Multi-million dollar investment catapults Galaxy Desserts into the future.

RICHMOND, CALIF. — When Galaxy Desserts found demand for croissants growing beyond the capacity of its semi-automated lines, executives chose to invest in a new multi-million dollar system … and tap the expertise of its new French partner, Brioche Pasquier of Les Cerqueux, France.

The result is a system capable of making up to 14,000 pieces per hour in a variety of sizes, shapes and flavors.

In 2012, Richmond-based Galaxy Desserts joined forces with Brioche Pasquier, an international baking company based in France’s Loire River Valley. Counting Galaxy, the French company operates 17 locations in France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, the U.K. and the United States and banked close to $1 billion in sales last year.

Galaxy manages its capital budget on a five-year plan reviewed each year.

“Quality is always the focus,” said Jean-Yves Charon, the company’s founder, partner and pastry chef. “We want to achieve the quality level of a small, artisan bakery but scale production to meet national distribution.”

The Richmond bakery divides its production floor into independent zones to accommodate temperature and humidity needs that vary by product. For example, it separates production of croissants into two areas: one for the new, high-volume line, the other for the short-run needs of variety croissants. The new croissant operation occupies the coldest of the bakery’s production rooms.

Butter for this line tempers overnight on pallets outside the chilled production room. A chocolate melter and tempering system pumps chocolate fillings directly to the line. Inside the room, a carousel-style spiral mixing system prepares dough. Ingredient water is supplied by an ice water system.

“When you get it right, you get the same quality as handmade doughs,” Mr. Charon said.

The line was built by Brioche Pasquier in France. Before Galaxy took delivery of the system, it sent Guillaume Perruchet, Galaxy’s R.&D. associate, to France to test the line and learn how to operate it. He ran trials on the new equipment with raw materials shipped to France from Galaxy’s U.S. flour millers and ingredient suppliers. Back at Richmond, he then taught operators how to run the new, high-capacity system.

To ensure consistent, high-quality results, Galaxy installed a Brabender Farinograph flour testing instrument in its R.&D. lab. It verifies the moisture, protein and other critical performance characteristics of the high-gluten flour preferred by the bakery for its laminated doughs.