Do you have a weakness for cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins, biscuits, pies, cupcakes, breads, scones, pastries, or even all of the above? If so, you will want to admit defeat to your sweet tooth and indulge in a baked good on May 17, also known as World Baking Day!
For many years, people have been baking and consuming many of these
scrumptious baked goods. But what makes these sweet treats so tasty and
hard to resist? Simply stated, most baked goods consist of a combination
of flour, sugar and eggs. Now that you have the components for your
delicacies, you are probably wondering where those ingredients are
coming from…besides the grocery store, because we know that five-pound
bag of flour didn’t sprout out of the shelf!
To begin your baked
good, you will need flour. Flour is one of the end products of a wheat
crop. Most baked goods require flour made from a certain variety of
wheat called “soft red winter wheat.” This distinct type of wheat makes
up only 20% of the U.S. wheat crop and mostly grown in states east of
the Mississippi River. Many of these states also grow a similar wheat
variety called “soft white wheat.” These wheat varieties contain low to
medium levels of protein and a soft endosperm, which make them excellent
for baked good products.
Next you would probably add a type of
sugar to your baked good for a sweet taste. The most common type of
sugar added to goods is white granulated sugar. This sugar is comprised
of fine crystals that don’t cake together (no pun intended!) and make it
perfect for measuring and sprinkling onto food. We get these flawless
little crystals from raw sugar and performing a process known as
refining. When raw sugar is refined, the molasses is removed by
immersing the sugar crystals in a concentrated syrup that softens and
removes the sticky brown coating without dissolving them. Because sugar
cane crops require a certain temperature and environment, most of the
sugar grown in the U.S. is from Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana and Texas.
After your sugar is added, the eggs are next. The leading chicken egg
producer in the U.S., ranked by the number of hens represented in the
thousands, is Iowa, with 58,330 hens. Chicken eggs contain a significant
amount of protein and are widely used in baking for their addition of
structure and texture to the end product.
Now that you have the
details on where your baked good ingredients came from in the U.S.,
flour those rolling pins and grease the pans for some sugary pleasures
and celebrate World Baking Day on May 17!