Mixing Is About Rigor and Replication

The main steps of the mixing process are the homogenization of ingredients, the formation of hydrated gluten protein–carbohydrate–fat complex structure in wheat dough, and occluding air into the mass to form the cell structure necessary for finished crumb quality.

Dough mixing is a very important stage in the breadmaking process. The extent of mixing has a critical impact on final bread quality. The mixing process promotes different physical, chemical, and physicochemical modifications that contribute to the dough development. Commercial production of bread dough must be carried out in a precise manner in order to produce bread of optimum quality. Classification, variety and growing conditions of wheat and the flour milled from that wheat impact on the amount of water needed for dough formation, the amount of time required for dough development, and the quantity of some ingredient additives required.

Market Diversity

Several major mixing equipment manufacturers shared with European Baker & Biscuit their expert point of view as to what type of mixers are suitable for which applications and what the most sought-after features in today’s market are.

Julia Kneidinger, marketing manager for Koenig says the company’s mixer portfolio features a spiral mixer, a twin twist mixer and a bowl hoist for supplying the lines with the mixed dough, all of them in different capacities.

“The interaction between speed and the direction of rotation of the mixing bowl can be precisely coordinated with all mixers and stored in the program in different languages, making the Koenig mixers universal. Mixing time, kneading time and, if necessary, kneading time with fruit can be set in the programs. In the same way, bakeries can also set when the mixing bowl should turn in the opposite direction. A sensor also provides information about the temperature of the dough,” Kneidinger explained. “Moreover, Koenig’s “DW” twin twist mixer has two tools with different profiles that are at an ideal working angle to one another. In this way they increase the transmission of mechanical energy and shorten the mixing time,” she added.

Claire Auffrédou, director of marketing & digital development for VMI, says their mixers have the particularity of being very versatile and modular. “VMI is the only manufacturer covering all kneading processes and capacities: batter mixing, continuous mixing, dough process with resting time and fermentation, craft mixers, automated mixing systems, horizontal mixers, vertical mixers.”

According to Auffrédou, VMI machines are very flexible in their ability to manage recipe parameters, whether it is a kneading machine for a craft baker or an automated mixing system for wholesale bakeries. The tool, the time of the different process phases – premixing, kneading, resting, fermentation, etc. – and the time for the different steps of the process are all controlled by the same system. “The speed of rotation, the shape of the tank, the temperature control – are some of the parameters that we can adjust with our customers on their equipment. To define the right parameters, we work and invest a lot in our research and testing center, the PDC, where we test our customers’ products, we develop mixing technologies and processes that meet our customers’ needs,” she describes.

Jim Warren, VP Exact Mixing, Reading Bakery Systems, says their company has continued to develop different mixer styles since 1993, and today they have five continuous mixing lines in their portfolio. “Within each line the mixers come in a variety of sizes. This allows us to make products requiring high shear, gentle mixing, low temperatures, high development, granular, low moisture, high moisture and most other dough conditions,” he reveals. According to Warren, capacity is one of the key requirements their customers look at. Beyond that, the most common demands are related to delivery time, cost, experience, local support, flexibility, footprint, and dough exit temperature.

You can read the rest of this article in the January/February Issue of European Baker & Biscuit magazine, which you can access by clicking here.

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