Sponsored by Rich Products Corporation
Faced with the challenges of labor shortages, inflation, and supply-chain constraints, noncommercial foodservice operators are seeking ways to streamline kitchen operations and save money. This is especially true for the K-12 segment, which is growing dramatically. According to the Food Research & Action Center, the participation rate for school breakfast and school lunch during the 2021-2022 school year was higher than pre-COVID rates. To feed this growing number of students, school dining operators are embracing solutions that make time-consuming tasks easier for their staff.
Instead of preparing everything from scratch, K-12 operators are increasingly relying on speed-scratch for some menu items. Speed-scratch calls for the elimination of one or more steps or ingredients, and substituting it with a pre-made product. The speed-scratch menu item has the delicious flavor and delightful presentation of its scratch version, but is easier for the kitchen staff to prepare. Kitchens routinely add these pre-made ingredients to fresh ingredients to simplify and streamline the preparation process. Some speed-scratch products—including staples such as pre-mixed sauces and dressings, or pre-cooked noodles, and pre-cut fruits and vegetables—have been around for a long time.
Baked goods such as parbaked and frozen breads have been a classic example of speed-scratch foods. Now the newest innovation offering even more labor efficiency comes from Rich Products’ No Proof Bread and Roll Dough portfolio. One of the most time-consuming and mistake-ridden steps in bread baking is the proofing–the process of waiting for the dough to complete its last rise before baking. While that might sound simple, proofing can be deceptively complex.
Proofing dough is not only time consuming, but the dough needs to proof in a proofer, special equipment that takes up floor space and adds one more expense to the kitchen budget. Timing is also important, as the kitchen needs the loaf or rolls to be properly proofed and ready to bake just before or during school breakfast or lunch service. As an understaffed kitchen focuses on other tasks, it might be difficult to repeatedly check on a loaf that may be over- or under-proofed.
Eliminate Preparation Steps
Rich’s No Proof Bread and Roll Dough eliminates these tricky and time-consuming steps. Simply thaw, score, and bake. These doughs can be in the cooler for anywhere from 18 to 36 hours, eliminating waste. When the bread is ready to bake, paint the tops with egg wash for a deeper color, and score with a knife or sprinkle with seeds, cheese, or seasoning. Bake in a rack, convection or deck oven.
“In an industry facing high turnover rates, anyone can do it,” says Amy Vinette, Senior Breakthrough Innovation Manager for Rich's. “'Thaw-score-bake' handling means someone can execute bread or rolls deliciously even if it’s their first day on the job. This decreases training needs, and allows for more skilled staff to focus where they are most needed.”
Take Out the Balancing Act
Vinette adds that proofing is a balancing act that comes with the pitfalls of overproofing or underproofing product. That leads to dough being thrown away, which creates food waste. Instead of training staff members on how to master that balance, that time can be reallocated to other food prep tasks.
In K-12 foodservice, bread plays an important, wholesome role in the midday meal. From sandwiches to hoagies, or as a roll on the side, breads and rolls are essential to many school lunches. Prepared bread, while a time-saver, doesn’t satisfy like freshly baked bread.
“Consumers overwhelmingly prefer freshly baked breads and rolls,” says Kim Mrowczynski, associate customer marketing manager, K-12, at Rich's. “Even with the relatively captive audience of K-12 students, the aroma of fresh baked bread is going to drive more interest and, we hope, more students enjoying a well-balanced meal.”
Unlike packaged bread products, Rich's No Proof Bread and Roll Dough delivers the versatility to shape, flatten or season for numerous menu solutions—from breakfast to lunch, snacking and dessert. “While unused packaged products may go to waste, No Proof Breads and Rolls have bake-on-demand flexibility,” Mrowczynski says. “Generally speaking, packaged products tend to have a higher price point than dough products as well.”
Rich’s No Proof Bread and Roll Dough is available in dinner roll, sandwich roll, bread, sub and hoagie formats, as well as both white and wheat. Rich’s is expanding its K-12 offerings with whole grain options, perfect for school menus. The first whole grain No Proof Dough will be a Mini Sub Roll, available for school year 2023-2024. To learn more, visit www.richsusa.com/no-proof-breads-rolls/