New dough handling equipment improves bakery production by performing multiple functions at variable speeds. Learn how these machines increase profitability.
Dough handling is an expansive topic. Focusing on key equipment: mixers, depositors and make up; and on three products: cookies, cakes and pan breads, makes it more manageable.
Get more bread for your buck
As most bakers can attest, temperature is a major concern when mixing yeast dough. Both the mixing process and a rise in ambient temperature can increase dough temperature. This over-activates the yeast, causing tacky and hard to handle dough during the make up process.
AMF Bakery Systems, Richmond, Va., developed a solution with its Arctic Chilling package. “Every company offers a chilled bowl,” says Larry Gore, director of international sales and marketing. “Our Arctic Cooling package encompasses a full package. First, there is the bowl end cooling, so not only do you have the jacket that wraps around the mixer cooled, but you have the ends of the bowl cooled as well. Also, within the horizontal mixer, we chill the breaker bar, and we even chill the mixing agitator. All those things together help control dough temperature,” he adds.
The standard for bread dough mixers has been a two-speed motor. AMF now offers a single-speed motor with an electronically controlled inverter speed package, allowing variable speed adjustments to the agitator, rather than only high and low speeds. This provides a smooth ramp up and ramp down, saving electricity. “When you think about mixer motors in a large wholesale bakery being anywhere from 20 HP all the way up to 100 HP, conserving energy wherever you can is a great cost-saver,” Gore says.
Shaffer Manufacturing Corp., Lemont, Ill., offers the open frame SuperMixer, which provides the advantages of an open frame design and direct drive. Both of these innovations improve sanitation and reduce maintenance.
| Pro Bake’s Multidrop deposits and forms cookies, éclairs, cream puffs and sheet cakes. |
| Shaffer High Speed Sanitary Open Frame SuperMixer improves sanitation and decreases the need for maintenance. |
John Madia, vice president, sales Shaffer Manufacturing Corp., says some advantages to the mixers are no hidden areas for waste to collect and the direct drive eliminates chains or belts to drive the agitator. The motor and reducer are mounted to the frame and the agitator shaft, regardless of agitator type.
“This open frame design answers directly to the bakers concerns for sanitation and for minimal maintenance, reducing overall cost in operation for the baker,” he adds.
Moving dough from mixers to dividers is no small process. Bread and roll mixers often process between 2,000 to 3,200 pounds per batch, so regardless of the type of feeder, or chunker as they are often called, strength of the equipment is paramount. Sanitation and ease of use are of equal concern.
Answering its customers’ wish list, Matt Zielsdorf, the Peerless Group, Sidney, Ohio, says Peerless recently updated its rotary dough feeder ask.
“The system now has a round tubular frame, which allows enhanced strength and provides excellent water shedding. There are no areas where water can collect after washdown,” Zielsdorf says.
“The control panel opens and swings away for easy maintenance and sanitation. Rather than the standard flexible tubes, oilers are inside a stainless steel manifold that provides a precision burst of oil directly onto the cutter to keep dough from sticking. Again much cleaner, much easier for sanitation and maintenance. This saves time, adds durability and reduces cost of ownership for the baker,” he adds.
Dividing made easy
For a large bakery, make up often means dividing 2,000 lbs. of dough into 6-oz. buns or 16-oz. loaves. AMF’s Advanced Dough Divider (ADD) is a twin auger based divider that extrudes dough through a metering pump to a cut off. It offers scaling accuracy of about 1 percent compared to most dividers, which provide about 3 percent to 4 percent. Bakers must scale dividers on the plus side to ensure a product labeled as 1 lb. is at least 16 ozs., not 15 ozs. Selling underweight products is illegal. A few ounces over the label weight may not seem like much, but multiply those ounces by a year and thousands of loaves, and it amounts to a lot of lost profit.
To make scaling more accurate, AMF’s Advanced Dough Divide is now available in a twin metering pump version that increases dough quality and scaling capability simultaneously.
“On a two- or three-shift operation, you generally pay for the machine in one year or less; it saves so much product,” Gore says.
When it comes to cookie machines versatility is key. Because large-scale production lines are not efficient for “short runs,” new machines are filling that need for wholesale bakers. Empire Bakery Equipment, Hicksville, N.Y., offers the Eurodrop All-in-One variable-speed cookie depositor, which handles everything from fancy drop and wire-cut cookies to cakes and muffins.
“The Eurodrop allows smaller wholesalers to tap into a growing market without a great deal of additional labor, and with a very reasonable equipment budget,” says Stephan Wechsler, president of Empire.
“Many manufacturers offer either depositing equipment or wire-cut cookie machines, so a baker has to purchase two or more machines to address these areas. Now, they can do it with one machine,” Wechsler adds.
Many cookie depositors do not have variable speed rollers, which means if the dough is not made to certain specifications, it may not go through the machine properly. A machine with variable speed adjusts to dough consistency. However, Wechsler warns that variable speed creates complexity, so it also is important that the user interface be as intuitive as possible.
“You’ll find a lot of controls that are not intuitive, and people stand there scratching their heads trying to figure out how to set them up. If the dough is a little different today than it was yesterday, and you want to make one small temporary change, it should be easy to do on the fly. These are the kinds of things we focus on with our machines,” Wechsler says. “We don’t work from the point of view of an engineer designing a machine. We work from the viewpoint of the owner of the bakery who may not have the most skilled people or does not want to use the talent of his most skilled people for simply running a production machine. We make it easy.”
Empire also offers a line of ES Removable Bowl Mixers that easily produces the amount of dough needed for the Eurodrop machines. The bowls make dough removal and clean up easier and faster than traditional methods. Wechsler also says these bowl mixers are stronger and more durable than standard planetary mixers, which is important when producing stiff cookie doughs.
Pro Bake Inc., Twinsburg, Ohio, also offers unique systems. On the small scale, its Multidrop is very versatile for cookie depositing and can make almost any type of cookie, including spritz cookies, wire-cut cookies, cream puffs, éclairs and macaroons. The machine’s flexibility is primarily in the programming and the menu. Mechanically, operators simply change specific dyes and the coordinating nozzles, depending on product design and type.
“The big thing though, is our new Multidrop Twiny. It’s a co-extrusion machine,” says Jeff Salenger, sales promotion manager, Pro Bake Inc.
“The Twiny will process two different products at the same time. We can actually deposit a layer of cake on a pan and a layer of filling at the same time, and then the machine will go back and run a layer of cake on top of it. So, it creates three layers within 10 seconds. It can also process two-color cookie or cake products and filled products,” he adds.
Salenger notes that one customer was running a filled cake line using three machines and six operators. “It was all automated, so it was a good operation, but the baker installed a Twiny and now only needs two operators to produce six pans per minute of the same product. The dough processing was cut way back in time and labor, which means money to the baker,” he says.
Both the Multidrop and Multidrop Twiny are wholesale machines for the mid-size baker, but Salenger says either can be integrated with a SIGMA-style horizontal mixer. “The equipment still processes in the same way, but it’s going to be depositing directly onto a main automated band oven,” he says.
No matter the product, equipment innovation has to make a measurable, positive difference to the bakery. It’s not just in the bottom line of increasing profit margins, the flexibility and improved processing provided by new equipment allows bakers to produce a wider variety of products. It also must increase the quality of those products, which in turn create customer loyalty. That is what really adds to the bottom line.