Revamped Research Bakery unveiled in Crop Science Building

Professor Ross and Dr. TK address the Wheat Commission in the new research bakery


Five and a half years after the first cardboard cutout plans were passed on to CAS architect Joshua Hackenbruck to start calculating costings, the revamped, refurbished, and re-imagined OSU research bakery has been unveiled. At a recent tour, members and staff of the Oregon Wheat Commission (OWC) and Oregon Wheat Growers’ League were shown the capabilities of the new space by cereal science research leader, Prof. Andrew Ross and cereal science Senior Research Associate Dr. Teepakorn Kongraksawech. The OWC was a major financial contributor to the new space and the League worked behind the scenes to secure additional funding with the help of Sen. Bill Hansell of Athena OR. Other funds came from CAS Building Use Credits, the Fax Family Wheat Quality Endowment, and Bay State Milling.

Located in the basement of the Crops Building, the renewed facility now has a brand new walk-in coldroom to replace the previous one that had been there since 1980. Added to this was a new walk-in freezer that greatly increased our flexibility to archive samples for later testing. This can be especially important in maintaining either dormancy or amylase activity in samples sent to us by our USDA partners in Pullman WA for our pre-harvest sprouting project. The freezer is also used to temporarily store incoming grain to kill insects and their eggs. Most recently this was used to ensure grain hygiene in samples sent from our naked-barley Federal grant partners in Cornell NY, Davis CA, and Madison WI. The freezer is also handy for quickly chilling doughs when making laminated pastries: making pastries is a skill possessed by Dr. TK and one we will leverage into assessing another facet of functionality in varieties developed by the OSU wheat breeding program.

Most of the major equipment we already possessed, but we were limited in the old space to really one product type (either breads or cookies or cakes or noodles) on any given day. There were space constraints. E.g., we couldn’t have the noodle machine and the pastry sheeter in the bakery at the same time and there was simply insufficient bench space. We were also greatly constrained by having only one oven with a single chamber that couldn’t cope with both cookies (175°C/350°F) and breads (246°C/475°F) on the same day. In the new space we now have the space to run noodles, cookies, and breads in parallel. Other than the much-increased bench space, we procured a new $32,000 deck oven with four independent baking chambers. The oven was fully funded by the OWC and is a crucial part of our increased capabilities.

One part of the justification for the new space was to showcase Oregon grown grains. So far we have hosted the OSU Food and Fermentation Science Club for two workshops (cinnamon rolls and sourdough) to troubleshoot the logistics of having workshops in this space. We have done this looking forward to potentially creating Professional and Continuing Education classes around grains.

By Andrew Ross

Using cardboard cutouts to scale is a lot easier than moving the equipment and maybe even faster and more convenient than a CAD drawing

The new OWC funded deck oven (front left) and the 22 year old but fully operational convection oven to its right