Chilled flour promotes consistency
by Shane Whitaker
Bakers can better control final dough temperatures by using carbon dioxide (CO2) to chill flour as it transfers to the mixer in pneumatic conveying systems.
ShickUSA offers inline CO2 systems that control flour temperatures within 1 F°, according to Jason Stricker, executive account manager with the Kansas City, MO-based company. The desired flour temperature will depend on the final dough temperature the baker wants to achieve; however, most often bakers use CO2 to cool flour to between 52 and 62°F.
“We have a customer who will take it all the way to 32 to 34°F,” he added.
Chilled flour is most commonly applied to frozen dough lines, whether for breads and rolls, pizza crusts or any other yeast-raised baked foods. Frozen dough plants need low dough temperatures for two reasons. “One is to retard the yeast activity,” Mr. Stricker said. “If you are going to sheet this dough, you don’t want any yeast activity as it moves down the line.”
Second, low dough temperatures reduce the load on the freezer. “Processors can get products through the freezer quicker — a higher throughput and less dwell time — that is a real advantage,” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Stricker pointed out, bakers can decrease mix times by 3 to 4 minutes using chilled flour because the dough mass won’t require additional dwell time in the mixer to cool down further.
If bakers control flour temperatures using CO2, they do not have to make on-the-fly adjustments. “If I want 50°F flour, I set the control panel, and whether the flour comes in at 70 or 120°F, the system will inject the proper amount of CO2 to make sure that the flour going into mixer is 50°F,” he said.
The company’s inline injector head generally features six to eight injection nozzles, and the system turns them on and off based on incoming flour temperatures.