Continuous mixing 101: Controlling dough temperature

by Charlotte Atchley
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Mixing VMI
Continuous mixers deliver a constant stream of uniform dough to downstream equipment.

Mixing is critical to the consistency and quality of the final product and the efficiency of the process downstream because it is where the dough is born. Flour and water come together to form the gluten structure that will give bread its volume and texture. At some point, however, the energy that the mixer imparts can raise the dough temperature and undo all the good work that has been established. Controlling that temperature is something continuous mixers have struggled to do … but no longer.

“We have improved the ability to control the dough temperature and make dough at even lower temperatures when required,” said Jim Warren, vice-president of Exact Mixing, Reading Bakery Systems.

Monitoring that energy with other tooling helps bakers avoid the issue of creeping dough temperatures.

“We’re constantly monitoring the energy of the mixer itself and the temperature of the dough,” said Terry Bartsch, president and chief executive officer, VMI North America. “We have very accurate temperature control because we have glycol-cooled double-jacketed vessels on both of our continuous mixers.”

The VeryMix system’s mixing chamber is double-jacketed, allowing operators to cool the dough and achieve temperatures as low as 55°F to 57°F for puff pastry. Not only does the system have a cooling jacket to give bakers control, but it also allows operators to monitor the motor intensity and dough temperature through graphs and visual metering, which aids in stability.

Because dough is constantly being mixed in these systems, they can produce large amounts of dough; however, what’s being actively mixed is a smaller quantity. It all adds up to the final desired amount of dough. Cooling requires it to be exposed to a cooler surface area. When working with large amounts of dough, say 15,000 lbs, Mr. Bartsch suggested bakers opt for two back-to-back continuous mixers. Dough is mixed in the first system and then transferred to the second cooled vessel to finish. This gives the dough more time and exposure to a cooler surface and keeps the process moving.

Zeppelin’s CODOS system features proprietary cooling designs for the ingredients and the mixing chamber. These designs can respond quickly to any changing process conditions to give precise control over the final dough temperature.

Bühler’s ContiMix, which will be introduced at iba, taking place Sept. 15-20 in Munich, features integrated cooling systems to help control dough temperatures throughout the mixing process.
 
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