Aston Foods Continua Vacuum-cooling-systemA technologically advanced vacuum cooling system that not only cuts energy costs, significantly reduces baking times and drastically reduces the amount of space required when compared with conventional cooling systems, but also significantly improves the eating quality of baked goods is now available to British and Irish plant bakers and food manufacturers.

The system, called Continua, is the result of 18 months intensive research and development work by the Swiss company Aston Foods. It is available in the UK and Ireland from Epsom-based European Process Plant, the leading supplier of top quality bakery equipment.

EPP managing director Keith Stalker explained that Aston Foods has made a quantum leap in vacuum cooling technology by improving the design of the vacuum pump. And the accurate control of the process cycle. ‘Aston Foods’ deep understanding of vacuum technology when applied to bakery products means that the unwarranted reputation vacuum cooling had for a number of years, for drying out product and removing flavour is now well and truly banished

He said: “Aston Foods has been selling vacuum coolers around the world for some time now but the technology was really only available to small and medium-sized bakeries. However with the new Continua system, plant and industrial bakeries can now take full advantage the technology offers with the first continuous version already installed on a tinned cake line in Turkey.”

Mr Stalker revealed that since joining forces with Aston Foods late last year, EPP has already secured orders for vacuum cooling systems from major cake, pie and quiche manufacturers. The clients are reportedly delighted with the vacuum cooler which they say will give them a major competitive edge over rivals.

The technology however can be used on numerous baked products including bread, cakes, morning goods, biscuits, cookies and crackers For example croissants taken straight from a rack oven, can be cooled from 100 deg C to 25 deg C in just 25 seconds.

Reports from from consumers also point to there being a substantial improvement in the eating quality of gluten free products that have been vacuum cooled.

Vacuum cooling makes use of the scientific law that the boiling point of water is lowered as air pressure decreases. This principle is applied to extract the energy required for this process in the form of heat from the product. As a result the product is cooled down and stabilised very quickly.

The process helps to maintain a better cell structure and therefore the the baked product is improved and shelf life lengthened.