When fresh met frozen

Croissants ready to prove blog

Whether you’re the person preparing the food or the person consuming it – or the person running the hospitality business that serves it – the shifting perceptions around fresh and frozen food are real. Perceptions are changing. And fast.

The changing image of fresh food and frozen food in the world of baking is being facilitated by the evolution and widespread industry adoption of par-baked and ready to prove bread products.

Offering an alternative to baking from scratch daily, this category of baked goods has essentially facilitated a merging of the virtues of both fresh and frozen food.

In par-baking, bread products are partially baked – typically for around 80 per cent of the full cooking time – then rapidly frozen for storage. The result is semi-cooked bread that is less susceptible to ageing and can be conveniently transported and stored until the time is right to complete the baking process and sell the product.

With par-baking, the microbiological and technological shelf-life of food products can be extended. Par-baked bread can be kept frozen at -18°C and when stored at that temperature can last up to nine months from its date of manufacture. It can also be refrigerated for up to four days without drying out.

Similarly, ready to prove products take part of the pain out of baking. Ready to prove bread products simply need to be proofed and baked on site, with the initial production phase already completed by the product supplier.

While par-baked and ready to prove products are essentially frozen food, because the baking process is completed on site they are still classified as being prepared in-house. As such, operators can rightfully promote these goods as being freshly baked in-house.

The commercial benefits of this are obvious and cannot be ignored.

The bottom line benefits of frozen foods

Baking, like any endeavor in which we create something new from scratch by bringing together a handful of individual materials, is an art form. Indeed, bakers are artists, and their craft and creativity lay in how they precisely unite the star players of flour and water while deftly sprinkling in some cameo appearances to enhance flavour and add character to their canvas. When done right, what comes out of the oven warm and smelling delicious cannot be described as anything but art.

However, not conducting the entire preparation and baking process on site by no means dilutes the integrity of this art form. And it is certainly no slight on the artist overseeing the baking process.

As is the case in any business, bakers and hospitality professionals need to consider the commercial realities of doing business. One of those commercial realities is that time equals money. As any baker would attest, producing large quantities of bread products from scratch on site is anything but a swift process.

Today, the food service industry is as challenging as ever and savvy operators need to be leveraging any competitive advantage they can get their flour-covered hands on. Legitimate production efficiencies and labour cost savings can be realised through the utilisation of par-baked and ready to prove products.

Using par-baked and frozen goods from a trusted supplier can help chefs, bakers and business owners to cut costs and boost profits. If you are not utilising these options, you can bet that your competitors are.

Quality you can control

By using par-baked and ready to prove products, businesses can attain the benefits of both fresh and frozen food. Let’s be clear here – par-baked and ready to prove products are technically labeled as “frozen food”, but they are “frozen” in name and technicality only.

Once they are prepared by a wholesale provider, par-baked and ready to prove products are packaged and stored in large-scale commercial freezers (offering temperatures to the tune of -35°C) that ensure they are kept fresh.

This highly scrutinised process means that these products, while frozen, maintain the virtues of fresh bread. And that is no mere marketing turn of phrase. Because par-baked and ready to prove breads are hand-finished on site, they can be presented to customers as freshly produced products that legitimately boast an individual, in-house touch.

A testament to this fact is that it is often hard for consumers to know that these products came into the store frozen. And that is certainly not a criticism of consumers, but more so an endorsement of the validity and freshness of par-baked and ready to prove products.

An added benefit of partnering with a frozen food supplier for par-baked and ready to prove products is the critical matter of quality control. Because these products are being created in a stringently monitored production environment, the emphasis is firmly around quality control.

Regular product checks throughout the production process, coupled with an adherence to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) certifications in the case of the leading suppliers, means that the product that ends up in customers’ hands is of the upmost quality.

Addressing food wastage

The issue of food wastage in the food service industry is now more concerning than ever. Industry publication foodService points to a recent RMIT University study that found that over 250,000 tonnes of food waste from restaurants and cafes ends up in landfill every year in Australia.

RMIT’s Watch My Waste research project also found that an alarming 40 per cent of food purchased for stock in Australia ends up in the bins of restaurants, cafes and other food service businesses.

Beyond the obvious downsides of businesses losing money by throwing away unsold products that have reached their expiry date, there is a broader, environmental concern at play here. This wanton wastage of food is putting immense pressure on our environment. There is simply too much waste produce being dumped, to the point where charity organisations are sometimes turning down this nearly expired food as the quantity is more than they can pass on.

One answer to this mounting concern is addressing the problem at the source with food service businesses increasing their use of frozen food products. This offers obvious but nonetheless apt benefits.

Frozen foods offer a longer shelf life, while also enabling food service businesses to stock a broader range of products with less fear of increasing wastage. This also allows businesses to better cater to the expanding tastes of consumers. Today’s consumer has developed a penchant for experimenting and expanding their palate – a desire that can be better fulfilled with frozen food products.

The line between fresh and frozen food is now blurred, and both consumers and food service businesses stand to benefit. Are you ready to embrace the change?

Celebrating 20 years in the business of baking in 2018, Bakers Maison has been creating par baked and fully baked breads using the same authentic French recipe since 1998. We are a specialist manufacturer of French style breads, pastries and sweets, and the superior quality and flexibility of our frozen products can turn any kitchen into a French bakery in minutes. Find out more.

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