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Tomato-Basil-Garlic Flavor that rises to the occasion

Postcards from the Bench

Tomato-Basil-Garlic Flavor that rises to the occasion

May 2018 | Marina, Senior Food Scientist

There are few flavor combinations as iconic to the American palate as tomato, basil and garlic. After all, they’re the basis of one of our favorite foods: pizza. Building a commercial bread product off this trio may seem like an easy decision, but it’s not without hurdles.

Let’s start with not overlooking the challenge that garlic presents. There are naturally occurring chemicals in garlic that interfere in the denaturing of proteins and gluten formation during the kneading process, resulting in a weaker dough structure and subpar texture. The obvious solution to that problem: layering the garlic powder on top of the finished dough before baking. This is also problematic because high heat causes garlic powder to burn, leaving the bread extremely bitter, and possibly a compromised taste experience.

Right out of the gate, what would seem to be the simplest part of the R&D process is causing major problems. Layering the garlic powder on the dough before baking is actually notorious for its deceptiveness—an easy combo to pull off at home, but a very difficult combination for product developers to perfect. This is why our proprietary McCormick Flavor Cell® technology is an ideal solution.

To help demonstrate its effectiveness, we can do a little product development demonstration for our customers by taking the same flavor profile and elevating taste experience with flavor technology.

Tomato-Basil-Garlic Flavor that rises to the occasion

First, we’ll let them taste the result using traditional tools, shown in the first column. We're using garlic powder in the dough. Then, the old standby: spray dry butter flavor. The final layer would be tomato powder, which would be blended with other flavor powders to achieve the basic premise. While, technically, you would have the flavors of garlic bread, tomato and basil, the result falls flat. Customers can taste it in our demonstration. Visually it would look burnt, so to avoid that, the seasoning would need to be scaled back. The flavor wouldn’t come through strongly enough, leaving an unsatisfying, unbalanced result.

Enter Flavor Cell®. By incorporating this technology into the second iteration of this product demo, we begin to elevate and improve the taste experience. With Garlic Flavor Cell®, we can protect dough-rise and bypass any bitter off-notes to dial-in the exact garlic profile the application calls for: raw, sautéed, roasted, or caramelized. Here, we’re aiming for the taste of sautéed garlic. In contrast to the bitter garlic powder, sauteed garlic is sweeter, with a light caramelization that eliminates the natural harshness of its raw state.

This flavor technology...it's truly a game changer.

Flavor Cell® butter tastes nothing like a powder. With a vaguely dairy-ish profile, it is smooth and bright with notes of fresh cream that gradually releases themselves throughout the eating experience. As you're chewing, Flavor Cell® is releasing those complex, layered flavors that help you deliver on your targeted taste profile. The result: a foundation where we can build robust, elevated flavor that is complicated, balanced, and extremely cravable.


With these key hurdles resolved, our focus shifts to rounding out the product with a fresh and bright tomato and basil—the elements that at first glance, most people believe would be the tricky part of the development process. All we need to do is concentrate on developing the right flavor that will complement our existing garlic bread base and create a completely balanced end product.

Basil Leaves

To build upon the improved garlic bread base, we're using a complex Tomato Basil Seasoning featuring Flavor Cell®. This fresh forward approach replaces a cooked tomato taste with vine-ripened tomato and basil that tastes like leaves plucked from your garden, while offering a more visually appealing bread with a natural red color.

This flavor technology excels in the taste department, but it’s truly a game changer when it comes to production. This is a full, complex flavor that resists burning, mitigates dough structure issues and helps prevent flavor loss throughout the baking process, with the ultimate result of a more satisfied consumer.

Click here to learn more about our Flavor Cell® and flavor modulation technologies. To develop your next, perfectly balanced flavor application, contact your McCormick account manager or contact us today.

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