There is a large baking factory in our town that makes bread, rolls and buns for stores as far east as Buffalo and all the way west to the Indiana line. It was started in the early 1900s by a mom and dad in their home kitchen. There are rooms at the local University named after the family and the company is still owned and operated by family today. We had a chance to go on an amazing tour of the factory with our local homeschool group this morning.
They were very strict about no pictures in the factory, but basically we were able to follow a loaf of bread from the bags of flour to the proofing sponge all the way to where finished, bagged bread would be loaded on a delivery truck. It was pretty amazing. The kids could also see a lot of the automation equipment similar to what their dad designs. He does mostly automotive applications which also use robots (no robots in the bread factory) but the processes are much the same, with lots of conveyors and lots of things moving. They couldn’t believe how fast the loaves moved around. We stood right next to the giant mixers, felt the heat of the big oven, saw the loaves cooling on a moving conveyor, saw how they were de-panned with a puff of air, and watched the bagger put each one lickety-split into a plastic bag and zipped on the twist-tie. It was amazing.
At the end, we got to take home a loaf of bread that was baked that very morning. What a really cool and informative tour!