Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Do you want to know how your bread is made?

Did you know that Amoroso's bakes 250,000 rolls a day in West Philly? I found this incredible description of their operation; although I don't know when this article was written. It could be old.

It boggles my mind to think about.

And then there is Amoroso’s, which has done much more than survive. It was the first Philly bakery to make a passably authentic Italian roll on an industrial scale, and then figure out how to sell it on an industrial scale. Its bread still commands the same fierce loyalty as a beloved neighborhood baker’s despite being pumped out at a rate of a quarter million rolls a night at Amoroso’s massive brick-and-concrete West Philly plant. The flour arrives by railcar and is poured by the ton into sealed silos, then passes through the labyrinthine building on long steel belts that give the bread — “the product,” as everyone calls it — a brisk 15-­minute bake in one of five 100-foot natural gas ovens, and carry it straight to the packing floor. There, the rolls are counted, bagged, and loaded onto 90 white Amoroso’s trucks, or “mobile billboards,” as marketing director Charley Mallowe calls them, kept spotless through twice-weekly power washings. From there, rolls arrive fresh on the morning they were baked, at supermarkets, cafeterias, pizzerias and stadium concessionaires all over the Delaware Valley. Once the dough rises, the rest of the process, including the truck-­loading, can be accomplished in less than an hour without the bread once making contact with a human hand.

Read the whole article at

1 comment:

Ms. Jones said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Philadelphia magazine, but I do try to read most issues. This one is from Fall 2006 (let me check--yep, October 2006), and I also shuddered over that "no contact with human hands" line. I grew up being fed Amoroso and its competitors and hated it until I turned 14 and started using my allowance for the quality foods. (My mom was confused, but happy about having to shop, schlep, and cook less food.) And becoming a manager at Metropolitan Bakery gave my bread lust a real kick in the arse.