Nothing goes to waste when you transform day-old bread into classic Ribollita (soup with bread cubes) or savory Strata bread pudding. Solveig Tofte, award-winning owner of Sun Street Breads, a bakery and café in Minneapolis, Minnesota, shared functional ideas for creating such breakfast and lunch dishes at an informative educational session during the recent International Artisan Bakery Expo (IABE) conference Aug. 17-19 in Las Vegas.

“Do you want crunchy bread cubes, or do you want chewy cubes,” she told the packed audience. “You’ve got options.”

The experienced baker instructed attendees how to go beyond croutons and crisps and embrace the time-honored tradition of using day-old bread, thereby increasing menu offerings to boot, Tofte explains. Among the dishes she created included Spring Vegetable Panzanella, Sweet Potato Strata with Goat Cheese, Avocado Toast with Spiced Chia Seeds, plus Ribollita.

Tofte is a founder of the Intergalactic Bakers Federation, a benevolent group celebrating the expertise and generosity of bakers everywhere and is a member of the Elite de la Boulangerie Internationale. She served on the board of directors for the Bread Bakers Guild of America for six years and competed at the 2008 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie as the bread baker and captain. She considers herself lucky to still be involved with the organization’s mission, promoting baking excellence and international camaraderie.

“Our mission here is concentrating flavors,” she told the IABE audience. “When using day-old bread, you have some decisions to make. Do you want toast, dried, cubes or fresh? When you are first starting out, get dialed into the measuring process. And remember when you’re judging a bread to use, a sourdough crumb is waxy – so it does not absorb as much water.”

Tofte recommends adding 10% olive oil to bread cubes. Working with vegetables is always a battle with water, she points out, because everything gets soggy.

As for seasoning, you can season before it goes into the mix, or season everything at the end, Your choice.

“Herbs are a good answer for this,” she says of making mushroom confit. “And I love champagne vinegar because it brings more to the party.”

Pizza products

The IABE is an annual event developed to bring the booming artisan bakery community and their suppliers together. Industry guests gained insights from more than 30 educational sessions and demonstrations. 

This event is designed for artisan bakers, offering fresh products sold through specialty retail bakeries, in-store bakeries, bakery cafés and other foodservice operations.

The event is held in conjunction with the International Pizza Expo, now in its 37th year.

On display at the show, Rich Products introduced Ready-To-Stretch Pizza Dough — authentic dough that’s proofed in Rich’s bakery and goes from your cooler to hand stretching to your oven. With Ready-To-Stretch, the power of premium pizza is in your hands.

Here is how it works:

  • Thaw pizza dough in cooler overnight, or up to 48 hours.
  • Right from the cooler, stretch to your signature shape in five minutes.
  • Top with ingredients to make unique.
  • Enjoy premium pizza from any oven.

As a leading supplier of frozen doughs, crusts and flatbreads, Rich’s offers the full spectrum of specialty, including gluten-free and plant-based products.

Other at the show featured a wide variety of products and services.

LloydPans has added a new pan to its lineup that showcases one of the most popular pizzas in the nation: the Chicago deep dish. Introducing the Chicago Deep Dish Pan, which is the perfect pan to help pizzerias and foodservice operations recreate the popular pizza that Chicago is known for. It’s so popular, in fact, that it’s branching out to the entire country.

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pans come in 1.5” and 2.25” depths, and both come in a variety of diameters.

Traci Rennaker, LloydPans’ president and CEO, says the deep dish pizza may be a Chicago institution, but it’s garnering more interest throughout the country, so the timing couldn’t be better to add it to the lineup. It’s already one of the most popular regional styles of pizza in the nation, and we’re excited to see its continued growth.”

Labor savers

Hobart is maintaining tradition this year at the International Pizza Expo, once again giving away a custom-designed Legacy® HL662 Pizza Mixer (valued at $20,000).

