Are you considering baking Organic Products?

You might have noticed, but the organic and natural baking trend is skyrocketing with consumers. Top food trends for 2016 reveal simple, natural, healthy foods that stay away from artificial additives and preservatives will continue to be high in demand.

For the baking industry, this means finding ways to embrace the natural and organic baking trend. From finding suitable ingredient substitutes, to adjusting practices and equipment, to grasping regulations, the switch can feel overwhelming. Although it may be complex, it is not impossible.

Start by understanding what certification of organic you are going for. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) lays out four categories:

  1. 100% Organic: All organic
  2. Organic: 95% of the ingredients are organic
  3. Made with Organic: 70% of the ingredients are organic
  4. Specific Ingredient Listings: Listing organic products, that make up under 70% of the product.

All natural or clean label products are not so clearly defined. Although it usually means free of added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances, the FDA is still building guidelines.


Baking a (good) organic product

The general idea is to clean up your label with certified organic or natural ingredients, simplifying the recipe and process. One of the keys to quality organic products is finding the right substitute for ingredients. For bread products, many of your go-to ingredients, such as bromated flour, DATEM, SSL or mono and diglycerides are blacklisted. Enzymes and clean label dough conditioners are used to replace these ingredients. Sweet goods cannot use sodium aluminum sulfate, bleached flour or vanillin, just to name a few. To extend shelf life organically, Cultured wheat would have to be used as the natural preservative.

Using different ingredients means you will also need to adjust your processes and equipment. Most organic breads need high gluten, so it’s crucial to keep the dough from getting too hot during mixing. Also, you will need to nail down the baking cycle, to stop over or unbalanced baking from ruining your product–something easy to do with organic products.

Keep it clean

Food safety requires extra attention, because you will no longer be able to use chemical-heavy cleaners and sanitizers. Ecolab does carry a line of approved organic chemicals, but you will need to adjust your cleaning routine for these to work effectively. Mold and pathogens thrive in warm, wet areas. So keep the proof box scrubbed down and dry. The bakery area should be dry and clean as well, to discourage the growth of pathogen. With most organic bakeries, a thorough wet clean at least once a week is recommended.

Once you have all these steps under control, it’s time to prepare for the certification process, which involves product specs and data sheets, an Organic System Plan, inspections, paperwork and much more. The filing process can take 12-16 weeks at a cost around $2,600.

Yes, it’s a big and somewhat expensive project. But going organic or natural is also an opportunity that can pay off and the chance to optimize your process and equipment. If you have any specific questions,please check out or email me at [email protected]

Let’s come clean, together!