient grains offer much potential for baked foods and snacks. Considered also to be heirloom grains, ancient grains receive their name because they have remained unchanged by modern science and breeding technologies over time. Not only a healthy alternative to other whole grain counterparts such as wheat and corn, ancient grains are said to have a more distinctive and flavorful taste, having remained a purer grain for centuries.

The types of ancient grains SK Food specifically offers include amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, spelt and teff. We supply them in the whole grain form, as well as a raw flour or precooked flake. The various forms allow for flexibility of incorporation into many product applications.

Another distinctive health benefit of ancient grains is that amaranth, quinoa, millet, teff and sorghum are all naturally gluten-free.

Another innovative untapped ingredient offering for baked foods and snacks is our Crimson Red Corn. This hybrid red corn has a unique quality of its colored alerone. Other varieties’ color is in the seed coat, which causes the corn to lose its color during food processing. However, SK Food International’s Crimson Red Corn has a clear seed coat, with the color in the alerone, allowing the red color to remain intact through processing. Since the color remains intact through the production process, there isn’t a need to use color additives in order to achieve a visually appealing finished product. The result is a clean product label, listing Crimson Red Corn as the single ingredient.

While bakery formulators are likely familiar with whole grain flours, are there other forms (cracked, crisped, puffed, pre-gelatinized, soaked, etc.) that would be interesting to use in new baked foods applications? What adjustments in processing conditions will be needed?

Yes, as previously mentioned, we do offer a precooked product in a flake form. Since they are precooked, these ingredients incorporate very well into many product applications. If manufacturers are already using a formulation that would call for a raw flour powder, we do offer those versions as well. In some instances, where the finished product does not endure much further processing and the formulation lends itself to using a precooked ingredient, our precooked flakes are an excellent solution. We also offer puffed or “crisped” quinoa and sorghum.

What whole grain ingredients does SK Food International offer? Please include brand names.

Ancient grains — which include amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, spelt and teff — in the form of whole grain, raw flour and precooked flake. We also offer Crimson Red Corn in the form of whole grain and a flour/meal.