Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 81

Using steam to achieve
sweet success

Automatic controls and exhaust vents moderate the amount of relative humidity throughout the oven.
Middleby Bakery

said it's critical to have an interactive balance between temperature,
steam, resting time and air circulation within the oven.
Using a water meter is preferred by many bakers because it controls the amount of steam in the baking chamber. For artisan bread,
she suggested adding steam prior to the oven load. Afterward, the
baker can select from three modes. The first requires steaming at the
start of the baking process. Another option involves providing 80%
at the beginning and 20% at the end of the first baking step. Yet another mode provides a pulsating stream of steam.
"Pre-steaming is preferred for artisan products, and pulsating
steam is very useful for cold and frozen products," Ms. Kennedy said.
Mr. Rinks noted the amount of humidity cannot be controlled by
zone in continuous ovens; however, varying the exhaust speed can
retain or remove available moisture in the baking chamber.
Typically, Mr. Kauffman said, automatic humidity control adjusts
the exhaust damper to maintain the same moisture throughout a
continuous oven. The system tracks product flow and only adjusts
when the oven is full. Baking chamber air, he added, is recirculated
to maintain consistent humidity throughout the oven while adjustable speed fans maintain constant humidity in each zone.
For bakers, controlling the amount of moisture is as critical as
time and temperature when it comes to producing a wide variety of
breads and rolls. If conditions inside the baking chamber get out of
whack, blowing off a little steam will create the proper balance, and
that makes everyone in the bakery feel good in the long run.

*

Introducing steam when baking snack cakes
creates a tighter crumb structure, higher
moisture retention, better surface sheen and
improved volumetric symmetry, noted Scott
McCally, president, Auto-Bake, a Middleby
Bakery company.
For pastries, applying low-pressure,
saturated steam at the beginning of
the bake, usually less than 30 seconds,
develops a dry, flaky crust and improves
caramelization of the sugars at the surface.
That, in turn, creates an even color and
improved sheen over products baked
without steam.
"Auto-Bake can harness the power of its
remarkable convection system to deliver
even low-pressure, saturated steam to the
product in precise volume, frequency and
duration to produce an endless variety of
cake and pastry products," Mr. McCally said.
"With proportional zonal control, each step of
the baking process is precisely programmed
to deliver the proper combination of wet
steam and dry heat injection based on a
unique product recipe."
Davide Deppieri, master baker, Tecnopool,
pointed out fats, sugars, eggs and leavening
play important roles in pastries, croissants
and other treats.
"The relative humidity is fundamental
for the development of the layers, and
we suggest thermal oil for the perfect
development of the product," Mr. Deppieri
said. "The final moisture depends mainly on
how the product is packaged and stored."
Jerry Barnes, vice president, Babbco, noted
steam can prevent product surface cracking
or blowouts, especially when using high
heat-transfer rates.
"In terms of product quality and moisture
content, we do find time-and-again that the
faster bake of an air impingement oven can
often achieve these attributes without use of
steam," he said.
Kevin Knott, technical sales manager,
B├╝hler Group, observed that producers
of high-protein and nutrition bars need to
control their unique baking profile, which
includes the amount of humidity during the
different phases of baking.
"But, as in most cases, the first phase is
typically the most critical stage in the baking
process," Mr. Knott said.



Baking & Snack - June 2020

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