A BENDIGO bakery has trialed an innovative approach to a staple product, incorporating an unusual ingredient.
The Bridgewater Bakehouse recently launched a range of aloe bread - with cob, Vienna and block varieties - designed to aid digestion.
Its advocates are touting a range of benefits, starting with improved digestion.
Owner Pat O'Toole said the bread tasted just like normal bread, but was healthier.
The bread is made with an juice of the aloe vera suculent, incorporated into the dough.
Mr O'Toole said the bread was made with the only variety of aloe vera that was edible, grown and milked by an Australian woman.
The bakery introduced the product a few weeks ago. Currently bakers are making it on Tuesdays only, in both the bakehouse stores.
Mr O'Toole said the product was just starting to gain traction with customers.
But he expected the bread to catch on, in line with the current focus on health and eating well.
Mr O'Toole said if this happened, the Bridgewater Bakehouse would start to introduce the aloe bread to its everyday range.
Other businesses trialing the product were seeing good results, he said.
Mr O'Toole said he introduced the bread because he could see it was a point of difference from other bakeries.
He said many people avoided bread because of the carbs, but the aloe additive was a way to make bread healthy again.
"It's about eating good quality product and eating healthy. I can't see why it wouldn't be a thing for the future," he said.
"It doesn't change in the flavour. It's very minimal, you can hardly taste the difference. We have found that the crumb structure of the bread as well has become softer and lasts longer.
"That was the idea, to try and have something that can be eaten every day, as an every day product, but not taste bad."
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The idea for the bread came about through former My Kitchen Rules contestants Jodie-Anne and Mick Barlow.
The product is being trialed at a range of bakeries across Victoria.
Its advocates say taking the product has a range of benefits, from absorption of vitamins and minerals to muscle building.
The aloe plants are grown in northern Victoria. Their juice can be used as a tonic, mixed with other foods, or used in skincare.
Advocates say the plant helps control arthritis, ulcers and dermatitis. It is frequently used to treat burns and scalds.
There are more than 300 species of aloe, growing wild throughout much of the world. Plants used in the product were imported to Australia in the mid-1970s.
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