BreadBot has been in development for 10 years and is finally making its debut this week at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The machine is meant to help massive grocers offer consumers freshly baked bread without needing professional bakers on-hand.
The bot is expected to automate bread baking at large-scale stores, with Kroger and Walmart mentioned. Wilkinson Baking Company is behind BreadBot, which has been in prototype for 10 years.
BreadBot takes the breadmaking process to consumers by automating the entire process: mixing, kneading, rolling out and baking. The machine makes bread from start to finish in 90 minutes. Fresh bread is made all day long thanks to the machine’s sensors.
The company is still working on the machine’s ability to make sourdough bread. Sticky breads cannot be made in BreadBot, which includes raisin breads and cinnamon buns.
The Verge saw a prototype from the company that had the ability to make up to 50 loaves of bread per day. The machine has hoppers that can hold enough ingredients for 100 loaves of bread, indicating that the company may be working on a way to increase the rate of production.
BreadBot will drop ingredients out of the hopper every six minutes and start mixing it with water to make the next loaf of bread. A built-in personal computer sits at the base of the machine and processes all of the information sent from the sensors. The breadmaking breakthrough even senses the amount of water to ensure that proportions are precise.
The company’s press release claims BreadBot reduces the carbon footprint required when making bread traditionally. The machine also reduces the need for preservatives and will help companies reduce ingredient waste.
The unit is said to be able to produce up to 10 loaves of bread per hour.
BreadBot goes beyond the breadmaking process for users. The machine will also use big data and analytics to provide owners or leasers with insight into their consumers’ behaviors. Wilkinson envisions a breadmaking process that eliminates the need for bread to be transported on trucks.
The “bot” offers a selection of recipes with the machine, including recipes for whole wheat, nine grain, organic whole wheat, organic seeds and grains and home style wheat bread. The company’s focus on transparency is also reflected in the breadmaking process, allowing consumers to know how, when and where their bread was made.
BreadBot also makes the workload of employees easier thanks to the machine’s message system. The bread machine will call employees for help rather than make employees continually monitor the machine.
When the bread cabinet needs to be emptied or more mix needs to be added, the machine will dispatch a message to employees.
Auto cleaning does most of the work after the day’s breadmaking is complete, but employees will need to wipe down services. The company plans to lease out their machine to big stores. Plans to offer order-specific recipes are being worked on by the company, but there is no timeline on when this capability might be introduced.
Wilkinson is planning to share recipes among machines by getting the machines online in the future.