Par-baked goods have grown rapidly over the past five years, and today include a plethora of specialty loaves, savory items, baguettes and dinner rolls, according to Linde.
These items are ubiquitous at food establishments such as quick-serve restaurants (QSRs), supermarket bakeries, convenience stores, sandwich shops and cafes.
Key to that growth is applying an immediate freeze after partial baking, which preserves product quality and freshness.
“Commercial bakeries can avoid mechanical holding freezers and ammonia freezers,” said Mark DiMaggio, head of food and beverage.
“With the addition of a simple, compact cryogenic freezer, they can enter a world of frozen par-baked products delivered to a much larger network than their current radius.”
A cryogenic tunnel freezer or a spiral freezer flash freeze using controlled blasts of liquid nitrogen (N2) or carbon dioxide (CO2).
The quick freezing action preserves the shape and appearance of the product while helping to retain the baked dough structure and desired moisture level inside.
Cryogenic freezers deliver par backed products that maintain the internal structure and integrity of the product while providing high production rates for the bakery.
“Cryogenic freezing of par-baked goods is giving commercial bakers who have only baked fresh a new strategy,” says DiMaggio.
“Bakeries can extend their distribution range and serve new retail segments.”
Fresh-from-the-oven signature breads at retail were once almost the exclusive province of fine restaurants.
But the rise of commercial par baking has made it possible for any restaurateur or food retailer to produce even artisan breads without skilled labor.
With par-baking, dough is partly baked (typically 80-90%) by the commercial bakery so the yeast is activated and the loaf is set for final baking.
There is no need for dough mixing, kneading or proofing.
The retailer need to pop items into an oven to brown and let the aroma fill the air.
Par-baked goods have been available in supermarkets since about 1949 with the advent of Brown ‘n’ Serve rolls.
Joseph A. Gregor, a baker who was also a fireman in Avon Park, Florida, US, reportedly discovered the advantage of par-baking while experimenting with a new biscuit recipe.
When the local siren sounded, he donned his fire hat, shut off the oven and ran out the door.
On his return, he discovered the rolls were fully baked on the inside and needed only a quick browning to finish.