Not all bakery products are made the same, and they don’t all freeze the same, either. Factors such as formulation, product size and even packaging must be considered to evenly and efficiently freeze.
All products have a unique freezing point depending on their ingredients. Products with high percentage of sugar like fruit or raisins or a high fat content can be more challenging to freeze. “The most difficult products to freeze are the ones that have poor heat transfer properties,” said Peter White, president, IJ White Systems. He added that there are products where the dough acts a natural isolator freezing first before the interior reaches its freezing point. “For instance, freezing a plain croissant is easier than one that has fruit or chocolate filling. It goes back to the sugar,” he said.
Knowing which products face similar freezing challenges can lead to better production efficiency. “Freezers are typically optimized when only one type of product is being processed,” said Jon Hocker, director of technology and product line management, JBT Corp. “Multiple SKUs passing through the freezer at once can often lead to inefficiencies.” As long as the products are consistent going into the freezer, monitoring systems will track the proper temperature and process time at certain quality control checkpoints, according to Mr. Hocker.
Erik Fihlman, marketing manager, Linde, pointed out that challenges can also come from the production side, rather than the product itself. For instance, quick freezing might be needed to avoid problems with a particular product once it’s fully frozen. “Products like pizza, for example, might need rapid crust freezing to prevent a sauce bleed, so when consumers sees it in the package, all they see are the toppings and the cheese,” he noted.