For a typical baker, right bakery equipment and tools are his main prodigy and that’s quite true in the bakery business too. In this article Keshav B. Kamaliya provides an introduction to the most common bakery machinery and bakery equipment useful for the baking business.
An Introduction to Bakery Machinery
Successful bakery production is connected with the efficient use of bakery equipment. The machine can work more efficiently, speedily, and at a cheaper rate. Hence for a medium or small-scale unit industrial bakery machines are preferred. Bakery machines made-up of stainless steel are preferred in this way at least the food contact part should be food-grade stainless. It is also necessary to comply with food laws.
The bakery machinery can be chosen by bakery industry deepening upon their plant capacity and availability of funds. Let’s have a look at some common bakery equipment and how they work to make your job easy.
This bakery equipment is generally placed near the storeroom for ease and quick work disposal. Cone type sifters are usually preferred. Weighing Machine: The accurate quantity of ingredients according to the product formula is essential for the quality of finished products. Hence, various types of automatic/semi-automatic weighing machines are available. Out of them, the electronic weighing system is the most effective and preferred.
It is advisable to use mixer only when at least 50 kg flour is used every day. A unit producing bread, cake, biscuits i.e. assorted bakery products on small scale should install a heavy-duty type multipurpose cake mixer because it would be useful for bread dough kneading and cake mixing as well as egg beating and sugar-fat creaming. Generally, high speed, low speed, variable speed vertical/horizontal mixers are available. The spiral and high-speed mixtures are preferred.
A high-speed mixer machine produces a lot of heat through friction hence they are provided with a jacket, which keeps the dough cool. it is essential for uniform dough development. Modern high-speed dough mixers are provided with the facility for self-lubrication. As a precautionary measure, push-button switch should be provided to the operator.
The frame of any dough mixer is made up of mild steel / cast iron which is mounted with an electric motor of 0.33 to 10 hp (mainly 0.5 to 1.5 hp for small bakeries) as per requirement. They usually have a gear system so that the speed can be changed. The capacity of bowls may vary from 10 to 200 kg and are made up of stainless steel. The speed of arms varies from 70 to 370 rpm (Revolutions Per Minute) for slow speed and high speed. The arm shape is made in such a way that it can carry out folding, kneading and stretching action (in case of bread dough) and aerating (in case of creaming purpose) or just simple mixing (in case of cookies and biscuits dough preparation).
This bakery machine divides the bulk dough volumetrically into individual dough pieces to maintain the weight as closely as possible. Hence, the dough density (which is highly affected by the extent of fermentation) should be even otherwise the weight might change. Nowadays, such dough dividers are available which can make 1 to 8 pieces at a time and also make 20 to 30 strokes/minutes (however, it is considered the best practice to have a machine having 15 to 18 strokes/minutes). It is advisable to purchase a dough divider when 200 to 250kg flour are used every day. Normally, a worker can cut 500 to 600 pieces in an hour, therefore it is advisable to purchase a divider on comparative economic calculations.
Rounding machines basically consist of an external or internal revolving surface against which the freshly scaled dough piece is held by a spiral track or trough. As the surface revolves, it carries the irregularly-shaped dough piece upward in the spiral rounding trough, imparting to the dough a rolling motion. This motion results in uniform rounded dough ball with a thin, smooth and dense skin that not only eliminates the stickiness of the cut dough surface but also serves as a carbon dioxide gas-retaining membrane. The revolving surface may have the form of a conical bowl, an umbrella or a drum.
Intermediate proover generally consists of overhead enclosures that house an endless, tiered conveyer that supports dough carriers in the form of either trays or canvas loops. In these enclosures, dough pieces are rested for 10 to 15 minutes. They are equipped with proper temperature and humidity controller.
Measuring tools used commonly by bakers include cups, spoons, scale and ruler. The spoons are typically made of stainless steel and utilised to measure required volume of ingredients such as spices.
Dry Measuring Cups:
Dry measuring cups allow to fill the cup to the top and then “level off” or remove any extra with a straight edge knife or metal spatula. Available in nested sets of 4 to 8 cups. Made of metal or plastic, these cups do not have a pouring spout.
Measuring bowls are indispensable for accurately measuring dry and liquid ingredients. Food measuring bowls are usually made of glass. Available in graduated sizes, glass dry measuring cups are flat-bottomed with flat edges. For measuring liquids, glass marked-in bowls are used. Lips and handles ensure easy pouring.
