Established in 1919 as a state-of-the-art research and technology center for commercial baking, AIB International (AIB) has expanded and evolved over time to meet the demands of the modern baking industry. AIB's philosophy is rooted in the belief that improved product quality and sanitation, as well as greater economies of scale, are dependent on the application of science to baking.
AIB's baking curriculum is based on this fundamental operating principle, which synthesizes science and baking tradition to create leaders in the industrial baking industry. The 16-week professional training program is world-renowned and taught by instructors with applied baking experience. Each lesson combines baking science, technology and food safety best practices to equip students with the skills needed to innovate, develop new products and troubleshoot production problems.
Precision Weighing Improves Product Quality and Profitability
According to Jeff Zeak, Baking Professional for AIB, accurate weighing is one of the scientific principles that are fundamental to AIB's operations. "The art of baking involves a certain level of estimation and personal judgment, but the science of baking requires consistent measurement to ensure product quality and profitability," said Zeak. "There isn't a day that goes by that we don't use a scale for our baking training and research projects."
The process of measuring out each ingredient by weight is critical to the outcome of the finished product. Changes in a dough formula can cause ingredient and processing problems resulting in differences in the quality of the finished baked product. This can create costly time delays, which are particularly detrimental in commercial baking environments where goods are produced in bulk quantities. Inaccuracies can also lead to ingredient waste, which affects a company's bottom line. Using exact concentrations of ingredients is also critical for accurate package labeling.
In addition to weighing each ingredient, AIB researchers and instructors must use precision when dividing and scaling dough and batter. Scaling too much or too little dough or batter will change the amount of time the product needs to bake, which can affect taste and shelf life. Accuracy of the amount of the dough used to bake a loaf of bread is critical to ensure the weight of the baked loaf is equivalent to the label.
International Baking Contest Reinforces Science of Baking
Each year, AIB puts its precision weighing techniques to the test by hosting America's Best Raisin Bread Contest. Sponsored by The California Raisin Advisory Board (CRMB), the live bakeoff features finalists competing to create the most exquisite raisin bread/product. One winner from three categories - artisan, commercial and breakfast - are chosen, in addition to one student winner in each category.
Typically held in the AIB baking labs located in Manhattan, Kansas, the 2013 contest took place at the International Baking and Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas. Moving the competition to Las Vegas required CRMB and the AIB to assemble a fully-functioning bakery on the tradeshow floor. AIB received a donation of Valor 7000 scales from OHAUS Corporation to outfit the temporary bakery with precision weighing equipment.
"The America's Best Raisin Bread Contest is a great opportunity to reinforce the emphasis on baking science that we teach at AIB," said Zeak. "The finalists are under pressure to create a quality product in a limited time in front of an audience. Precision ingredient measurement ensures the bakers can create the baked good that got them to the finals without errors or delays."
Designed specifically to meet the needs of bakers, the scales provided the contestants with the accurate results they needed for their formulas. After the completion of America's Best Raisin Bread Contest, the scales were provided to AIB to support the organization's mission of delivering high value technical and educational programs based in baking science.
The Valor 7000 scales met all of the criteria required by AIB when evaluating weighing equipment. To Zeak, the most important feature provided by a scale is a high capacity and readability for accuracy in a range of applications. The scales are used daily and in a demanding teaching environment, so AIB requires a rugged, stainless steel construction to prolong the life of the scales. AIB also seeks features such as touchless sensors, which promote a hygienic workspace and reduce the chance of cross contamination, as well as an easy-to-clean weighing pan and housing.
Company Evolution Mirrors Technological Growth in Baking
For 95 years, AIB has been recognized internationally as a leader in research, technical services and education. Continuously growing and adapting new technologies, AIB has remained focused on its core philosophy - baking is a science. Through its curriculum and involvement in The American's Best Raisin Bread Contest, AIB instills the importance of accurate weighing on future leaders of the baking industry. As baking technology continues to evolve, AIB manages to refine its practices, while remaining true to the science that is the foundation of baking.
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