Bread, cake and pastry products: the ideal candidates
Baked goods are ideal for packaging under a modified atmosphere. Here, this process is most beneficial for rolls of tortillas, pittas, naan bread, pre-baked loaves and other kinds of flatbread.
As the water activity is low (there is very little water available for use by micro-organisms), the main microbial concerns are aerobic moulds which need oxygen to grow. Bacteria are not generally a problem, as they require a large quantity of available water.
With this type of application, the modified atmosphere works to remove oxygen, replacing it with a high proportion of carbon (up to 100%). This is an extremely effective way to extend the product’s shelf life.
Some examples of baked goods
The integrity of the packaging materials is particularly important for baked goods, as any micro-leak can allow oxygen to enter. This will immediately allow mould to develop, and increase the water vapour exchange – thereby changing the product’s texture.
For products with a higher fat content (such as croissants), the fat can also turn rancid and change both colour and flavour.
The shelf life of a pre-baked dough product packed in a purely carbon dioxide atmosphere will be extended by five to twenty days at room temperature.
Some products’ shelf lives can go all the way up to six months if packed in an appropriate atmosphere, with correctly chosen packaging materials.
EMA packaging means that bakers don’t have to freeze their products, facilitating storage conditions and avoiding the stringent conditions required of a cold chain.
However, for certain products (glazes, for example), excessive carbon dioxide can affect the product’s appearance and acidity.
The problem here can be rectified by adding a certain quantity of nitrogen into the mix.
Which equipment is recommended to control packaging quality for baked food?
6 tests in 1: O2/CO2 gas analysis; micro-leak measurement system; creep test (A&B); packaging sealing resistance