Perfecting artisan bread requires careful attention to detail, and the adoption of digital controls help automated and semi-automated bakeries monitor these details to improve product quality and consistency. 

Shawn Hasley, Zeppelin Systems USA, noted that controls can be implemented to monitor the fermentation process, including key parameters like time, pressure and temperature.

“This will ensure fairly consistent finished product if the dough is right,” he said. 

Jerry Murphy, vice president of sales, Gemini Bakery Equipment, added that managing these parameters and other key process steps can be an easy way for artisan bakers to see how effective their current production process is. 

“There are infrared thermometers, rack tracking systems, timers, etc., that are relatively inexpensive to aid in better understanding the baseline,” he explained.

And with the expanding Internet of Things (IoT), Ronald Falkenberg, regional sales director, USA and Canada, Diosna, noted that digital controls can be added to smartphones to allow bakers and suppliers to quickly monitor and adjust equipment.

With AMFConnect bakery data is available across ofperator stations in the facility and via remote smartphone access, allowing for real-time access and adjustments. 

AMF’s Bakery Intelligence portfolio of digital automated offerings allows bakers to improve consistency while reducing downtime, error, food waste and more, said Scott Walker, director of corporate engineering, AMF Bakery Systems. The company’s Sustainable Oven Service (SOS), for example, continuously monitors oven performance to help bakers improve efficiency while reducing artisan quality. 

“The SOS uses KPIs like occupancy rates, availability, baking conditions and eco-efficiency to establish key benchmarks and optimize oven performance,” he said. “SOS is a new feature for production, belt and continuous ovens.”

Additionally, AMF’s Next Generation AI Oven Controls can process real-time oven data through a digital twin oven, Mr. Walker said, simulating thousands of scenarios within the baker’s oven constraints. 

“The simulated settings provide the desired outcome and can automatically be applied to your oven,” he said. “The artificial intelligence control continuously adjusts your oven settings based on live data and simulations thereby providing you with a fully autonomous artisan baking oven.”

This article is an excerpt from the September 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Artisan Bread Processing, click here.