Most everyone has experienced the pleasant sensation of walking into a bakery and smelling the sweet aroma of fresh-baked goods right out of the oven. In an age where prepackaged and frozen foods dominate the retail grocery industry, bakeries provide a refreshing alternative and wide variety of delicious treats. According to the business analysis firm Hoovers, bakery popularity is reflected in the fact the United States has approximately 2,500 commercial bakeries earning annual revenue of more than 25 billion dollars.
Bakeries produce a wide variety of breads including rye, Italian and pumpernickel. Breads are one of the oldest forms of food in the world and are made by baking dough, a flour and water mixture. Other ingredients such as salt, fat, milk, sugar, baking soda and yeast can be added. Breads come in a variety of forms, including rolls and loaves. Other common ingredients in bread include nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Doughnuts provide a tasty snack and can be eaten for breakfast. Usually sweet and deep fried, doughnuts come with a hole in the middle or as a solid piece filled with items such as jelly, creams or custards. Doughnuts can be baked in an oven instead of deep fried. Common doughnut toppings include powdered sugar, glaze and caramel. The two main types of doughnuts include yeast and cake. Yeast doughnuts are lighter and fluffier. Cake doughnuts tend to be heavier. The majority of doughnuts have a round shape.
Bagels, popular breakfast items, are usually made of yeast wheat dough and come in the form of a ring. Bagels have a thick and tough exterior that is crisp and often browned. Common bagel toppings include poppy and sesame seeds. Most bakeries carry bagels, although bagel shops specialize in bagels only.
Bakeries sell pies as dessert items. A pie is a baked dish consisting of layers of pastry dough that form a shell and have sweet or sour fillings. Pies can also be filled with meat and eaten as a dinner, however such pies are rarely found in bakeries. Some traditional varieties of pies sold in bakeries include apple, strawberry, blackberry, cherry, cream, custard, key lime and lemon meringue.
Pastries refer to baked goods made with ingredients that often include butter, sugar, shortening, flour, baking powder and eggs. Pastries, higher in fat content than breads, include small desserts and quiches. Other types include Danish pastry and croissants.