Fluffier, longer-lasting and nutritionally improved white bread is just one result of a unique collaboration between Coles and the Manildra Group flour-milling company.
Soft white bread just got even better
It may not be feasible to reinvent the wheel, but how about improving one of the staples of the Aussie diet, the white loaf?
Five years ago, researchers at Coles began looking at how the supermarket could reduce the sodium content of Coles white bread products, via salt reduction in loaves and rolls, while ensuring they stayed softer for longer.
“As you know, kids love super-soft bread so we had to make sure that maintaining softness was one of our priorities,” says Chirantan Joshi, product developer at Coles’ bakery division.
High salt consumption has been linked to heart disease, a growing problem in this country. According to the Heart Foundation, Australians currently eat double their recommended daily dose of salt.*
As Chirantan explains, one of the challenges of producing low-sodium bread is that salt is a vital ingredient in the bread-making process – a human activity that has been traced back 30,000 years.
“Salt plays a vital role in the way that bread proves and then bakes,” he says. “If you reduce the salt content too drastically it will not taste like bread anymore.”
In order to reduce the sodium content of its white bread researchers at Coles teamed up with the Manildra Group, a respected milling company established in 1952, to create a low-salt bread mix that would produce flavoursome bread which also stays softer for longer.
The new bread mix, which contains about 25 per cent less sodium than its predecessor, is now being used in 46 in-store Coles bakery products, including Coles White Sandwich and Toast loaves.
“We have been able to reduce the salt content of our Coles white bread from 375mg to 274mg per 100g without affecting its softness or flavour,” says Chirantan.
Coles estimates that it is now removing more than 76 tonnes of salt from its in-store bread products every year. This is equivalent to removing two semitrailer loads of salt from the food supply for population good health.
But Chirantan says that this “step change” in bread-making would not have been possible without the involvement of the Manildra Group which worked collaboratively with Coles on the project.
“The team at Manildra was fully involved in doing the research and development to develop this range,” he says.
John Honan, Manildra Group Managing Director, is immensely proud of the new lower-sodium bread mix, which underlines the company’s long-standing commitment to innovation and excellence.
“Our teams worked incredibly hard to overcome all of the technical challenges they faced,” he says. “Today this ‘better for you’ bread range leads the market in sodium reduction, crumb softness and texture.”
As Mr Honan explains, most lower-sodium bread mixes already on the market generally contain salt-replacement options, which can affect the flavour, freshness and fluffiness of the final bread product.
“Our teams successfully reduced the salt content of the pre-mix by 25 per cent while ensuring the soft bread varieties remained softer and fluffier for longer once customers have taken them home,” he says.
The Manildra Group, a successful agribusiness headquartered in New South Wales and employing 1,000 people, is committed to producing healthier, sustainable and irresistible bread products.
“As pioneers of the Australian baking industry we have a reputation for exceptional quality, championing the highest quality ingredients in our bread mixes,” says Mr Honan.
“It brings us a lot of joy knowing we have created a bread formula that has improved shelf life, whilst maintaining fresh oven-baked flavour and taste.”
In addition to Coles lower-sodium white bread, Coles has also launched a new lower-carb bread range, including the 85 per cent Lower Carb Loaf and the Herman Brot Complete Protein Loaf.
The Coles 50% lower carb bread range, another collaboration with the research and development team at the Manildra Group, is vegan-friendly, an excellent source of fibre, has no added sugar and is a source of protein with 50% fewer carbohydrates than a normal loaf of bread.
Mr Honan says the reduced salt, lower-carb bread mixes at Coles are a response to the growing consumer demand for healthier premium products that deliver on flavour and freshness.
“As a family-owned Australian business, premium-quality food has been at the heart of our business for seven decades,” he says.
“We are very excited to work with Coles supermarkets and uphold their staunch commitment to natural, fresh, top-quality breads.”
Coles White Sandwich, Toast and Block loaves, and lower-carb bread products are available at Coles Supermarkets nationally.