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Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - February 2008

Bake Mine Organic

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It's the icing on your cake: Satisfy your sweet tooth and your eco-awareness from a pantry stocked with smart choices.

Organic lifestyles aren't about just fruits and veggies anymore. Thanks to a growing selection of baking essentials, your pantry can be as organic as your vegetable bin. The benefits go beyond wholesome breads and muffins. Peter Reinhart, instructor of baking at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads (Ten Speed Press, 2007), says: "Supporting organic farmers is a way of contributing to the whole philosophy of sustainability. Reducing the amount of pesticides [and other harmful chemicals] that go into your body and the planet is reason enough to go organic."

Fortunately, you no longer have to seek out online specialty stores and out-of-the-way food co-ops to find supplies. You can stock your baking pantry with organic versions of many essentials without going any farther than your neighborhood Publix.

Sifting Flour Options
A baker's most basic ingredient is flour, and you'll find plenty of organic options, starting with organic all-purpose flour. If you prefer to bake with whole grains, you may want to try Arrowhead Mills organic whole wheat stone ground and whole wheat pastry flours.

Fats, including organic butter, help make baked goods light and fluffy. To keep recipes more heart-healthy, replace the saturated fat in butter with the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in oils such as Spectrum organic canola oil. Although you might not associate olive oil with baking, it works well in many recipes too. Try Newman's Own Organics extra-virgin olive oil, substituting cup olive oil for every cup of butter.

Spicing Things Up
What would baking be without the sweet stuff? You have several options for flavoring your creations organically. For straight-from-the-hive goodness, try Publix GreenWise Market Organic Honey or Bee Natural organic sweet wildflower honey. If you prefer to bake with maple syrup, Spring Tree and Santini Brands have organic choices. And when you want to sweeten with sugar, try Florida Crystals organic brown sugar and Wholesome Sweeteners fair trade organic sugar.

Baked goods, like people, often take on more interesting personalities when the sweetness is tempered with a little spice. Your choices for organically grown spices and seasonings have increased dramatically in recent years. McCormick's line of organic spices includes many basics, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and sesame seeds. Spice Islands also offers a wide range of organically grown herbs and spices, and Alessi makes a 100 percent natural sea salt in your choice of grinds. And don't forget to try McCormick's pure Madagascar organic vanilla extract.

When the baking mood strikes, it's nice to have the basics already on hand. By stocking up on organic essentials, you can make your best breads and pastries even better.

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