Your product is what the end consumer associates you with. It reflects your company's ethos, spirit, quality, image and heritage. You strive for high-end quality. However, it can be quite a challenge to consistently deliver that level of quality to your customers.
The common conception is that producing significant quantities of products is often associated with lower product qualities. The challenge for the baker is to maintain its high-end products while increasing the production volume.
High-quality products are created through a repeatable production process. In the following paragraphs, you will read more about the essential factors that help you as a (semi-) industrial bakery to ensure consistent high quality.
3 elements that affect product quality in (semi)-industrial bakeries
1. Temperature consistency
The first parameter that significantly influences product quality is the consistency of temperature. Temperature control is vital in any food processing company. High-quality levels can only be guaranteed if the temperature of your installation is consistent.
If you want to maintain a constant temperature inside your installation, you need to consider all kinds of factors. Like, for example:
- Cooling outputs
- Number of times doors open during a day
- Number of products inside the equipment
- Weight and dimensions of the products
- The temperature inside/outside the factory
All these factors should be considered when designing and setting up your installation, so the calculation perfectly matches your production process. This way, your products can be stored, frozen or matured consistently.
2. Air circulation
Air circulation has a direct impact on the quality of the product. Cold air can dehydrate your products in a matter of minutes if it is not controlled the right way. Besides temperature, the airspeed and way of circulating are often unrightfully neglected.
Air circulation is controlled in three ways:
- Lowered ceilings, pressure walls, or air-guiding systems ensure that the airflow does not directly hit the products.
- Fan speed control: It's essential to change the airspeed to prevent dehydration.
- Product placement: The positioning of the products directly influences air circulation and dehydration.
To ensure consistent product quality levels, your installation should enable you to fully control (and provide) even air circulation throughout the whole installation. This way, you can deliver high-quality products to your end customers, no matter the production volume.
3. Relative Humidity
Adjustable (relative) air humidity is critical when countering dehydration. It is common to use an exterior resistive humidifier that brings in steam through tubes. This will only provide one source of humidity throughout the installation. This way, products might not experience the same impact because of their literal placement inside the equipment. In the end, the products will have deviations in terms of quality, taste and even structure.
A way to evenly provide the proper air humidity levels to all your products is to have a humidification system next to the evaporator. This system will ensure that water runs into the humidification tray and is being heated by heating elements. Next, evaporated water molecules will be transported through the evaporator. Due to this process, the moist air is distributed evenly throughout the installation and will help you deliver more consistent product quality levels.
Consistency and repeatability of your production process
By constantly measuring, controlling and regulating the three parameters that are mentioned in this article, you will create a consistent and repetitive production process.
Whether it's chilling, freezing or (slow)fermenting, your products will have a constant production process resulting in consistent and repeatable product quality.