Artisan Topping Simplifies Innovation in Bakery Applications

Consumers are continually looking for new flavors and sensory experiences in baked goods. For bakery brands seeking to expand their portfolio and tap into consumer trends, innovation needs to make economic sense. According to Baking & Snack’s 2020 Industry Confidence Survey, over half (51%) of bakery manufacturers expected their 2019 costs to be higher than in years past. Rising expenses add pressure to rapidly achieve profitability when bringing new products to market.

New applications require costly updates to production lines, additional ingredient sourcing, and resources for research and development. In order to curtail these costs, bakery manufacturers may look to augment existing formulations to create novel offerings that consumers find compelling. To this end, a new ingredient is now available that can significantly change the flavor and texture profile of a variety of baked goods with minimal reformulation.

Artisan Fleurage® by Saf-Pro® Seed and Semolina Toppings are proprietary blends of fermentation-based coatings and cereal products that add rich, aromatic flavors and umami to a broad spectrum of applications. Fleurage® is a 2-in-1 solution for taste and aroma that can be sprinkled on any dough to boost the sensory experience of the finished product. In particular, Fleurage® provides functionality for vegan and clean label applications, categories that sometimes present challenges for formulators.

Read on to learn more about how this unique ingredient helps bakers make the most of their investment dollars while bringing flavorful innovations to consumers.


The trend toward novel flavors and interesting textures remains strong as consumers continue to seek out new and exciting food experiences. In a 2019 survey from Innova Market Insights, 74% of consumers around the world said they “love to discover new flavors.” Furthermore, seven out of 10 consumers indicated that “texture makes food and beverages a more interesting experience,” and six out of 10 agreed that texture affects their decision to buy a product.

“Today’s consumer is exploring,” said master baker Ralf Tschenscher, Baking Business Development Manager at Lesaffre North America. “The trend across generations, from Baby Boomers to Millennials and Gen X, is toward exceptional alternatives that are wholesome, sustainable, and flavorful. We have witnessed this pattern for years on the bakery side, but lately, more and more in pastry and culinary applications.”

For food brands, providing variety to consumers is not simply a matter of scaling up production; it requires innovation, investment, and potentially significant operational adjustments. In order to put new products on store shelves, considerable time is spent researching, developing, and testing formulations. Production lines must be created or equipment reconfigured and upgraded. Therefore, the most economical innovations involve minimal formulation changes and can utilize existing production assets.


Fleurage® creates value for bakery manufacturers by enabling the development of new applications from existing formulations without having to alter dough recipes. In most cases, Fleurage® can be directly applied after dough formation, either by hand or by systems already in place on production lines, such as those used to apply sesame and polenta. These efficiencies add to a brand’s capacity to grow its product portfolio with new flavors and unique textures while optimizing costs and minimizing downtime.

“Lesaffre has worked with companies to test seeding machines,” said Tschenscher. “Artisan Fleurage® is a proven solution for any scale of production. It’s the same recipe but with a twist. The aroma, flavor, and texture from Fleurage® gives you a totally different product.”

Through a proprietary process, Lesaffre uses specialized fermentation-based coatings to infuse Fleurage® with one-of-a-kind flavors and aromas. Fleurage® Seeds is a mix of flax, oats, and millets that undergo a fermentation process which provides flavorful depth and satisfying mouthfeel. A drizzle of Fleurage® Seeds adds visually enticing artisan authenticity and pleasing crunchiness to whole wheat, multigrain, and white breads, as well as many other applications.

Fleurage® Semolina is durum wheat semolina infused with fermentation-based coatings to impart cheesy umami characteristics and mild salty notes. It provides the functionality of semolina as a coating or dusting agent while building up the cheesiness and crunch of pizza crusts and traditional or vegan cheese breads.


Frozen pretzels, which cannot be salted prior to freezing, present a unique formulation challenge. Salt’s hygroscopicity causes it to pull in water from the air and lower the freezing point of that moisture. This causes spotting on the pretzel and makes the product visually unattractive and unappetizing.

However, by topping frozen pretzels with Fleurage® Seeds, the product achieves a more attractive appearance and gains crunchy textures that withstand freezing. Fleurage® Seeds can also create an artisan appearance and enjoyable crunchiness when used as a topping for fresh pretzels, as well as pretzel buns and applications with similar textures, such as bagels.


While there are many vegan cheese solutions, most get their flavor from spices and are, in general, insufficient in their ability to replicate the flavor of dairy cheese. Vegan cheeses often lack the depth and intensity of flavor of dairy cheeses, which can make them difficult to use in formulations. As such, vegan cheese breads often have a bland flavor and lack sensory appeal. Adding Fleurage® Semolina to doughs prior to baking can intensify the taste of cheese while maintaining vegan and clean label specifications.

At the 2019 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), Fleurage® Semolina was showcased in a bakery demonstration featuring vegan cheese bread. “Vegan cheese bread was the talk of the show,” said Tschenscher, who led the demonstration. “People couldn’t believe how cheesy the bread was.”

Fleurage® Semolina can be used as a topping or coating on cheese breads, cheese sticks, or cheese buns to give added crispiness and a burst of cheese flavor to applications without using milk-based ingredients. In addition to being vegan-friendly, Fleurage® Semolina is Certified Kosher Pareve and Halal Compliant.


Wholesale bakeries and large-scale commercial manufacturers often do not have the systems in place for key steps in production, such as creating a poolish or biga, that add the signature fermented flavors for which artisan breads are known. Both Fleurage® Seeds and Fleurage® Semolina can solve for this without creating the need for additional equipment or fermentation processes.

With Fleurage®, the fermentation flavors are added by seeding and drizzling systems that may already be in place on production lines. And since doughs do not need to be reformulated to use Fleurage®, simple pan loaves, hamburger buns, and rolls can be transformed into new artisan-style breads. Alternatively, small-to-medium sized bakeries that do not have seeding systems can simply sprinkle Fleurage® by hand to create new products with stronger flavors and aromatic appeal.


For companies producing pizzas for sale in convenience stores, supermarkets, mass retail, and club stores, getting a crispy crust can be difficult, especially in microwavable formats. Using Fleurage® Semolina as a topping or coating on crusts ensures a crispier product. Fleurage® Semolina also improves the appearance of quality in pizzas and enriches the pizza’s cheese flavor.

Additionally, Fleurage® can be utilized in foodservice. For restaurants, to-go pizzas are often placed in a box and possibly a heating bag, all of which trap moisture and make crusts soggy. With Fleurage® Semolina, crusts stay crispy longer during transport, which makes for an overall better experience for consumers. Similarly, Fleurage® is very effective in improving the visual appeal and flavor profile of frozen and take-and-bake pizzas.


Artisan Fleurage® by Saf-Pro® has the potential to transform nearly any dough formulation into new, flavorful experiences for consumers. For this reason, Fleurage® was named the 2020 Saveurs de l’Année “Flavor of the Year” in France.

For bakers and formulators who are exploring ways to incorporate Fleurage® into recipes, Lesaffre provides technical support from qualified bakers at its Baking Centers across the U.S. Experts are available to demonstrate how to use Fleurage®, as well as yeast and sourdough solutions, dough improvers, and other innovations from Lesaffre. Contact us or find out more about Artisan Fleurage® by Saf-Pro® here.

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