Pascal Bossard, president and industrial director of Galaxy Desserts, believes that innovation is much more than rolling out new products. 

“It could be new packaging or new technology,” he said. “Every one of those is about innovation.”

To encourage better multifunctional collaboration and speed to market the Richmond-Calif-based bakery has been recently reorganized. In the past, marketing and sales worked across the street in a separate building.

Today, Mr. Bossard said, about 40 corporate personnel are together in an expanded open-office area where sales, marketing, financing, R&D, operations and engineering work together on project innovation for a specific family of products, such as brioche or macarons.

Globally, he added, Brioche Pasquier — the French parent company of Galaxy Desserts — has about 4,000 employees, of which 200 have technical expertise in packaging, ingredients and equipment. Tapping into these resources is critical to driving the business forward.

“Selling is producing, and producing is selling,” Mr. Bossard said. “At the end, it’s all designed to satisfy the consumer.”

About 100 employees work on two shifts, six to seven days a week at the bakery, which houses three production lines and has 25,000 square feet allocated to production, 10,000 square feet to packaging, 50,000 for warehousing and 15,000 for offices and support departments. The operation is SQF- and kosher-certified.

Currently, most dry ingredients come in 50-lb bags and then pre-scaled in a separate room, although the bakery is exploring the automation of bulk flour ingredient handling systems, noted Guillaume Perruchet, R&D manager. The bakery’s workhorse is the main pastry line, which is operating at 90% capacity and turns out an array of butter, chocolate, mini, custard and assorted Danish and other treats at several thousand pieces an hour.

In the 50˚F temperature-controlled makeup room, a VMI carousel mixing system with four bowls continuously feeds the production line with 500-lb batches of dough. The four bowls also allow the bakery to add in different ingredients in various stages of the process, starting with dry ingredients followed by wet ingredients before mixing and a final resting stage.

A Maja flaked ice system ensures the dough remains cool enough during the mixing and extensive 2-hour makeup process.

Mr. Perruchet said the production line was built by Brioche Pasquier’s international engineering group, often tailoring equipment from various suppliers into this one-of-a-kind design that requires only five operators in the mixing and makeup area. It features the latest in PLC controls for lot tracking, traceability, formula monitoring, adjusting for production and even issuing preventive maintenance work orders.

A bowl lift automatically carries the dough to the extruder’s hopper. After a first multi-roller reduction station forms the sheet, a fat pump applies butter from tempered 50-lb blocks before the sheet is folded over.

While folding by a lapper, the sheet takes a 90-degree turn, past a second reduction station to cut-sheet lamination where the process takes another right turn. The sheet travels up a conveyor and zigzags down for a 25-minute rest before receiving flour dusting and further multi-roller reduction and then entering a series of sugar/spice applicators, cutters, formers and filling stations.

Mr. Perruchet noted the bakery typically creates only one product variety daily to maximize capacity and reduce changeovers. All allergens such as almond croissants are typically made at the end of the week. In addition to thorough sanitation during the week, the plant does deep cleaning and maintenance on Sundays.

During Baking & Snack’s visit, the bakery was making a cinnamon and sugar Danish. After an operator manually folds the flavored sheet in half, circular cutters and guillotines create 12-inch strips that eight operators deftly stretch, twist and then hand-form to create the pastry’s distinctive round shape. After traveling through a BOC carbon dioxide spiral freezer set at -30˚F for up to 25 minutes, the frozen products tumble out of the opposite side into plastic-lined cases for bulk packing.

This separate room is the center of action for retail, in-store bakery and foodservice packaging.

In addition to Loma metal detection, Arpac systems provide retail cartoning of frozen croissants and shrink wrapping of party trays and other in-store packaging for additional pastries and desserts. Here, employees also add final touches to some desserts such as adding a dollop of cream to lemon tarts to give them their signature look prior to final packaging.

A third room houses six Sveba Dahlen rack ovens supplied by Gemini Bakery Equipment. Here the bakery creates everything from pastry shells, sponge cakes and other baked components for its classic desserts.

A fourth area houses two Unifiller depositors for making multi-layered mousse desserts and individual desserts served in plastic shot glasses. The bakery uses a Tonelli vertical mixer and Hobart mixers to produce the various creams and mousse layers for its line of signature desserts.

Mr. Perruchet noted the bakery employs a Thermaline tubular heat exchanger for chilling its mousse to the desired temperature, texture and consistency. The bakery, which makes all of its fillings, icings and creams from scratch, also houses a Savage chocolate melter and tempering system.

An Airco cryogenic carbon-dioxide tunnel freezer is used for blast-freezing desserts before they’re packaged, casepacked, palletized and stored in its warehouse freezer or at an offsite cold storage facility.

Finally, a fifth room is basically a retail bakery in a wholesale operation, with four Rondo reversible sheeters and a small Koenig divider and makeup system for making sticky buns and other specialty baked goods.

With such a combination of automation and versatility, Galaxy Desserts and Brioche Pasquier are looking for additional ways to satisfy US consumers’ curiosity and adventuresome tastes for a greater variety of fine desserts and French baked goods.

Part of Galaxy Desserts’ strength, Mr. Bossard added, is its partnership with pastry chefs and others who are on the cutting edge of culinary trends.

“Look at the brioche burger buns,” he pointed out. “They started in the high-end restaurants where a lot of trends start. Now you find them in every retail store. You have to look at a trend like that to find opportunities.”

For Galaxy Desserts, being true to its French roots is the key to taking savoir faire and making affordable fine pastries and desserts everywhere.

This article is an excerpt from the November 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Galaxy Desserts, click here.