CHICAGO — Consumer trends are powerful. So much so that a driver in one market could directly impact another market and, perhaps, bring them together in new and interesting ways.
As a global developer and innovator of yeast, bacteria and specialty ingredients, Lallemand is positioned to find common threads trending throughout various food and beverage markets. In February, Lallemand Baking — one of the company’s 10 business units — joined forces with the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, part of the Lallemand Brewing division, to host a Bread and Beer event.
In recent years, consumers have gravitated toward craft brewing not only for its locality but also for the novelty in various beer types and flavors. With expertise in yeast and fermentation across several food and beverage categories, Lallemand saw an opportunity to tap into its fermentation solutions to help bakers and other food producers create a “one-stop solution,” said Audrey St. Onge, president and general manager, Lallemand North American Bakers Yeast.
“Lallemand is a global supplier of yeast and bacteria, and this ideation came about with the baking solutions element,” Ms. St. Onge said. “We are able to fuse our diversity of applications together to create customized solutions and work interchangeably with our products and baking solutions. That’s where the whole basis of the event stemmed from, and with the event in Chicago, we showcased Lallemand as ‘One Team’ with expertise in domains where the consumer trends are going and what we can offer our customers to meet innovative culinary trends.”
At the event, which was held at Seibel’s new location in downtown Chicago, Lallemand Baking featured several breads formulated with Lallemand products. They included a Healthy Bread made with Food Probiotics, VitaD yeast and Engevita HiPro inactive yeast (a protein source). Lallamand Baking also developed two Flavorful Breads, one made with Florapan aromatic yeast and the other made with Lallemand Brewing Munich Classic yeast and paired with Munich Dunkel. Additionally, the company created a Sourdough Bread made with Lallevain sourdough powder.
As the oldest brewing school in North America, the Siebel Institute has a rich history of fermentation and brewing, which made it a natural fit for the Lallemand portfolio and synergistic with healthy, innovative bread baking.
“If you look at the history of Siebel, it really came to life to educate about fermentation and brewing,” said Jim Kopp, vice president of marketing and product management, Lallemand Baking.
During prohibition, the institute stayed alive by turning its brewing focus toward baking.
“That’s where its history really brought the brew and bread event together,” Mr. Kopp explained. “Knowing that, more bakers are looking for solutions to bring out different flavors, the innovation flows very easily.”
At the Siebel Institute, Eymard Freire, recruitment and product manager, is well-versed in fusing baking and brewing, not only at the institute but also in his personal interests as a brewer and with continuing education in microbiology.
After doing some of his own experimentation with brewing yeast strains and baking, he found some interesting results.
“I asked myself, ‘Why is this area not explored more?’” Mr. Freire recalled. “And then the leadership within Lallemand asked the same question. There are a variety of yeast strains that could change the time, texture, aromatic properties, crust, rise and even the proof of the bread. There’s so much potential, and it’s uncharted territory for baking, beer and fermentation in general.”
As consumers place an emphasis on health and wellness, fermentation is stepping into the spotlight for benefits like digestive health with products such as sourdough.
Additionally, Lallemand developed its Healthy Bread concept after Ms. St. Onge attended a conference in Mexico, where the company’s master baker competed using spirulina in his bread creation.
“From there, I made the connection with spirulina and health,” Ms. St. Onge said. “I asked myself, ‘Why are we not bringing together a health solution mix that industrial bakers could use to make a healthy bread?’”
The mix, which also was displayed at IBIE 2019, contains vitamin D and is also high protein and probiotic.
“By presenting the Healthy Bread, we’re telling bakers — who can tell their customers — that it’s possible to have a product that’s exciting, healthy and nourishing,” Mr. Kopp said.
The company offers multiple yeast strains, including brewer’s yeast, wine yeast and strains for human nutrition.
Mr. Freire’s expertise in culinary fusion is leading to greater new product development and identifying synergistic opportunities for further crossover between brewing and baking.
The culinary fusions that come out of the synergies across Lallemand business units create opportunities for bakers to develop enticing twists on otherwise common bread products. Ms. St. Onge said working with the Lallemand team can assists bakers with customizing a solution that would fit their innovative needs.
Ms. St. Onge noted that the aromatic side of yeast drives the synergy between brewing and baking.
“It’s the thing that kickstarts what a flavor profile is going to look like,” she said.
Mr. Freire also noted similarities, including the Maillard reaction.
“The whole process of baking is very similar to malt making before the grains and malt arrive at the brewery,” he said. “It’s a very synergetic relationship between beer and bread not only with the fermentation but also how the raw ingredients are treated.”
This was evidenced in the Flavorful Bread made with the Munich Classic yeast, he said, noting that the crust displayed more Maillard reaction than the other bread.
“Eymard brings the microbiologic elements and aromatic disciplines of food,” Ms. St. Onge said. “He brings the science and the art. That’s the real fusion.”
In addition to Siebel’s Bread and Beer event, Lallemand Baking most recently hosted “The Art of Fermentation in Baking” workshops in Montreal and Toronto. Lallemand Baking also attended a similar event hosted by Lallemand Oenology, serving as the baker experts to teach the attendees the art of fermentation in baking. Plans are underway for another workshop at the Seibel Institute later this year.