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The BreadBot can form dough, proof it, bake bread and cool loaves — all without a human. (Wilkinson Baking Company Photo)

LAS VEGAS — As the big Consumer Electronics Show kicked off on Sunday, it was a Pacific Northwest company that turned heads with its prototype of the BreadBot, a robotic bread maker that starts with mix and ends with fresh loaves of bread.

The Wilkinson Baking Company traveled from its hometown of Walla Walla, Wash. to Las Vegas, where it showed off the BreadBot at CES Unveiled, a media expo where companies demo their goods before the big consumer tech conference officially opens this week.

The BreadBot is designed for grocery stores. Randall Wilkinson, president of the company, said a store employee can place bread mix into the BreadBot early in the morning, for example, and by the time customers arrive, loaves are ready for purchase. The BreadBot can form the dough, proof it, bake loaves and cool the bread — all without a human.

“That is unique to our product,” Wilkinson told GeekWire.

The device can make 10 loaves per hour and has a self-cleaning feature.

In Q2 of this year, Wilkinson Baking Company will place the product in its first partner store. Wilkinson declined to reveal the partner store names, but he said three of the top five grocery store companies in the U.S. have indicated that they will test out the BreadBot.

The Wilkinson Baking Company’s products are designed and assembled in Walla Walla, a small town in Eastern Washington known for its wineries and as home to Whitman College.

BreadBot was actually the idea of a Boeing engineer named Richard Carlson, who had been working on the product for years but passed away.

“He brought us the idea, and we picked it up,” Wilkinson said. “Still, his family is part of the company.”

Be sure to follow us on Twitter as we report from the ground in Las Vegas this week at CES.

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