For some products, staling can be a good thing. Consider croutons. All are made from bread, but the loaf must meet the slicer at the optimal stale time to produce a clean cut with limited fines. If it is too stale, slicing it will create too many fines. To maintain product and equipment integrity, bakers want to minimize the fines cutting creates. If a product isn’t stale enough, however, then it will be difficult to cut.

“You don’t want the stale time to be too short because then the bread hasn’t had time to mature properly, and it’s too gummy,” said Tim O’Brien, vice-president, sales, Urschel Laboratories, Valparaiso, IN. “That makes it difficult to cut, and you don’t get high-quality slices and dices that most customers want.”

“A lot of times a baker can tell just from touch when a product is not stale enough or too stale, but the real proof is seen when the cubes and dices discharge from the Urschel machine,” he said. This proof comes from old-fashioned R&D, running the product on the machine to find the perfect stale time for slicing. Urschel runs several testing centers in North America and around the world where bakers can test products on the company’s slicers.