Exclusive: Mixing Innovations Improve Upon Tradition

The taste remains one of the most important criteria when buying baked goods, but sometimes what really defines the items is the texture, obtained through gluten development which begins during mixing. We are looking into new technology for a process as old as breadmaking: mixing.

From a baker’s perspective, gluten development begins during mixing and the basic point of mixing is to hydrate flour. However, developing the gluten network can be made with minimal mixing, but the process is essential because it speeds up the hydration and ensures that water is evenly dispersed throughout the flour. Hydration helps proteins in the wheat – glutenin and gliadin – to bind, a network that offers the proper texture to baked goods.

Depending on the required product, the type of kneading tool will act more or less on different aspects of the mixing: shear, extension, compression, aeration, and energy transfer, Claire Auffrédou, marketing & communication, VMI, explained for us. The mechanisms involved will have an impact on the texture of the final dough, its stickiness, elasticity, firmness, and extensibility.

The main challenge is the formation of the gluten network as fast as possible while preserving the quality. “For traditional products with a hydration level of around 60%, two speeds can be enough and VMI offers an entry-level industrial mixer with a removable bowl, the SPI AV Access, to manage this type of product, as well as different tools to allow diversifying its production (cookies, cakes, croissants). VMI also offers machines with speed variation, fully programmable by its operators who wish to have the most specific and personalized recipe possible,” the expert added. Varying speeds also makes it possible to have more specific dedicated phases, for example for the integration of the ingredients, the fermentation or even the emptying of the tank.

To select the correct mixer, the manufacturer needs to take into account the recipe, formulation and the process required for the desired results. Escher Mixers specializes in the production of mixing machinery for the bread and pastry-making sectors. I spoke with Brian Inglis, area sales manager, UK. There are several key processes used in mixing technology, the specialist explained.

– Beaters and whisks are used mainly in planetary mixing for batters and creams.

– Hooks, spirals and roller bars are used in the development of gluten for bread doughs, etc.

– “Z” arm and double “Z” arm for high shear mixing and short doughs.

He explained, “At Escher Mixers our success is due to our double tool ‘W’ mixer which ensures the imparted energy translates to gluten development. We also see lower finished dough temperatures than with other systems, while it also gives the possibility to increase hydration of the dough,” Inglis said.

Universal Mixing Tool 

Baker Perking explains why it combines mixing and kneading: separate processes are inefficient – they consume extra space and equipment. The Tweedy™ mixing system always uses the same mixing tool, benefiting from a designed especially optimized for dough mixing and development at high speed, regardless of the type of dough. “Different dough types are achieved through changing the recipe and process parameters such as the mixing time, so it is not necessary to change the tool,” explains Keith Graham, marketing manager at Baker Perkins. Baker Perkins’ Tweedy mixing systems are fully automated, from recipe and schedule management to discharge of the dough into the divider.

You can read more in our print magazine European Baker & Biscuit (Sept/Oct 2019)

and additional information in our digital magazine World Bakers Digital:

Tablet version: https://indd.adobe.com/view/d4d99ac6-c4b1-44f8-bf94-24b5621e5545

Mobile version: https://indd.adobe.com/view/bab0f02a-6e5b-4913-b55b-65d76f804dd8

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