Manufacturers could slice bread baking times by 20%, finds research

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers identify formulation challenges associated with reducing bread baking time.
Researchers identify formulation challenges associated with reducing bread baking time.

Related tags: Campden bri, Baking

Manufacturers could reduce baking times by 20% with financial and environmental benefits for baking companies as it may help to reduce gas usage in the production process.

As part of their research into energy saving in different sectors, Campden BRI looked at the various formulation challenges presented by reducing the baking time of white bread.

Conducting various bakes with different times and formulation alterations they examined texture, appearance and quality. The researchers found that providing the bread was taken past 85°C, there was no difference in these aspects.

“By cutting down the bake time, the temperature at the center of the bread at the end of the bake is going to be lower. The key thing is what does that mean in terms of the structure? Has it been fully set by the starches and the proteins? Have the enzymes been fully inactivated and have the micro-organisms been killed off?”​ explained Gary Tucker, head of baking and cereals processing at Campden BRI.

Water management

The primary formulation challenge presented by these changes in baking times was the amount of water used. Since the bread was baked for less time, less water evaporated. The researchers found that reducing the water quantities to combat this meant tighter, less malleable bread.

“We wanted to get bread with the same water content that it currently has, so texturally it’s very similar,”​ said Tucker.

They found that working with warmer dough countered this, which also led to the discovery of a process which does not require mixers to be cooled which could mean further energy savings.

A whiter shade of pale

Reducing baking time meant that the bread was much paler than most white loaves.

“We didn’t want to produce these very pale, part-baked breads. We wanted our bread to look exactly as it is now and have exactly the same water content. We did this by increasing the temperature towards the end of the bake to get that browning,”​ Tucker told BakeryandSnacks.com.

The researchers have not yet examined whether this last stage cancels out the energy savings made previously.

“Our focus has really been the bread, and if the bread is acceptable if you do this. The next stage is to quantify it through accurate gas metering, which we haven’t done as yet,”​ explained Tucker.

Continuing project

As they continue their research Campden BRI also plans to look at other breads such as wholemeal, wholegrain, oat and inclusion breads which would present very different formulation challenges.

“The starches in oats gel at different temperatures to the wheat starches. They’re harder to gelatinize. We want to make sure they are fully gelatinized at the end of the bake process otherwise the structure will collapse after baking.”

“Similarly with wholegrain they bring with them lots of fiber which has water absorbing properties and enzymes that heat in a different way,”​ said Tucker.

Tucker told us that Campden BRI is working with four major baking companies to look at reducing baking time and using vacuum cooling.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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