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For consumers, granola is a tasty and convenient way of consuming oats, in which interest is growing due to its healthy image – oats are wholegrains that are also high in fibre, gluten-free and proven to lower cholesterol. For manufactures, granola is easy to produce as either breakfast cereal or bars, enabling them to address both the home consumption and on-the-go breakfast markets.
We have developed new lines that make granola an even more attractive proposition: baking rather than conventional drying of granola delivers better taste, appearance and texture, markedly improving consumer appeal
Granola is made from oats, by mixing a simple blend of dry ingredients with oil and sugar to form a mass. This is formed into a loosely compacted sheet of constant thickness that is laid onto the oven band for baking. Texture can be lightened by including small pieces formed from other grains. Baking gives a softer texture and fuller flavour than drying because it completely cooks the oats. In the drying process, the oats do not have time to cook thoroughly, and much of the starch in the oats remains raw.
Baking is a slower, more thorough process: baking temperature is higher than drying, giving improved control over caramelisation of the sugars and leading to greater depth of flavour.
The baked product is also more consistent than the dried alternative. Dried granola cereal tends to vary in size with large, tough clusters at the top of the bag, descending to fines or dust at the bottom. The characteristics of baked granola cereal are a consistent cluster size throughout, and a product that is softer and easier to eat.
Granola can be formed into a broad selection of appealing products. The basic mix can easily be enhanced with inclusions such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, honey or chocolate chips to turn a cereal or bar into a luxury added-value product.
Now is the right time to get into the granola market – and the opportunities are world-wide.
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