Available in metal or plastic, measuring spoons measure small quantities of liquid and dry ingredients.
Liquid Measuring Cups:
Made of glass or plastic, these cups have a lip for pouring. Measuring cups made of glass or clear plastic is the easiest and most accurate.
It is economically viable for a baker to purchase a moulder when he is using 150 to 200 kg flour per day.
Final Proover: After moulding and panning the dough loaves are carried to a steam box, which is just like a steam-room. The accurate control system for temperature and RH is established for maintaining the quality of products. The final proover is made up of stainless steel.
Proof box, intended for manual loading, with castered racks moving on floor tracks should be limited to a depth of four racks to facilitate their movement through the box. Where more capacity is involved, suspending the racks from monorails for easier handling generally provides a satisfactory solution. In the instances, where box depth exceeding seven racks is required, motorized monorails will be found to be the most effective way in facilitating rack movement.
Oven is referred as the heart of the bakery industry. The construction and design of modern ovens depend on types of products to be baked, nature of the fuel to be used, a system of heat application & mode of its transmission, flexibility for controlling the amount & intensity of heat, and the cost of oven construction, operation & maintenance. Looking at all the factors most of the small and medium scale bakeries in India using fire-wood oven are now installing the gas-fired oven. Very small scale units may use the electric oven after calculating operational cost (i.e. cost of electric fuel). However, it will be much popular in high-class small scale bakeries like the bakery division of five-star hotels. Diesel fired ovens are preferred as they are cheaper than electric fuel for medium to large scale operations. However, wherever gas (LPG / CNG) supply is easily available, gas-ovens are preferred.
At present, a room equipped with suitable conditions is used for cooling the bakery products so that atmospheric conditions might not affect cooling. Alternatively, rack coolers, similar to rack oven of bread processing is preferred. It is generally air-conditioned and hence enclosed and frequently the exterior panels of rack coolers are omitted. Which facilitates the flow of natural convection air currents through the racks. However, the usually dense concentration of loaves that is found in rack coolers during operation may require forced air circulation to improve the cooling rate.
Despite many precautions, the bread loaf cannot be sliced properly by hand, hence every bread producer must purchase bread slicer. Generally, reciprocating slicers are used for slicing purposes. In which, straight blades are mounted (at intervals that yield the desired slice thickness) on two frames which move up and down in opposite directions at a high speed. This reciprocating motion is imparted to the frames by a small electric motor through a crank-shaft and levers.
Slicing is performed by gently pushing the loaf through the oscillating blades. The frames may be mounted either vertically, in which case the bread conveyer feeding the cutting zone is slanted at a downward angle or they may be tilted toward the feed side, in which case the conveyer is then on a level plane. The purpose is to obtain angle cutting and to have the top crust of the loaf contact the cutting blades first.
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Normally, the bakery products are packed in polyethylene bags. A plate type electric heater is attached to a table, which seals the bag when touched, is preferred for small scale bakery industry. The machines are developed on the same basis which can either be foot or hand-operated. It seals the bag in between two arms of the machine.
Practical Tips for Bakery Machine Maintenance
The equipment used in your bakery is a huge time saver and great asset to your business, however, when not used properly it can break down or even result in an accident, causing your business to slow or come to a halt. Here are some tips to follow to help make sure that everything runs smoothly and keeps your business going.
Always Ensure Equipment is Clean
Everyday use can cause flour, sugar, and other ingredients to build upon the machine. Cleaning thoroughly at the end of each day can help provide your equipment with longer life. Deep cleaning all equipment routinely can also help the equipment last as long as possible.
Get Routine Maintenance
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Not exactly. Having a trained professional come and perform maintenance on your equipment regularly can help catch any problems before they become too big to take care of. Maintenance can also help extend the life of your machines.
Ensure Proper Use
Although you may think you know how to use your machine properly, reading the user manual is always best. Sometimes there are small quirks that the manual recommends or recommends. Avoiding not adhering to those guidelines can cause your equipment to malfunction.
Follow All Safety Measures
As tempting as it may be to bend the rules for safety when you’re in a pinch, even just a small mistake can lead to a huge disaster. Bakery equipment is large and heavy and capable of causing broken bones or even worse.
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