With Moderate Cold Comes Great Freedom

How to avoid night shifts and supply shortages – all while saving energy, too

“At Easter and Christmas, we used to have all of our people on board,” recalls master baker Erwin Schalk from Germany. “Nowadays, we send them off on holiday. All the stress is gone”. The reason behind Mr. Schalk’s deep sense of relaxation is a shiny, 5 x 13 metre object in his bakery that goes by the name of MIWE smartfresh. This specialised bakery refrigeration system has space for 70 rack trolleys – equivalent to a production volume of about 3 to 4 tonnes of bread.
Mr. Schalk's MIWE smartfresh system fits approximately 70 rack trolleys. About 3 to 4 tonnes of bread are stored here in an area measuring 5 m x 13 m.

“We were able to significantly reduce night shifts – and on Saturdays no bread is processed at all,” says Erwin Schalk, explaining the most obvious advantages of the system. This means that if you bake like this consistently, you can offer your production staff the daytime working hours they so desperately want as well as a 5-day week! In today’s world, that’s a huge advantage for many reasons.

Like almost all MIWE bakery refrigeration systems, MIWE smartfresh is built to customer specifications. That means that the dimensions and capacities (and therefore also your options) are highly flexible.
Here’s how it works: Master baker Schalk par-bakes his entire bread loaf range to a core temperature of 96 to 98 °C – preferably in one of his seven MIWE roll-in rack ovens. Then he lets the breads cool down to approx. 35 °C on the racks at room temperature before pushing them into the MIWE smartfresh. There, modern control technology maintains a constant climate of about 3 to 5 °C (here, it is 4 °C) with a relative humidity of about 95 % (here: 98 %). The products remain in this cool, humid storage unit until they are removed on demand. Because of the high humidity, not only do they not dry out, they even accumulate additional moisture over time, which is extremely beneficial when it comes to maintaining freshness. At Mr. Schalk’s bakery, storage times of a maximum of 4 or 5 days are the norm, but he has also tested a loaf after two weeks and it still tasted great.
For the final baking, the breads are then brought to a core temperature of approx. 55 °C. For 500 g breads, this takes 17 minutes and for 1,000 g breads, it’s about 22 to 23 minutes. The final bake for par-baked goods can be done in production, as baker Schalk does, but it can just as easily take place in the individual shops, where it can get done very quickly without any complicated tasks such as defrosting or proofing.

The flexibility to be able to react to peaks in demand over several days with virtually no delay is particularly beneficial for Mr. Schalk. In his particular case, having this flexibility is not only great for his four outlets with traditional delivery business, but also for a very particular group of customers: wine taverns, for which this region of Austria is famous. Although products of his bakery, such as bread by the metre (4 kg rolls), are extremely popular with the many wine taverns in the surrounding area, their very irregular opening hours and thus daily changing orders used to make it difficult for him to plan.

The entire range stays fresher for longer – thanks to bakery refrigeration

Along with the night shifts, this humid storage method has solved yet another problem for baker Schalk. In the past, baking started at 1 a.m. First, the wheat rolls had to be baked before the loaves of breads went into the oven. So at 10 a.m. when a worker sat down to eat his German “Kornweckerl” roll he had bought at 7 a.m., it had already been laying around for up to 9 hours. A scenario where even the best of rolls would flop.  Now, with the dramatically reduced (final) baking times, baker Schalk can first bake his breads in 20 minutes in the morning followed by the wheat rolls. This means that both products stay fresher for much longer.

“And what about hygiene?”, you may ask. Truly the best, according to Erwin Schalk. Because in the MIWE smartfresh, an evaporator, in combination with a specific blue light (with a wavelength clearly outside the harmful UV-C range) with a special arrangement, ensures a reliable environment in which mould growth is strongly inhibited and significantly delayed.

He has not had to do any cleaning with vinegars or put on any special clothing, he says, and there hasn’t been a single instance of mould in a year and a half since it was installed.

A special blue light, outside of the UV-C range, prevents mould from forming. This makes it easy to store products over a long period of time.
By the way: There is a simple reason why baker Schalk only processes his bread loaf range through the system. He determined himself in the test that his wheat buns would need different process parameters than his loaves: lower air humidity. White rolls would certainly benefit here but for that he would first need a second MIWE smartfresh unit.

How does MIWE smartfresh work?

Clear energy advantage compared to alternatives

The energy benefits of the process are obvious when compared to the classic method of freezing, which requires considerable amounts of energy not only for the freezer and storage technology, but also for transport logistics and storage in the outlet. MIWE smartfresh, on the other hand, does not require extreme temperature drops or, in fact, any complex freezing technology at all.
Master baker Erwin Schalk is quite obviously very happy with MIWE smartfresh. Fresher goods, more flexible processes, reduced staff workload – not to mention the energy savings.
Master baker Schalk took a very close look before agreeing to the new procedure. Something that we strongly encourage. He put all the components, including a variety of different oven systems, through their paces with his own raw materials at the MIWE live baking center (LBC) in Arnstein. And on top of that, he commissioned two independent refrigeration specialists to compare the MIWE system with a competitor’s system in terms of technology, applying all the tricks of the trade.

After thorough testing, they both clearly came to the conclusion that MIWE smartfresh was the better system, says Schalk.

That’s exactly how he sees it today.

Curious to know more? Here is where you find more detailed information and technical data. Feel free to contact us and make an appointment for your individual live presentation. 

Technology for central production

From production ovens with loading and transport to bakery refrigeration technology and energy efficiency systems. On our website you will find an overview of our solutions for your bakery and, of course, all the details about our technology for your bakery.

Talk to our experts

In the mood for change? Are you in the middle of making plans for your production facility, large or small? Then let’s get talking! No matter where you are at the moment or where you want to go – our planning experts will be happy to guide you along the way. We look forward to hearing from you! 


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