The Sottoriva Bread Technology Center (BTC) was created with the dual task of supporting the Sottoriva research and development (R&D) team and serve as the epicenter for customer education and testing.
Located at Sottoriva’s Italian headquarters in Vicenza, the BTC is equipped with the company’s most modern ovens and other machines for the testing and production of bread and other baked foods. The BTC supports Sottoriva’s markets around the world, including North America, and allows bakers to test new products or formulations without needing to shut down their own lines for R&D.
Customers’ factory acceptance tests and other product trials are organized by Sottoriva America’s office in Charlotte, NC. Together with the technical staff in Italy, bakers can develop any test needed before making the trip to the BTC. Sottoriva’s specialized staff can support and guide them through any phase of the baking process.
“Our mission is to allow all prospective and existing customers worldwide to test all of our equipment at Sottoriva and to develop their own formulas to be utilized on their Sottoriva machines and systems,” said Rich Wall, general manager of sales and marketing for Sottoriva America. “We also invite allied bakery associations to use our BTC as a teaching or testing facility to educate students and bakers about new bakery technology.”
The facility is more than 2,600 square feet and can seat a class size of up to 50 people. Additionally, it offers a conference room and a much larger testing area on the factory floor where Sottoriva’s large bread and roll lines are demonstrated and tested. Available technologies include mixers, dough feeders, dividers, rounders, intermediate proofers, moulders, and makeup and panning equipment.
Additionally, the BTC offers machines for water dosing and chilling, seven different types of dough mixers, artisan bread production lines, proofers, coolers, and multiple oven platforms including convection, stone deck and rotary rack style ovens.
“Because of our wide range of possibilities, machines can be moved in and out of our BTC to easily demonstrate a wide variety of production alternatives,” Mr. Wall said. “The Sottoriva BTC is unique in that it has given the baking industry a facility where they can have hands-on testing and training on the latest bakery equipment technology available.”
Italian bakers are taking advantage of the resource, and Mr. Wall said many of the educational classes and training programs are organized by the local baker associations. And even more locally, bakers are taking classes at the BTC to facilitate their vocational school requirements.
However, because Sottoriva exports 85% of its production all over the world, the BTC can make a global impact.
While the state-of-the-art technology and educational space is preparing bakers for the future, the facility also makes room to honor the past. The Sottoriva Museum showcases the history of people and their commitment to the baking industry. The two rooms of the museum showcase a collection of machines manufactured by Sottoriva shortly after its founding in 1944. The machines are perfectly restored and functional. The museum also details the history of bakery technology and its mechanization through the years.
It’s a trip through time to see mixers from generations ago before working with the latest technology in the BTC.