Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, N.Y., says it has developed the industry’s first line of fresh bread that can be taken directly from the freezer and baked in the oven – eliminating the time-consuming preparing and “proofing” process otherwise necessary to make freshly baked bread.
Developed over five years, Rich’s says its proprietary new Fresh ‘n Ready classic sandwich breads are able to fully rise and bake directly in the oven. The first product in Rich’s new line is a 4-inch-by-4-inch sandwich carrier roll with artisan-style features in five varieties: multi-grain, Italian herb, Italian peppercorn, wheat, and white.

“This is breakthrough product that’s certain to have a huge impact on the foodservice industry,” says Gary Duszynski, Rich’s marketing director. “For a customer to be able to serve and market ‘fresh baked’ bread is a big advantage, and it’s amazing that we can now offer a product with all the benefits and none of the traditional barriers. We’re thrilled to have figured out a way to meet our customer’s needs like this.”

Rich’s research shows that about 95 percent of the problems foodservice establishments encounter when baking fresh bread are caused by employee errors in the proofing stage. By eliminating this step, Rich’s “Fresh ‘n Ready” line takes the guesswork out of baking.

Duszynski says “Freezer-to-oven bread” costs the same as “par-baked” bread but tastes “significantly better.” Par-baked bread is partially baked at the manufacturer’s plant and then frozen. Foodservice personnel remove it from their freezers, warm it, and serve. It is not considered “fresh-baked,” and it cannot be advertised as such. 

Because Rich's “freezer-to-oven” bread is ready to bake, it also has significant advantages over “proof-and-bake” bread, which must be proofed (the stage that allows for the bread to rise) and thawed for several minutes at the foodservice establishment prior to baking. Rich's baking innovation eliminates this time-consuming, error-prone step.

Food service personnel simply remove Rich’s new freezer-to-oven products from their freezers, pan them onto a baking tray, and place them in an oven. In 25 minutes or less, the tasty, fresh-baked bread is ready to serve.

Rich’s R&D staff developed the new product line with the assistance of an international team of experts drawn from a variety of scientific disciplines. Patents are pending on the dough recipe and the manufacturing technology.
“Research shows that consumers value the aroma and taste of fresh-baked breads, especially breads with bold flavors and European-like features, such as artisan crusts,” says Duszynski.

“In addition, when we first started this project, we did a great job anticipating future trends. We saw the growing consumer interest in nutritious and healthy eating, and knew that a warm bread option would enable our customers to offer terrific sandwiches to consumers seeking healthier alternatives. Convenience store foodservice and businesses of all of sizes are now tweaking their menus to add healthier choices and our products are available just in time to help them make this transition.”