Choux pastry is an essential ‘building block’ since it can be used for a wide range of popular traditional bakery products. The choux pastry dough is the only dough that is cooked before baking, which is mainly made of water, butter, flour, eggs and other ingredient depending on the recipes. During the baking, the eggs help to form a thin crust surface, while the steam trapped in the dough expands and gives the pastries a puffed hollow shape.
Choux paste is mostly prepared in the traditional way and requires skilled personnel. Alternatively, SME bakers use powder mixes that require less skills and reduce only partially the preparation time. On the other hand, powder mixes contain a large number of preservatives.
As there are no systems currently available to provide adequate process control, the system is not automated and requires a high level of expertise and is time-consuming with a complex two stage preparation process. Also due to its inherent high moisture content, the shelf life of prepared pastry is very short (less than one day) and needs to be used as soon as possible after preparation. Batches are therefore time-consuming yet skilled in preparation and small, due to their need for immediate use in product. It is therefore very difficult for the SME bakers to produce such products cost effectively.
Project Details and Outcome
The innovative proposed technology development is based on protected IP; it involves incorporating the stages involved in traditional pastry manufacture into a novel integrated process, in one machine affordable to SME bakeries and that enable aseptic filling into pouches for extended shelf life storage. The machinery will contain automated process control and will be readily and easily cleanable.
The proposed research will develop a technical solution that will relieve some of the more mundane tasks associated with producing higher value baked goods and enable SME bakeries throughout Europe (190,000) increase their efficiency and be more competitive against the threats from industrial bakeries and supermarkets. The SME-AGs within this SME dominated sector and through their leading role in this project will enable the results from this proposed development to be brought to the benefit of a significant number of SME bakeries most effectively.
To achieve this, the following technical objectives have been met:
- Process control & automation. Rheological sensor system to detect, qualify and quantify the point of time for finishing the roasting process for automatic process control.
- Process automation, enabling non-manual contact with food material after controlled ingredient metering.
- Automatic CIP (clean in place) system, for rapid cleaning between batches.
- The development of an aseptic pastry manufacturing system, with a novel aseptic filling and packaging system to enable subsequent storage and distribution with microbiological integrity.
- Shelf life stability of choux pastry mixes (up to 1 month at 4°C).
- Organoleptic quality comparable to traditionally manufactured choux paste.
Together with its partners, the Fraunhofer IGB has proven in comprehensive joint trials that both the baking and sensory properties of the choux paste developed were equal to those of the freshly made traditional product even after a long storage period. A prototype of the production line is currently under construction.