With consistently changing consumer tastes and other factors in the current climate such as rising energy costs and supply change issues, variability in product is now more important than ever for baked goods producers.
While in an ideal world each product would have an independent line to produce it, large upfront investment in equipment along with differing schedules make this approach unfeasible for most manufacturers.
Consumer trends are continuing to head towards products offering a wider benefit, either environmental or health related, and can be in the form of plant-based products, fortified products or reduced waste to name a few.
As well as these, there are also consumers making conscious changes and creating new trends towards more artisanal choices such as sour-dough and hybrid products. With the ever-increasing number of products being sought by consumers and the growing variety of new products being released year after year, it is now more important than ever to have equipment that can run efficiently and adapt to cope with increasing demand.
Spooner provers, ovens and coolers are inherently designed to offer flexibility with numerous adjustable parameters. This means the product can be proved, baked or cooled in a number of different environments within the same machine due to the way it is designed – all whilst maintaining end product consistency, quality and using the most efficient process possible.
Below are some of the examples of products and how Spooner equipment is ideally placed to change the conditions to suit as required.
Flexible Food Equipment: Proving
Obviously not all baked products require proving, however a large percentage do. The prover is the first conditioned environment a product will see – the aim of this stage is to allow products with a yeast content to rest and rise prior to baking. As yeast thrives in an environment that is warm and humid these are the conditions maintained within a Spooner prover.
The variables in a prover are:
Probably the most significant factor within a prover is the temperature. This needs to be maintained at a higher level than the temperature required for yeast to ferment or multiply. This is due to the energy it takes for dough to become warm enough to affect the yeast. The table below shows the effect temperature has on yeast.
As this information shows, yeast will die at temperatures above 55⁰C, however this will often be seen as the control temperature within a prover. The yeast within a piece of dough will never see these temperatures because of the energy required to heat the dough as mentioned previously. A balance between the dwell time within a prover and the temperature set point is required.
There are several factors to consider when selecting an appropriate proof time, including the total mass of product within a prover at any one time, the dough container size or, if the product is placed directly onto the transporting medium, the amount of airflow within a prover. A higher airflow will give a greater heat transfer therefore reducing the time and temperature.
However, too much airflow can have a negative effect as the product can become dried out on the surface and ‘skinned’. This will mean the heat transfer through the surface of a product will be reduced and cause inconsistent results in proving.
As with temperature and time, humidity is another factor which can greatly affect doughs containing yeast. Throughout history certain types of baked products have come from areas of the world where the conditions match the manufacturing conditions. Traditionally soft baked products were synonymous with countries with high levels of humidity, and crusty products and flatbreads were considered synonymous with arid, drier countries. Whilst the baking industry is no longer constrained by natural conditions there is now a requirement to simulate these conditions in the baking process to satisfy the diversifying tastes of global consumers.
An accurate and efficiently controlled single enclosure prover, capable of applying heat, cool air, humid air and de-humidifying all whilst having a variable dwell time, is essential to produce a varied range of baked products. The addition of a cooling coil may seem counter-intuitive for a prover but by fitting one onto a prover air handling unit, it can give an extra dimension of control of both temperature and humidity.
Whether you’re considering a new product range now or potentially in the future, this should be a consideration when purchasing the right prover.
Keep a look out for our upcoming blogs on baking and cooling.
If you want to find out more about our range of Industrial Provers, Industrial Ovens, Industrial Coolers, Heat Recovery Systems or our test and R&D facility, get in touch with Andrew Robinson (email@example.com) or Michael Birts (firstname.lastname@example.org) via email or call +44 (0)1943 609 505.
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