UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Starting in 2017, Bühler’s Bakery Innovation Center (BIC) will become a training center for the entire production of industrial bakery foods, the company said this summer.
The facility at Bühler’s headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland, is five years old and is a popular center for vocational training and further education for bakers and millers. Under the motto “From Grain to Bread,” Bühler know-how is integrated along the entire added value chain in the course topics.
The BIC will be expanded to an Application Center over the next few months. Starting in 2017, courses on the complete production process for baked foods will be held. When it is completed, the BIC will be available to Bühler customers for testing recipes.
“We will be able to offer courses covering everything that concerns the production of industrial bakery goods in our new Application Center — from handling the raw material over the mixer to the oven,” said Markus Schirmer, head of the BIC.
BIC’s course offerings are constantly being expanded. A new intensive training course is being added for those interested in becoming an “industrial baker.” Over a period of three weeks, a condensed overview of all topics — from milling to laboratory analyses to enzymatic influences on bread — is presented. In addition, topics such as planning a bakery, key figures, principles of food safety and hygienic design, to name just a few, are included in the program. The ‘crash course’ “Industrial Baker” is aimed primarily at young managers who wish to gain an overview of the fundamentals of baking.
“Our course participants want to learn what settings they need to change on their machines and systems in order to obtain the same end product with varying raw materials,” Mr. Schirmer said. “But industrially produced bread should not only always taste the same. Increasingly, the quality of artisanal baked goods is being sought. The focus of the courses is therefore on teaching basic knowledge about the interaction of recipes and technology that happens before the actual baking process. This basic knowledge is required for understanding the complex processes of manufacturing industrial bakery products.”
The BIC’s standard courses explain the influence of grinding on the quality of baked foods, provide an introduction into the ‘secrets’ of producing industrial bakery products and impart knowledge about the use of sponges and sourdoughs, Bühler said.
The knowledge provided at BIC is not only for bakers, but also of interest for millers. The trend toward baking without additives puts more weight on the grinding process, said Mr. Schirmer, who is himself a master baker and has a doctorate in engineering. What previously was controlled through additives in the baking process must now be done through the characteristics of the flour. For example: The pressure of the rolls may be used to adjust the modification of the starch. This in turn affects water absorption of the flour, which then has an influence on the freshness of the bread. The more moisture in the bread, the longer it stays fresh. Sponges and sourdoughs may create additional advantages. Such indirect dough versions contain more water, form natural aromas and stay fresh longer. Quality fluctuations here only may be avoided by accurate analyses, sufficient expertise or highly automated processes.
Considering how complex the subject matter of baking is, it’s no wonder that BIC enjoys such popularity, Bühler said. More than 1,000 people have taken part in almost 100 courses in Uzwil so far.
“With 5 to 10 customers per week, we are almost always fully booked,” Mr. Schirmer said.An overview of current BIC courses may be found at www.buhlergroup.com/bic.