Ultrabak proofing

Ultrasound bread proofing tech close to commercialisation

Several bakeries and institutes across the EU are testing a novel proofing system that can slash energy consumption and improve bread quality using ultrasound generated water droplets instead of steam.

The UltraBAK technology has been developed as part of a €2.2bn EU project NanoBAK2 – partly funded by the European Commission and kick-started in November 2013 by companies in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy. The project aims to upscale and commercialise technology initially developed as part of the earlier NanoBAK project for SME bakers.

UltraBAK generates water droplets using ultrasound technology to proof bread as opposed to traditional steaming techniques. The method can significantly reduce energy consumption – by 60% – compared to steaming and can also improve loaf quality, ensuring improved moisture and better fermentation.

UltraBAK ultrasonic humidification produces the finest aerosols – and there are numerous advantages linked to using finest aerosols: a high relative humidity level of up to 99% is achievable, the fermentation stage as well as the cooling stage could be optimised resulting in primary energy reduction due to the ultrasonic humidification.

The small droplet sizes leads to a faster mass and heat transfer in the baking good and therefore to a process time reduction. Further advantages by using the UltraBAK technology are the improved product quality as a result of the high relative humidity (no drying out and splitting of the crust and longer freshness and crispiness).

Contronics Engineering in the Netherlands is coordinating the three-year project set to come to an end in October.

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, project manager from the firm Eric Bakker said market-scale testing was now taking place.

“There are eight different prototypes and all the bakeries and institutes are baking with this technology now…We are measuring differences such as energy used and the quality of the bread, and at the end of September we will make a final report,” he said.

The ultrasonic humidity technology was being tested in retrofit and new built machines to measure performance in both instances.

“It’s very promising – it will be good results, I’m sure of that,” Bakker said.

The proofing technology will be commercially rolled out by the end of 2015, once final reports are completed on performance…..

BakeryandSnacks.com: Read the full report

More info about this technology can be found at www.nanobak2.eu