This year’s custom design pays homage to the speed and power of the Legacy HL662 Pizza Mixer — a maximum heavy-duty 60-quart machine designed to deliver consistency for demanding dough production. Hobart will unveil the one-of-a-kind mixer at booth #353 on the first day of the expo.

Hobart recently introduced its Legacy+® maximum heavy-duty mixers. Featuring the exclusive PLUS System — a powerful combination of three industry-leading technologies — the mixers provide as much as 30% more mixing capacity in the same-sized bowl, giving operators the power to do more.

The VFDadvantage variable frequency drive is the first of the three Hobart-exclusive technologies in the PLUS System. This technology delivers more power to the bowl to incorporate and develop ingredients, while also safeguarding the motor from overheating if the operator exceeds the rated capacity. It ensures convenient, efficient speed changes while the mixer is operating. There is no need to stop and restart the machine. VFDadvantage provides a soft-start function that gradually delivers power to the mixer as it increases speed to prevent ingredient splash-out and protect the motor. It also has an ultra-slow stir speed that allows ingredients to be mixed slowly and thoroughly. On the 80- and 140-quart mixers, VFDadvantage allows for the new FastStop feature — the ability to bring all moving parts to a complete stop in three seconds.

In addition to VFDadvantage, the PLUS System offers a maximum-capacity overheat protection. The Legacy+ mixers feature heavy-duty wiring and connections that can handle more power, resulting in higher production and reducing thermal cycling impact. The mixers also feature a reinforced planetary shaft system­­ that drives additional power to the bowl by way of an optimized shaft geometry and all-gear-driven transmission for high-capacity output.

Other equipment exhibitors showcased a wide variety of innovations. Reiser supplies a variety of Vemag bakery equipment for all types of applications and production requirements. The Vemag is an incredibly versatile machine that combines the highest levels of portioning accuracy, speed and product quality.

The Vemag is a single machine that incorporates many innovative attachments specifically designed for bakery applications. Each Vemag attachment is carefully designed to produce consistent, high-quality bakery products. Attachments can be easily swapped out in minutes so that you can produce a variety of different products.

The Vemag can be used as a dough divider to produce breads, rolls and buns and is easily adaptable to all ranges of dough absorptions and crumb structures.

The Vemag can be used as a depositor to accurately portion cookie dough, fillings and batters onto moving or stationary lines. It is ideal for any depositing task where placement and weight control is needed.

The Vemag can be used as a sheeter to extrude smooth, uniform sheets of batter and dough with consistent thickness and width. This system can also be used to precisely sheet margarine and fats onto a make-up line.

Exceptional alternatives

Master baker Ralf Tschenscher, baking business development manager at Lesaffre North America, points out “the trend across generations, from Baby Boomers to Millennials and Gen X, is toward exceptional alternatives that are wholesome, sustainable, and flavorful. We have witnessed this pattern for years on the bakery side, but lately, more and more in pastry and culinary applications.”

Through a proprietary process, Lesaffre uses specialized fermentation-based coatings to infuse Fleurage with one-of-a-kind flavors and aromas.

Fleurage Seeds is a mix of flax, oats, and millets that undergo a fermentation process which provides flavorful depth and satisfying mouthfeel. A drizzle of Fleurage Seeds adds visually enticing artisan authenticity and pleasing crunchiness to whole wheat, multigrain, and white breads, as well as many other applications. Fleurage Semolina is durum wheat semolina infused with fermentation-based coatings to impart cheesy umami characteristics and mild salty notes. It provides the functionality of semolina as a coating or dusting agent while building up the cheesiness and crunch of pizza crusts and traditional or vegan cheese breads.

Fleurage creates value for bakery manufacturers by enabling the development of new applications from existing formulations without having to alter dough recipes. In most cases, Fleurage can be directly applied after dough formation, either by hand or by systems already in place on production lines, such as those used to apply sesame and polenta. These efficiencies add to a brand’s capacity to grow its product portfolio with new flavors and unique textures while optimizing costs and minimizing downtime.