Baking Classes Tests Local Flour Brand


Madison Grant

Junior Cater Forbes whisks pancake mix while sophomore Gianna Garcia-Campos pours in batter.

Riley Cornell

On May 4, Erica McIntyre’s baking classes conducted recipe and taste testing for a local flour brand, Farmers Direct. 

Olathe East FACS teacher Haley Sestak was the reason Olathe students from East, South, and West were able to experience sensory evaluation in the real world. Sestak received this opportunity after starting small talk on a plane with another passenger. This passenger happened to work for Farmers Direct and they came up with the idea to have local students test out Farmers Direct flour. 

Farmers Direct needed to find participants to conduct testing for different pancake recipes to see which one tasted the best to their actual consumers. This was product testing that needed to be done, so high school students were used instead of hiring people to come and test products, which is beneficial to the brand and for the students to get real-world experience.

The class was learning new skills which helped them further understand the real-world application of product testing.

“We talked about the career of sensory evaluation and recipe testing,” McIntyre said. “We went through and discussed different ways to evaluate food and what different tastes mean.”

All of the different pancakes after they have been cooked by the class and prepared for tasting.
(Julia Walker)

Three types of flour were tested: red wheat flour, whole white wheat, and patent flour. The students were divided into six groups and they each got a different kind of flour. After making their pancakes the groups got to try one pancake from each group and rank them based on appearance, aroma, taste, and texture.

Sophomore Dominic Hull was really glad that he got to learn so much, which made him appreciate the culinary arts.

“I am really happy I took this class,” Hull said. “I think it helped me realize my love for baking.” 

Overall this experience was beneficial to both parties. Farmers Direct got feedback on their flours and recipes to influence their marketable products and Olathe students got to learn valuable knowledge and eat some delicious pancakes.