Baking is usually associated with sweet treats. But it can also involve the goodness of spices. We explore some ideas for the "no sweets please" ones too.
How often have you heard these comments- “Almost everyone has got a sweet tooth, and bakery is all about sweets, it could never have a healthy option to it. And what about those who cannot have sweets or don’t want to? Baking does discriminate!” And do you agree? Of course this is NOT true. Just because we are unaware about something that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist! There are healthier and No Sweet baked delicacies too. And yes you can bake them all at your sweet home. One of the simplest is Baking with Spices.
Baking with spices doesn’t limit to gingerbread men and breads, it is much more diverse! It is just that they aren’t much celebrated; it needs a bit of digging.
So here we are, digging about not so famous type of baking or, shall say the neglected ingredients.
Spices have been used in our day to day cooking, and unaware, we tend to believe that that is all that they can do. This, obviously, isn’t true. The health benefits of spices are innumerable. They aid in weight loss, controlling diabetes, improving brain function and what not. Baking with spices, doesn’t it sound interesting now? Why not give it a try!
Rather than using sugar or sweet flavors, we could use a combination of spices to add that lovely fragrance and flavor to the product!
So first, let’s have a look at some of the spices and the type of flavor they have.
SPICES USED IN BAKING:
- Cardamom has a mild ginger flavor. Easily goes well with almost anything. It lowers blood pressure and is packed with antioxidants
- Anise seed has a sweet liquorish flavor- This is great for cakes and fruit fillings. It treats cough and flu; and also helps in treating digestion.
- Nutmeg has a sweet, spice and earthy flavor. Works well for pies.Have antibacterial anti-inflammatory properties
- Cinnamon has a nutty, sweet and spicy flavor. It is great for pies, best with apple. Helps to cure diabetes and cuts the risk of heart diseases
- Ginger is spicy and a bit pungent. Classic gingerbread cookies are an evergreen ginger bake! Treats morning sickness and muscle pain and soreness.
- Cloves have a spicy hot flavor. Give lovely flavors in sticky cookies. Kills bacteria and reduces stomach ulcers.
- Saffron floral subtle flavor. Its sweet fragrance is perfect for cakes; also it reduces the dominating flavors of ingredients like eggs. Improves mood and treats depressive symptoms.
- Carom seeds taste a bit like thyme, just a bit more sharp and pungent. Give lovely flavor to breads and cookies. Treats indigestion and fights bacteria and fungi.
Baking with spices could be sweet or salty. It totally upon the baker and their taste buds that what is the required flavor. So why not get a brief of these flavors:
Sweet baking with spices:
We are all aware about various sweet bakes so now we talk of how to incorporate spices with these bakes. Any spice which doesn’t have a very spicy or pungent flavor could be used in sweet bakes. Cinnamon, cardamom, anise seed are a few examples. These have subtle flavors which are suitable to go with the sweet in the product. Apple and cinnamon are endgame but so would be any others if you give them a chance! Start with puddings or cakes as they allow a variety of flavors which can be incorporated.
Savory baking with spices:
When the flavor is salty, the spice used should be having a bit more dominating flavor so that it doesn’t get away easily and has the flavor of spice as the main flavor. Pungent spices work well for cookies, like carom seeds and ginger. A bit lighter spices like nutmeg go well for pies. Pies could have a varied amount of spices depending on the nature of it. Chicken and mutton pies can have more spices as they could easily dominate, whereas spinach pies or sweet pies like that of apple prefer to have selective flavors to be teamed up with. Flavors could easily be modified according to one’s taste buds, so why not start experimenting!
Other than these spices, herbs also have a significant flavor which is often mixed with spices. Some of them being:
Thyme, Rosemary, Celery, Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Garlic
One could also make some homemade spice mixes which makes it really efficient to bake with spices
Combining these herbs in breads could boost the flavor and give them the lovely bakery fragrance and taste would be like that of a bakery bought bread (just a healthier version)
GOODNESS OF BAKING WITH SPICES
You mix them with sweets treats or incorporate their flavors to savory bakes, baking with spices can be as versatile as you want. Mixed spices and blends are a trend these days! Imagine having a seasoning for each and every bakery product and that too personalized, only and only as per your taste buds!
Baking with spices is easier than any other baking, it just requires a bit of willingness to try out new flavors. Relive the memories of your granny with those lovely spiced pies and gingerbread men. These old recipes didn’t only have the flavor of love but also, goodness of spices which really helpful in having physical strength. Ever wondered why people used to be healthier in olden times?
It was because of physical activities and the amount of spice and herb intake in their diet. Very few store bought things were used in households, and mostly everything was made at home! Right from breads to pies, baking with spices was daily ritual; fast food was not even an option in those days!
Therefore, baking with spices not only is tastier but also healthier! Everyone knows that baking is much healthier than any other cooking process! So why not find a way to bake healthy as well! Going back to the old days, using substitutes, and most importantly ditching all the overpriced store bought bakes to save your gut as well as your pocket. So, put on your chef caps and start being healthy by baking and eating healthy.