In 1961 the Chorleywood Bread Process was developed, and revolutionised the way bread was made and produced. Now used to produce 80% of the bread in the UK it made an important impact on the domestic population.
The Chorleywood process is able to use lower protein wheats to produce bread, this development has enabled more bread to be produced in the UK where our wheats don’t normally have a high protein content.
The process uses intensive high speed mixers to combine the flour, improvers, vegetable fat, yeast and water to make the dough. The whole process from flour to a ready loaf can be done in about 3 ½ hours. This is able to happen because introducing a number of high speed mixes the fermentation period quickens it up, making each loaf much faster. It is also important the solid fats are used, this is because its used to provide structure to the loaf during baking otherwise it would collapse.
This process can’t be done in a normal kitchen because of the equipment required. The dough then needs to be shaken violently for around 3 minutes, this requires a lot of energy and the heat given off helps the dough to rise. The air pressure in the mixer headspace is maintained at a partial vacuum to prevent the gas bubbles in the dough from getting too large and creating an unwanted “open” structure in the finished crumb.
Once finished the dough is sliced and left to ‘recover’ for about 8 minutes. After being placed in its tins it sits for about an hour, at this time it’s very important to regulate the humidity and temperature of its local environment. After the time is up the bread is baked for around 20 minutes at 400 degrees F and then moved to cool down. After about 2 hours it’s ready to be sliced, packaged and sent out.
Bread consumption has declined by half per person since 1960. If this were merely a consequence of affluence and the broadening of the national diet, there would be no problem. But for those who replace bread with foods high in saturated fats and refined sugars, the consequence may be seen in the ongoing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease. Nutritional advice is that cereals, especially whole grains, should be a key component of a balanced diet.
Source: Doves farm