The beginning of every high-speed pan bread line starts with a decision: Sponge-and-dough or straight dough? Which course a bakery chooses largely depends on its priorities. While some will say the industry is moving away from sponge-and-dough, that move isn’t happening quickly, and the method still finds a home with the clean label set.

“I wouldn’t say the industry is moving away en masse,” said Bruce Campbell, vice-president, global product technology, AMF Bakery Systems. “It’s still a popular preferred way to make quality bread, and with clean label, sponge has some capabilities to remove some ingredients from the formula.”

Improved sponge-and-dough techniques and technology also have made this method beneficial for those bakers trying to clean up their formulations and deliver quality bread.

“Equipment for the sponge-and-dough method has improved to a higher level,” said Erik Rensen, area sales manager, Kaak Group. “Our customers can control the quality and create a very consistent sponge dough.”

Advances in controls, storage-and-retrieval systems for troughs also have helped bakers improve the consistency and automation of a sponge-and-dough process, Mr. Campbell said.

However, straight doughs simplify production, said Mike Scouten, vice-president, sales and marketing, Middleby Bakery Group.

“You have less equipment, so you have a simplified process, and you’re able to achieve a similar quality product with equal ingredients,” he said.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on pan bread processing, click here.