Sugar Free Baking: Interview With a Baker
Steven Winter grew up in Norwich and has now been a professional baker for 13 years. He was still at school when he started working in a bakery as a “Saturday boy.” He was then offered an apprenticeship at college when he left school, and has been baking ever since. Steve has worked in a whole range of bakeries, from large scale operations to small village bakeries - and even 100 year-old, wood-fired bakeries.
Q: What kind of bakery do you run yourself?A: I own and run an artisan bakery with my wife Hannah. It is called Dozen Artisan Bakery and produces hand crafted breads using organic flour and no chemicals, as well as cakes and pastries.
Q: Have you built up a reputation for any product in particular?A: Yes, we specialise in sourdough bread and fine pastry. We make all of our breads with no added sugar or fats, the pastry and cake are all produced daily using only the finest ingredients.
Q: How easy is it to bake bread without sugar?A: In my opinion bread should never contain sugar, unless it is a sweet bread like a brioche. Putting sugar into bread makes the yeast lazy as the yeast feeds off the sugar instead of the natural sugars found in flour – which means that you end up creating a much less flavoursome loaf. All you need is to allow more rising time.
Q: what about baking cakes – that must be harder?A: Cakes made with a high percentage of natural sugars in will contain as much sweetness as they need. There are lots of great recipes out there to try, which are just as easy to follow as a recipe that does contain sugar.
Q: Do you make any sugar-free products yourself?A: All of our bread is made without sugar. Even our sourdough fruit loaf just uses the sweetness from the fruits that we add. Our customers do not believe this when we tell them!
Q: Could you let us have one of your sugar free recipes?A: Yes, this is a recipe for some delicious sugar free cookies. They will keep in an airtight container for about five days after baking.
Sugar Free Fig and Raisin CookiesIt does not require any added sugar at all. The sweetness comes from the fruit.
- 115g (4oz) unsalted butter
- One egg
- The grated zest of orange
- 150g (5oz) wholemeal flour
- One tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 90g (3oz) flaked coconut
- 75g (2.5oz) raisins
- 75g (2.5oz) chopped figs
- 75g (2.5oz) ground pecans