Equipment Snapshot: MECATHERM has launched the Authentik Baguette, a 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.

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: 

1. 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. 

2. 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. 

3. 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, says: “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.”