After a love affair with straight dough and streamlining the front end of the process, many wholesale bakers are once again embracing time-tested liquid ferments as well as pre-dough technology such as sponge-and-dough. Fortunately, today’s ingredient handling technology allows bakers to automate this once cumbersome process.

“While most of the ingredient tracking principals are the same as elsewhere in the bakery, some liquid ferment systems could allow greater mingling of separate batches in the tank system, depending on plant operational procedures,” said Joseph Cross, process manager, Zeppelin Systems USA. He added that an extra level of lot tracking may be needed to provide complete traceability in the process.

Bakers use sours and pre-dough systems to develop natural flavor profiles and clean label baked foods without using artificial ingredients, observed John Hunter, sales account manager, bakery and ingredient handling, Bühler, Inc.

He added that liquid sour or pre-dough systems need to be fully integrated for effective technical performance and to support the bakery’s GMP and lot-number tracking efforts. A greater number of bakers also are incorporating pre-blending and pre-hydration systems prior to mixing to enhance product quality.

Recipe-control systems guarantee that fermentation process, time and temperatures are repeated every time to achieve consistent finished product quality.

Mr. Hunter suggested that fermentation vessels and cold hold tanks capacities coincide with how much product a bakery wants to make from each fermentation batch. By doing so, bakers will limit the number of products that might need to be recalled if a problem with an individual batch arises.