From donuts to cakes: the fermentation trend sweeps the patisserie industry

11 May 2023

Taste Tomorrow

The fermentation food trend is massive. With foods such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and of course sourdough, we see the most fermentation in the savory foods and drinks categories. But the trend hasn’t reached its peak yet.

60% of consumers are looking for new food experiences according to our Taste Tomorrow global consumer research. So that offers a lot of opportunities for forward thinking pastry chefs that are using fermented products in their patisserie. And they get a great head start, since the fermented food and drinks market is expected to grow by $533 million through 2026, according to Technavio. 

Find out how fermented foods are used for pastry below, where we share some inspiring examples as well.

Why fermentation?

The application of fermentation in the kitchen is thousands of years old. The technique was used to preserve food so it could be kept longer. Natural bacteria are responsible for the fermentation process. They feed on the sugars and carbohydrates present in food and in the process the food gets acidified, thus preventing ‘bad’ bacteria that spoil foods from growing. This also brings a change in flavor and texture. Existing flavors are amplified and get more depth, but new flavors arise too.

The ‘funky’ and umami taste of fermented foods are a big part of their appeal. At the moment, people desire interesting flavors, such as tart, sour, sweet and savory or swicy (sweet and spicy). Fermenting can bring a lot of those funky flavors into your pastries. 

Another reason to opt for fermented foods are their nutritional and health benefits. Fermenting bacteria release products that are known to improve gut health and support digestion.

Both of which happen to be major health food trends at the moment.

Dairy, dough, fruits & grains

The fermentation process can be applied to numerous patisserie ingredients, such as dairy products, grains, dough and even fruits. You can recreate the famous lacto-fermented blueberries from the three-star Michelin restaurant Noma and use them for confections, ferment your own crème fraîche or ferment whole barley, wheat or spelt.

But there are plenty of ready-to-use fermented products for sale as well. Those can be incorporated into cakes, cookies and pastries. Miso, made of fermented soybeans, can be used to make caramel sauce with an umami flavor. Kefir, made of milk, can serve as a base for cake fillings. And kombucha, fermented tea, is a great way to add a funky flavor to pastry fillings. It can even be incorporated in dough.

Using fermented ingredients in patisserie not only offers the opportunity to explore new flavors, it also provides a solution against food waste. Leftover produce can be fermented to elongate their shelf-life and even leftover bread or baked goods can be used to create homemade miso paste.

In this way, fermentation provides even more innovation to the pastry world!


Here are 4 inspiring patisserie examples that already apply fermentation:

1. BaBa-Claude - Chocolatier Raaf, Amsterdam (NL)

Camiel Jiskoot, the founder of Chocolatier Raaf, discovered his passion for chocolate while he was working as a patissier. He discovered the versatility of chocolate and started combining it with interesting and unusual tastes. Always wanting to create innovative chocolates with an experimental twist, he comes up with bonbons with flavors such as tequila and cloves or pineapple and jalapeno.

Camiel also experiments with fermented ingredients. One example is the BaBa-Claude, made with fermented reine claude plums. The lacto-fermented plums have a complex tart and umami taste, which works wonderfully in sweet pastry.

2. Cherry Miso White Chocolate Donut - Stay Glazed Donuts, Asheville (USA)  

Stay Glazed Donuts is a restaurant in Asheville. Chef and owner Jay brings his skills and training from his culinary studies in New York back to his hometown. Jay gets a kick out of peculiar flavors and really enjoys experimenting with them. This includes experimenting with fermented products like miso. Miso is fermented soybean paste from Japan and tastes something like salted caramel. Sounds like a perfect ingredient for patisserie! Check the Cherry Miso White Chocolate Donut, which Jay recently made!

3. Japanese inspired treats - Musubu Café, Porto (PT)

The small café-slash-restaurant Musubu in Porto is fully plant-based and has lots of gluten-free options. The menu is Japanese inspired. So besides sake and rice balls, they also serve pastries flavored with interesting fermented Japanese products. Think of an orange cake with matcha ice cream and shoyu crumbs, sticky miso toffee pudding and a dark chocolate cake featuring a cashew buttercream with soy sauce.

4. Stout & raspberry cake - Darvella Patisserie, Bulimba (AU)

The Australian pastry chefs at Darvella opt for an easier accessible application of fermentation: beer. Stout provides an interesting contrast in their raspberry cake with milk chocolate ganache, but because everybody knows beer, the pastry appeals to a wide audience.


5. Pumpkin Seed and Pumpkin Seed Miso Tart - Alice, Ottawa (CA)

Chef Briana Kim runs a fermentation focused restaurant. Almost every course has a fermented element and can be paired with a specific matching fermented juice. For their desserts, the kitchen team at Alice kraft their own pumpkin seed miso, which they then use in a tart with whole pumpkin seeds. The flavors are rich, deep and earthy and the texture is both crunchy, crisp and creamy.


6. Chocolate tartelette with passion fruit, miso and szechuan pepper - LIGHTHOUSE Kombuchabar & Patisserie, Amsterdam (NL)

The LIGHTHOUSE is a unique concept based in Amsterdam: a kombucha bar and patisserie in one. They are experimenting with the most surprising flavors, all based on fermented ingredients. One of the LIGHTHOUSE's well-known recipes is the Chocolate tartelette with passion fruit, miso and sichuan pepper, along with their signature smoked tea, the lapsang souchong. The tartelette combines sweet, umami and spicy into a compelling flavor mix that is both surprising and delicious. Their financier with miso and Dutch walnut is another interesting creation that uses fermented miso for extra flavor depth.


Taste Tomorrow

Taste Tomorrow is the world’s largest ecosystem for consumer understanding in bakery, patisserie and chocolate. By tracking local and global consumer behaviors, attitudes and choices it provides us with valuable, in-depth insights. We are able to use these insights to track the evolution of trends and reveal new ones, helping your business to stay connected to your customers and discover new opportunities.

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