cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon is used in baking mainly for flavoring.

Cinnamon


What is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of several different trees from the genus Cinnamomum. It can be used in sweet and savory foods.

Origin

Cinnamon originates from Sri Lanka, dating all the way back to 2800 B.C. Today, cinnamon is still grown in Sri Lanka and South India. The most common type of cinnamon sold in North America is Cassia; it is typically sweeter and more aromatic than “true cinnamon,” but it can be astringent. It is harvested from the inside bark of an evergreen tree and then processed and ground into a powder (typically).

Function

Its flavor and aroma come from an essential oil that makes up about 0.5% to 1.0% of its composition. In the United States especially, cinnamon mixed with sugar is commonly used to flavor things such as apples (apple pie), cereals, and snack goods such as donuts.

Composition

The main flavor of cinnamon bark is cinnamon oil, which contains mainly cinnamaldegyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamic alcohol.

Application

Use mainly for flavoring. While there is no limit to its usage, excessive cinnamon will delay fermentation and the proofing of dough. Most of the time, yeast levels have to increase, for example in cinnamon rolls, to compensate for this.

Nutrition

Cinnamaldehyde is the most predominant in cinnamon, and has anesthetic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antiviral actions. As a whole, the compounds found in cinnamon are anti-inflammatory agents, antioxidants and neuroprotective.

Types/Variations

  • Vietnamese—said to be the world’s finest cinnamon; it, along with Chinese cinnamon, are sweeter and spicier (more aromatic).
  • Indonesian cinnamon—most common on grocery store shelves. This variety is broken down into three grades: A, B, and C; B and C are the “grocery store” variety, while A is more sweet and mellow. All varieties of these cinnamons, known as Cassia cinnamon, are actually from the same tree, they are just harvested and processed differently.
  • Encapsulated cinnamon—the volatile oil cinnam aldehyde is what contributes to cinnamon’s pungent aroma and flavor. It also inhibits dough rising. Encapsulating the spice could prove beneficial for products needing fermentation.