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Automated process for stable preservative free pastry base mix for high added value bakery goods to increase the competitiveness of SME bakeries

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Sweet alternatives for small bakeries

An EU-funded initiative was established to boost the efficiency and competitiveness of small European bakeries offering high added-value goods. The PROECLAIR project achieved this by introducing novel solutions for time-consuming and costly tasks.

Industrial Technologies

Some 190 000 small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) bakeries across Europe face intense competition from industrial bakeries and supermarkets. The preparation of choux pastry, an essential 'building block' of bakers' products, requires skilled personnel and costly labour hours. To cut down on both, some use powder mixes. However, these contain a substantial amount of preservatives. The (PROECLAIR) project aimed to develop an aseptic pastry manufacturing system to address these and other challenges. Market research was conducted to identify the needs of small enterprise bakers, and European recipes were collected and evaluated to outline a standardised recipe, the performance of which was then put to the test. Other work involved efforts to develop rheological test methods to correlate paste with product quality, and storage studies considering various related parameters. Project partners integrated the stages involved in traditional pastry manufacture, so as to deliver one affordable machine that enables extended product shelf life. To this end, the product had to be adapted for longer shelf life. While desired results were achieved at lab scale, further work is needed to attain the same at pilot scale. A prime reason for low performance is related to less than optimum hygienic conditions in an SME bakery. As such, there is a need to fully automate the cleaning process and ensure better hygienic controls. Jointly agreed recommendations to achieve these requirements will be implemented when PROECLAIR decides on a partner for industrial production of their system. Following comprehensive studies and tests as well as the realisation of various scientific, technical and industrial objectives, a prototype was demonstrated to transfer the technology knowledge of the initial operation system. A thorough evaluation of all project findings indicated that the developed process can only be economically applied at a central location and on a bigger scale.

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