Sheeting Systems Gain Momentum

Obtaining a sheet of dough that’s consistently within the desired characteristics can be challenging and is essential for a wide range of bakery and pastry products. Sheeting technology helps automate dough shaping into continuous sheets while having less impact on the gluten network.

Technology now allows for the automated production of sheets of dough, with the desired characteristics, consistently. Sheeters provide a wide range of textures by aligning or cross aligning the dough sheets. This can result in a variety of products from the same processing platform.

Fat is commonly used in between layers to support their separation while baking and can be either introduced prior to sheeting or as a continuous layer when forming the layers. Lamination is used to gain better textures in many different formulations where lift is an issue and formulation changes are difficult. According to experts, this is becoming especially true in more of the clean label products. Laminating is mostly used for crackers and puff doughs, but it benefits any hard dough. 

Reading Bakery Systems (RBS), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of snack production systems, has redesigned their Thomas L. Green Sheeting Line System to be a more streamlined and flexible system offering improved maintenance features and easier sanitation compared to previous designs. 

The redesigned sheeting line offers expanded production capabilities while being easier to operate and maintain to produce crackers, biscuits, and baked crisps. 

“The new sheeting line combines our latest intelligent and sustainable design approach, SafeShield sanitary protocols, and improved production flexibility. Our future-proofing strategy translates to maximizing production flexibility and operational efficiency,” said Cameron Johnston, Director of Engineering at RBS. 

The new sheeting system design increases tool-less access and decreases the number of components to improve maintenance and downtime efficiency. Unobstructed internal views into the machine allow operators to visually inspect, assess and plan downtime for line sanitation and maintenance.  

The machine utilizes precision servo motor control to accurately cut, stack and deliver sheeted dough to the downstream reduction and forming equipment. Dough sheets are conveyed to the discharge conveyor by the servo-driven layering carriage. This carriage deposits the sheets by extending them to the far edge of the laminator take-away conveyor. The carriage retracts while conveying, laying the sheets gently on top of the moving lamination stack.

Biscuit Sheeting

One of the most important requirements for biscuit producers, for example, is for the machine to be able to handle a wide variety of dough types at high capacities – hard dough for sweet and semi-sweet biscuits, soft dough for biscuits and cookies and short (tart) dough. 

It is also essential to extrude smooth, uniform sheets of dough with consistent thickness and width.

The diversity of products that are required by the demanding customers has created new challenges for manufacturers. 

Hard biscuits can be made using various recipes of different degrees of richness; these products are obtained from hard, tenacious and elastic dough (agglutinated) and are processed industrially by rolling and laminating. For this reason, these biscuits are technically known as laminated biscuits. The same forming machines may also be used for making crackers by adding various accessories. 

Shortbread biscuits are obtained from tender dough (fragile, not hard), using a rotary machine. Therefore, they are also technically known as rotary biscuits.

Bread Sheeting

Dedicated technology helps to sheet and laminate dough with challenging characteristics. Such a case results in delicious artisan-style bread. In addition to high moisture content, artisan breads often use specialty & clean-label ingredients, which add to the processing challenge. 

Doughs with high moisture content generally need more time and attention. According to Koenig Bakery Systems specialists, it is important to have consistent processes in order to have consistent quality with such doughs. Once a bakery has implemented these processes, the doughs can vary but the principles stay similar. This does not change if they use clean-label ingredients. If a bakery does artisan bread right, it generally uses clean-label ingredients, reduces yeast and meets other measures to make the bread as “clean” as possible.

Koenig supplies equipment for long-fermented doughs and doughs with high water content, e.g. Mediterranean white bread with more than 80% of water content and rye bread with up to 90% water content. For such doughs, Koenig recommends sheeting solutions like Koenig’s Menes-H dough sheeting line. Koenig constantly improves their equipment as to process the sensitive doughs, with gentle feeding of the line with conveyor belts, a dough sheet forming system for various dough types or the TwinSat double satellite head for gentle processing of the dough sheet. Products traditionally made by hand can be made using such automated lines, while also retaining their artisan character. According to the company, their customers produce various products on the Menes, mainly doughs with long resting times, such as Ciabatta, breads, flatbreads, baguette, focaccia, etc. 

The Menes-H high-performance dough sheeting line can process up to 5,000kg (11,023 lb.) of dough and can be combined with several other modules (e.g. forming station, seeding unit, stamping and cutting tools, proofer). This means that every Menes-H line is completely customized to suit the customer’s products (the “H” stands for the hygienic design).

You can read the rest of this article in the Winter issue of Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit, which you can access by clicking here

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