When to automate ingredient handling

by Dan Malovany
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Some inclusions are so temperamental that they act more like exclusions, especially when it comes to ingredient handling. In some cases, bakers have no choice but to treat them with kid gloves.

“Chocolate chips generally must be kept cold for two reasons: First, they stick together if allowed to warm up too much; second, if allowed to soften, they will break up in the mixer, which is generally not desirable,” noted Bill Kearns, vice-president, engineering, The Fred D. Pfening Co. “Raisins generally are added directly into the mixer as they tend to lump up too much in most mechanical feeders. Both of these are generally semi-automated, requiring operators to open boxes and handle the ingredients.”

One method is to go “old school” when handling raisins, according to Eric Kartlick, regional sales engineer manager for Zeppelin Systems. “Bakers can back-engineer their formulas so they can add complete boxes of chips, nuts and raisins to their mixers so they don’t have to do partial weightments for each batch,” he said.

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