Because many formulas call for only flour, water, salt, yeast and maybe some oil, most authentic flatbreads are naturally clean label. However, these flexible and chewy baked goods don’t contain the processing aids that other baked goods have, requiring adjustments in mixing, makeup and even the baking of these products.

“The trends in flatbread involve making them low-carb while still maintaining their great natural and bready flavor,” said Patrick Nagel, key account manager, WP Bakery Group USA. “Clean label requires the very gentle handling of the dough, starting from mixing through the entire processing process.”

Nick Magistrelli, vice-president of sales, Rademaker USA, added that the clean label and extensibility issue can be solved through advances in dough processing.

“Low-stress processing does not damage the dough, resulting in a product that is more relaxed and flexible to the end user for wrapping,” he explained. “Additionally, low-stress technology such as the Rademaker LSS or DSS sheeting systems produce a relaxed dough sheet, free from tension. This results in more consistent shape control and higher yields of products.”

Coen Nikkels, manager of marketing and business development for Rondo Industrial Solutions, pointed out that automating production of very thin flatbreads is a challenge regarding the product quality and authenticity. That’s because the process is so different from the traditional production methods that create artisanal, handcrafted breads like hand-formed pizza in the old days.

“Modifying existing production lines to run flatbread products requires a detailed analysis of the dough characteristics — not all doughs run on ‘old’ lines — and specific shapes and sizes,” Mr. Nikkels said. “This will normally lead to additional sheeting equipment in order to achieve the required thickness — often less than 1 millimeter — and other cutting and makeup tools to provide for the end product.”

He added that Rondo works with bakers to streamline changeovers and redesign existing equipment.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on flatbread technology, click here.