The French equipment supplier showcased its HQ line at bakery trade fair iba 2015. Mecatherm introduced the first version of the machine in 2013, but has fine-tuned the process and says the first industrial HQ line became operational in Paris at the start of the year.
"We wanted to create an intermediate quality between convenience products and the very high end products,” Cyril Munsch, director of sales at Mecatherm, told BakeryandSnacks.“So you have the appearance, the taste and shelf-life of an artisan product with the costs of a convenience product."
Mecatherm expects demand to come in mature bakery markets with strong convenience bread and artisanal bread categories. “These two markets have to exist because this product comes in between,” said Munsch.
Reducing product transfers
"We've seen that there was a huge trend for artisan products. But the artisan products are very difficult to produce,” he continued.
Conventionally manufacturers of artisanal bread bake in stone ovens, which can involve many product transfers to load the oven, said the sales director.
"When we bake on the pan, we put the product onto a pan and we don’t touch it… by not doing the product transfer anymore we have the highest possible efficiency,” he said.
Technology and capacity
“We decided to simplify the function of the HQ product being able to produce artisan quality but baked from a tray,” he continued.
“We deposit the product onto trays, but instead of using perforated trays we use sullied-bottom trays in order to have the appearance of a product that could be directly loaded onto the oven bottom.”
Mecatherm has developed a ‘BBB’ (Bottom-bake-oven), a device outside the oven that heats each tray for around 30 seconds to obtain results similar to stone-baking, but at a lower cost. Munsch claimed it allowed bakers to obtain a thin and crusty crust akin to an artisanal product.
The HQ Line has a production capacity of 10,000 fully baked baguettes per hour, 60,000 petit pains per hour and 3.5 metric tons of dough an hour.