U.S. wheat sees frozen dough potential
By MATTHEW WEAVER
Growing global demand for frozen dough products represents an opportunity to increase the amount of U.S. wheat used overseas, industry representatives say.
To take advantage of the trend, the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland will offer its first frozen dough course from Feb. 25 through March 6.
Gary Hou, technical director and wheat foods specialist for the center, said the course's main goal is to demonstrate how to use U.S. wheat flour to produce the frozen products for China's market.
Chinese millers and bakers requested the course, Hou said.
Products are thawed before being baked, Hou said. There are five different forms of frozen products, including frozen dough block or batter, frozen pre-shaped, frozen partially baked and frozen fully prepared.
The course will cover yeast-raised products like Danish pastries, croissants and baguettes and chemically leavened products like cakes and cookies.
"There will be a time when frozen dough products become necessary," Hou said. Reasons include a lack of skills, high waste, lack of consistent product quality across bakery chain stores and the high cost of fully equipping bakeries, he said.
China has an increased demand for frozen dough products, and Hou expects other countries to follow that trend.
Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for U.S. Wheat, said frozen dough products represent part of the economic growth and urbanization of Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and China.
New supermarkets want to bake bread and other products in their stores to attract customers, Mercer said. Higher-end retail bakeries like Bread Talk bake in the store, but need the convenience of frozen dough. Take-home retail frozen dough-based products like bread, steamed breads and pizzas are in demand, and the demand for frozen cookie dough and cakes is also growing.
"There is no reason to think the expansion will slow down much as long as the economic changes stay favorable," Mercer said.
Wheat Marketing Center: www.wmcinc.org
U.S. Wheat Associates: www.uswheat.org