MECATHERM launches the Authentik Baguette. An ingenious solution that allows manufacturers to meet the new expectations of consumers looking for more authentic products, with a product positioned midway between the classic baguette and the artisan-style baguette. Thanks to the combination of a new recipe developed by MECATHEM and the associated industrial solutions, MECATHERM proposes a growth driver for its industrial customers who currently produce classic baguettes, a product whose demand is declining globally. After some adjustments to their production line, MECATHERM provides them with a solution to produce a quality product that stands out and offers a particularly interesting return on investment. In the medium term, the objective is for the Authentik Baguette to become a new benchmark on the market.
A place in the industrial baguette market to seize
For more than 50 years, MECATHERM has been a visionary player whose innovations are designed to enable its customers to meet the new challenges of industrial baking, adapting to market changes. As early as 1972 MECATHERM revolutionised the bakery industry with the launch of the raw frozen then parbaked baguette, which has become the standard product on the industrial baguette market. Today, MECATHERM is once again demonstrating its unparalleled ability to innovate with the launch of the Authentik Baguette.
Today, on the industrial baguette market, the so-called “classic” baguette and the “artisan-style” baguette coexist, each of the two products presenting advantages and disadvantages for the consumer and the distributor. The first is a parbaked baguette, with a short bite, which is affordable and requires a relatively long time to prepare at the point of sale. The second is a product of greater quality, with an extended shelf life and a thick crust that is more difficult to eat in a sandwich.
There is now a demand for a product that can meet the requirements of both consumers (a quality product, natural ingredients, and an affordable price) and distributors (simple to prepare and use for snacks, extended shelf life, and controlled quality). Based on this observation MECATHERM investigated a new recipe for industrial baguettes: a baguette combining the advantages of the classic baguette and the artisan-style baguette, suitable for industrial production, and allowing industrial bakeries to easily upgrade their production lines while maintaining a profitable business model.
The Authentik Baguette and the birth of a new industrial benchmark product
“Consumers are increasingly looking for quality products and natural recipes. This is a very marked market trend” says François Retailleau, Product manager for Lines solutions at MECATHERM. “That is why, in response to this request, our expert bakers worked on a recipe based on simple ingredients. The technical challenge was to make this more delicate type of dough on an industrial scale”.
From a specification that considered the industrial constraints, and after several adjustments, a new recipe was created.
The Authentik Baguette is a natural product made from basic ingredients: water, flour, salt, yeast and vitamin C. Its hydration rate, which is almost 5% to 10% higher than that of the classic baguette, makes it possible to produce a product that is fully baked in the factory before freezing. This has the major advantage of a warming time reduced to three minutes at the sales point, compared to a bake-off of 10 to 15 minutes for a classic parbaked baguette. Distributors can therefore be much more responsive when refilling their shelves, avoiding waste and offering products with a uniform bake and color, as they are produced entirely in the factory.
The Authentik Baguette is a gourmet product with a golden crust combining crispiness and melting crumb, while remaining easy to eat and suitable for sandwiches. With a more hydrated dough, the Authentik Baguette has a shelf life twice as long as a classic baguette.
For manufacturers, the Authentik Baguette has numerous advantages, starting with the cost price which, given the basic ingredients of the recipe, is lower than that of a classic baguette. On the other hand, the limited investment and time required to upgrade a classic production line to an Authentik Baguette production line ensures rapid time to market and an optimal return on investment. It is also a good way to upgrade existing production lines for products that are losing momentum and produce a finished product that is differentiating and has high added value.
What are the solutions required to upgrade an existing baguette production line?
In terms of the manufacturing process, unlike the classic baguette, the Baguette Authentik is made from a dough with a high hydration rate. Its production presents real industrial and technical challenges. “The major challenge is to work with a hydrated and rested dough, particularly when dividing it, while offering technical solutions compatible with the constraints of manufacturers and their existing installations,” says Christophe Mey, expert master baker and demonstration manager at MECATHERM. To address this, MECATHERM has designed equipment improvements that can be easily integrated into existing operational production lines.
Of all the stages of the Baguette Authentik manufacturing process, three of them require special attention and modifications to be made on a production line for classic baguettes: kneading, dividing, and baking:
- A kneading carousel to manage additional resting times
The Authentik Baguette is made from a rested dough made by first mixing water and flour and leaving it to rest for thirty minutes. This phase, called “autolysis”, has the advantage of incorporating more water into the dough than in a so-called “direct” dough, with no resting time. The remaining ingredients are then added and mixed before allowing another hour of resting time. This second stage has the advantage of increasing the shelf life of the finished product, while having a positive impact on its volume, texture, and taste. It also eliminates the need to add chemical improvers. To automatically manage the additional resting times, MECATHERM recommends the installation of a kneading carousel. This solution is tailored adapted to the production of the Authentik Baguette at high speed. MECATHERM can recommend partners for this stage of the manufacturing process.
- M-NS divider to process hydrated dough
Dividing step cuts the dough into pieces of equal weight. This operation is particularly sensitive when working with highly hydrated doughs such as those used for the Authentik Baguette. MECATHERM’s M-NS divider, known as “No-Stretch”, makes it possible to make dough pieces without tearing them and without stressing the dough, by handling it gently throughout the process. To make regular dough pieces, the M-NS constantly measures the evolution of the density of the dough and adjusts the cut of the piece of dough to the right volume and weight. The Authentik Baguette requires the high degree of precision provided by the M-NS divider. For manufacturers who currently produce a classic baguette, the existing volumetric divider will simply need to be replaced with an M-NS divider. This solution will make it possible to produce the Baguette Authentik and other ranges of baguettes on the same line.
- An additional vertical oven module to ensure a full bake
With the Authentik Baguette, MECATHERM wanted to develop a product that can be baked completely before freezing, unlike the “classic” industrial baguette which must remain parbaked in order to be frozen. The Authentik Baguette is baked in a vertical oven, offering very efficient heating by convection, i.e. flow of hot air. This, combined with the injection of steam at the start of the bake, gives the baguette a uniform color and shine. On an existing installation, manufacturers will be able to obtain a complete bake by extending the oven and so obtain the desired baking time. This time is around 18 to 20 minutes compared to 12 minutes for a classic parbaked baguette.
Olivier Sergent, President of MECATHERM “Industrial baking is changing. Consumer expectations are evolving towards more diversity but also higher quality products, made with more natural ingredients. As a French manufacturer and expert in the baguette market, we are proud to have taken up the challenge of the Authentik Baguette. We are convinced that this innovative solution will enable our customers to better meet new market expectations, without compromising their industrial performance, while integrating the new challenges related to sustainable development.”