Pizza production equipment looks to produce consistent dough, minimize waste and satisfy a range of customer needs.
Few foods in the United States are as widely embraced as pizza. According to recent data from Mintel, the retail pizza market–which includes frozen pizza; refrigerated/frozen kits, crusts and dough; and shelf-stable kits, pizza sauces, and crusts–reached $5.3 billion in total U.S. sales last year. Behind the scenes, equipment manufacturers are moving as fast as the operators to keep up with this growing market.
“If you look at what’s being offered in clubs and supermarkets, shelf space for pre-decorated frozen pizzas has only grown over the years,” says Jon Thompson, national sales director at Rheon, Irvine, Calif. “Part is ease of producing in the home and the other part is how much society has moved to being able to do things quicker.”
He adds that while speed is important, operators want to maintain the quality of the dough as it’s processed. “You don’t want to have dough that’s destroyed by the dividing or extrusion process. Operators are looking for as gentle a process as they can get without giving up flexibility, speed–those kinds of things.
“Our stress-free front-end feeders don’t use any hydrolic pressure to divide dough; it’s all gravity,” he adds. “This means it doesn’t degas dough or take away the effort that you already put into dough.”
Taming portion sizes
Amid rising ingredient costs and calls for healthier serving sizes, portion control is more important than ever before. John McIsaac, vice president of strategic business development at Reiser, Canton, Mass., says the company is always looking to improve the accuracy of its dividing equipment.
“In batch systems, we know the dough changes over the course of the batch,” McIsaac says. “We developed process check-weighers to react and keep portioning accuracy throughout the batch. We also applied our technology to cheese. We now can take blocks of cheese, form into shreds and dispense exact weight portions onto conveyed pizza crusts.”
For Thompson, operators are looking to equipment that minimizes trim or scrap dough to help cut costs. “We’re trying to minimize scrap with different options that can come on and off the table,” he says. “Anytime you dicut and need to pan product in a pattern in a controlled pitch, you are always going to have good amount of trim. There are ways to move cut pizzas around or take dough balls coming onto a line that are produced by our liners.”
The gluten-free craze continues
An estimated 3 million Americans are suffering from celiac disease, but their grain intolerance doesn’t dull the cravings for pizza from time to time. Indeed, there has been a surge in demand for gluten-free bakery items in recent years. As even trace amounts of wheat can trigger a reaction in celiacs, operators need equipment that’s easy to disassemble and clean, as most don’t have the space to accommodate a dedicated gluten-free facility.
“You need quick-release belts, more simple, easy-to-clean parts from the system that are much more easily accessible by maintenance when dealing with gluten-free dough,” Thompson says. “We’ve simplified some of those areas in our lines.”
Moreover, the product itself tends to be much more viscous than wheat flour doughs and doesn’t hold its shape as well, as McIsaac points out. “The doughs are generally very sticky and tough to handle,” he says. “We developed specific attachments to handle gluten-free products. Together with the Vemag, these attachments produce exact weight portions, accurately formed and placed.
Create Chunky, homestyle sauces
Hinds-Bock servo motor-driven pump fillers are ideal for depositing chunky sauces to create homestyle pizzas. Boasting faster speeds, a smaller footprint, better accuracy, lower compressed air consumption and faster clean-up, these versatile four-pump fillers also work well with desserts, sauces and gravies. The servo fillers are linked via ethernet to the plant’s control system.
877 292 5715
SPEED UP DOUGH PRODUCTION
Add versatility to your production line with the Vemag dough divider from Reiser. The Vemag adjusts easily to produce a wide spectrum of exact-weight portions, dough absorptions and crumb structures. The dough divider’s double-screw transport system handles dough gently and consistently, and production is fast, with the Vemag running pizza dough in single or double lanes at 200-plus exact-weight pieces per minute. For even greater production, Reiser’s high-speed servo-driven dough divider can produce eight lanes of product up to 300 times per minute.
781 821 1290
Rheon’s V4 line of stress-free dividers forms crust without damaging dough, leaving no need for dough recovery through an overhead proofer. Since no mechanical force is applied to the dough, natural and high-quality pizza crust can be created without chemical additives. The V4 can handle dough types ranging from stiff pizza dough all the way to flatbread with 85 percent hydration and 3 hours on the floor.
949 768 1900
Prevent crust bubbling
AM Manufacturing offers an automatic, tabletop pizza crust docker. The AM-DOCK-IT reduces costly manual labor by offering uniform docking for pizza crusts of all shapes and sizes. A 20-in.-wide belt surface allows for smooth transition between press and oven and is equipped with polyethylene stripping fingers to prevent product from sticking.
800 342 6744
FOR A RANGE OF PIZZA STYLES
FRITSCH’s IMPRESSA pizza production line is built to produce pizza in every imaginable iteration. Designed to handle a multiple-shift operation at capacities of up to 10,000 kg of flour per hour, it boasts a line speed of up to 25 meters per minute. A number of innovative features eliminate downtime: a sensor recognizes low flour levels and refills in batches; the line detects missing pizza bases and shuts off the appropriate dosing nozzles; and the line selects the appropriate cutting roller from a pre-stocked magazine when production switches to a new size or shape.
FRITSCH USA Inc.
973 857 7272
PRODUCE A TRUE RAISED CRUST
Produce pizza with flawless raised edges for either stuffed or unstuffed varieties by using Naegele’s innovative pizza folding machine. Unlike other equipment that presses or marks the dough in order to achieve a raised crust, Naegele’s machine uses silicone folding fingers to fold the pizza dough to form a double edge, leaving the rest of the base untouched. The machine tackles as many as 150 pizzas per minute in order to meet the demands of high-volume pizza producers. The unit is available with two, three or four production rows.
Naegele Inc. Bakery Systems
708 671 9322