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The practice of dusting dough pieces with flour in plant bakeries is surely one that must end soon. Plant bakers who have eliminated flour dusting are benefiting from improved performance, profit and hygiene while their traditionally-minded peers are still suffering dusty bakeries and higher costs.
With proven technology available to eradicate it, the continuing use of dusting flour seems to me a hangover from an earlier era of baking.
The ability to divide, round, mould and pan the stickiest dough pieces without dusting flour brings big cost savings by eliminating the cost of the dusting flour and the additional cleaning it necessitates, as well as the cost of buying and maintaining the flour dusting equipment. Sanitation standards are raised, labour costs reduced, and potential health and safety risks to employees eliminated.
I believe the time has come for bakers to challenge the concept that dough has to be dusted with flour. There are plenty of precedents around the world, suggesting that neither the product nor the climate is a barrier to adopting dust-free processing.
Technical solutions exist, they just have to be embraced. Typically, a combination of gentle dough handling and the strategic application of process air allows the dough to pass from the mixer to the pans without sticking. This technology has now been developed to the point where it successfully handles the stickiest dough.
With every new industrial process, there is a tipping point at which the benefits of new technology overwhelm any case for continuing with the old practices. Experience tells us that this point has been reached with flour dusting. While it is true that no industrial process disappears overnight when technology moves on, there is a strong case for believing that the days of flour dusting are numbered.
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