Chaucer Foods is opening up new possibilities in the bakery sector by producing a number of recipes to highlight the benefits of using freeze dried fruit in bakery products as decorations or inclusions.

Richard Ilsley, Group Sales and Marketing Director of Chaucer Foods, said: “Using fresh or frozen fruit in bakery products has been problematical in many cases because the high water content of the fruit can spoil the product. However, freeze dried fruit overcomes those problems due to its low water content and it also provides a number of additional benefits.”

“Consumer demand for more high quality, indulgent products with natural additions is stimulating innovation in novel flavours and ingredients. Using freeze dried fruit will open up new possibilities for the bakery sector and enable them to capitalise on this demand,” he added.

The benefits of using freeze dried fruit in bakery products include:

• The moisture content of freeze dried fruit is typically below 5%.  This means that water does not leach out, staining and spoiling the product, as can be the case when frozen or fresh fruit is used.

• Freeze dried fruits maintain their characteristic fresh flavour and natural bright colour.

• A study carried out by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, in collaboration with Chaucer Foods, found that freeze dried fruits maintain the majority of their nutrients during the freeze drying process in terms of Vitamin C content, phenolic content and antioxidant activity.

• Because freeze dried fruits are very light, a relatively small quantity has a big impact on visual appearance.

• The shelf life of freeze dried fruit is typically 12 months and above at ambient temperatures, making storage easier and economical.

Freeze dried fruits can be used in bakery products in a number of ways:

• As inclusions that are baked into a dough or batter. Examples are freeze dried strawberry and raspberry pieces in products such as fruit scones, and freeze dried red bell pepper in savoury scones.

• As inclusions in cream fillings providing natural colour and great flavour for biscuit fillings, or as butter cream decorations. Freeze dried berry and citrus fruits are good examples.

• Freeze dried rhubarb, cherry and gooseberry also make great inclusions.

• As decorations for cakes and desserts. Examples include whole raspberries and blackberries, strawberry slices and pieces, orange and lemon slices, peach and apricot slices, even fig slices.

• As fruit powders to add fruit flavour and colour to buttercream and ganache.

• As fruit powders that are used as stable natural colours and flavours.

• Freeze dried fruit and powders also act as a natural emulsifier for ganache and buttercream because they absorb fat and water.

The water content of many fruits represents 85-90% of their weight.  However, freeze drying extracts this water at very low temperature, minimising degradation and damage of the fruit.

Chaucer Foods is the world’s largest producer of freeze dried fruit. The company has manufacturing facilities in Europe and Asia and supplies freeze dried products to over 30 countries throughout the world.