It could be the best thing since sliced bread.
A family-owned baking business is attempting to disrupt how you get your next loaf at the grocery store with the first, fully automated bread-making machine.
Called the BreadBot, Washington-based Wilkinson Baking Company took the wraps off the machine at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which mixes, kneads and bakes bread in just 90 minutes.
Up to 10 loaves are ready to pick up from a vending machine every hour and its creators say the BreadBot does as good of a job as a human baker – so good that the machines are expected to land in major grocery stores soon.
Called the BreadBot, Wilkinson Baking Company took the wraps off the device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It mixes, kneads and bakes bread in just 90 minutes
BreadBot can make just about any kind of loaf you want, including whole wheat, nine grain, honey oat and rye.
First, a dry mix is added to a funnel-shaped mechanism, called a hopper.
A variety of sensors determine that the yeast is just right, then water is added and the ingredients are mixed for about six minutes, before the dough ball is released onto a conveyer belt and rolled into a log.
The loaves are placed into individual pans, where they finish proofing and then proceed through the baking process.
When the baking process is complete, a robotic arm lifts the loaf out of the pan and into the vending machine where customers can take it.
The company says BreadBot is poised to shake up how we’re used to buying our fresh bread from the store.
BreadBot can make just about any kind of loaf you want, including whole wheat, nine grain, honey oat and rye. Its creators say the bot-made bread is fresher than the manmade stuff
Up to 10 loaves are ready to pick up from a vending machine every hour and its creators say the BreadBot does as good of a job as a human baker – so good it’ll roll out in grocery stores
‘It’s all automated. It can start up at 3:00am when no one is there and by the time you get there, you’ve got fresh bread,’ Randall Wilkinson, CEO of the Wilkinson Baking Company, told Dailymail.com.
‘This is the first time that you’ve been able to take the master baker and make everything happen automatically, so that it comes out with a good quality loaf on a continuing basis.’
While the bread comes from a machine, the company says the loaves end up being more fresh than the preservative-filled products usually found on grocery store shelves.
Wilkinson said human bread-makers, called master bakers, have expressed concern over machines like the BreadBot taking their job, but that they say the robo-bread tastes just like the manmade stuff.
BreadBot is just a prototype for now, but Wilkinson Baking Company is in the process of manufacturing a final version that will be tested as soon as April in some major grocery stores
WHAT IS THE ‘BREADBOT?’
BreadBot is a fully automated bread-making machine that can deliver up to 10 loaves in an hour.
The whole machine is encapsulated in a glass case, complete with a hopper, conveyer belt and heating mechanisms.
This is what mixes, kneads, proofs and bakes the bread in just 90 minutes.
After a loaf is baked, it’s sent to a vending machine-like display case where consumers can pick up their bread.
It can make a variety of types, including wheat, nine grain, honey oat and more.
Wilkinson Baking Company, the firm behind BreadBot, says the device could land in three out of the top five U.S. grocery chains for testing by this year.
BreadBot is just a prototype for now, but Wilkinson Baking Company is in the process of manufacturing a final version that will be tested as soon as April in three out of the five biggest grocery store chains in the U.S.
The machine was already tested in a few small grocery stores around the U.S. and Wilkinson said BreadBot was well-received.
In the stores where BreadBot was tested, he said approximately 37 percent of all bread sold there came from its machines.
BreadBot isn’t expected to venture into the world of cakes, but the company is looking into the possibility of releasing a ‘BunBot’ that makes hot dogs, baguettes and ‘Subway-style’ hoagie bread.
BreadBot isn’t expected to venture into the world of cakes, but the company is looking into the possibility of releasing a ‘BunBot’ that makes hot dogs, baguettes and ‘Subway-style’ hoagies
And while there are other robots taking over the kitchen, such as Flippy the robot fry cook, which is coming to some Walmart stores, Wilkinson says the BreadBot is more efficient than it’s competition.
‘[Flippy] is a good start, but the reality is, if we want to be robotic…we really need to reinvent it from the ground up,’ Wilkinson explained.
‘We could’ve designed a robot to knead the bread like a human, but that wouldn’t save time.’