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Freshly baked breads with improvement of nutritional quality and low energy demanding for the benefit of the consumer and of the environment.

Final Report Summary - EU-FRESHBAKE (Freshly baked breads with improvement of nutritional quality and low energy demanding for the benefit of the consumer and of the environment)

Europeans consume over 30 million tonnes of bread every year and almost 50 % of it is produced using bake off technology (BOT), a process that accelerates the final preparation of a bakery product. In today industrial bread production, more and more bread is pre-baked bread, produced on an industrial scale and delivered to small, local outlets where the baking process is then completed. However, making bread with BOT uses a lot of energy, and may also affect the nutritional and textural qualities of the bread.

The EU-funded EU-FRESHBAKE project has investigated how BOTs can be improved to consume less energy while producing top quality bread and designed prototype equipment and technologies to slash the amount of energy needed by these processes. Quality wise, research work resulted in new methods to prevent the crust from flaking, for example. Crust quality matters; a survey carried out by the project partners revealed that 62 % of a panel of European consumers (five countries) favour freshly baked bread with a crunchy crust. The impact of BOT in bread aroma has also been identified.

EU-FRESHBAKE research reveals for the first time that frozen partially baked bread has a significantly lower glycaemic index (GI) than conventional bread. According to the project coordinator, Proferssor Le Bail, this is an important result. Indeed, efforts to reduce the GI are often brought on the recipe. It seems that the processing conditions are as much important. In addition to reducing the energy consumption of BOT, the project partners developed innovative ingredients that are low in chemicals, and creating breads with enhanced nutritional value. Gluten free breads have also been considered. Indeed, cereal intolerance such as Celiac disease, which affects 0.1 % of people in Europe.

BOT is often considered as a non-environmentally friendly technology. However, in that it offers convenience to the consumer, it offers the unique advantage to reduce wasted staled bread and finally the global energy demand. Thanks to the innovation developed within EU-FRESHBAKE, it has been possible to reduce the baking energy by around 30 % (not considering the energy to inject steam in the oven). BOT can now be applied more economically with a third less energy consumption.

EU-FRESHBAKE will have the following long-term socioeconomic impacts:
- reduction in the large amounts of energy presently used in fermentation, baking, freezing and reheating BOT products;
- better quality convenience foods for Europe's consumers. Improved health benefits for citizens;
- new processes and equipment to market.

A guide of good practice has been issued during this project and is available in the 'achievements' web page. It concerns the industrial production of frozen bakery products and will contain data, advices and recommendation concerning the quality and the energy consumption related to this type of product. This document is public. In addition, scientific publications have been published in different scientific journals. A list of these articles will be updated on a monthly basis on the website of the project. Finally, a dissemination event toward the baking industry and toward the European consumers has been done in October 2009.