Mixers built to protect inclusions

by Charlotte Atchley
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Mixing at high speeds brings about even ingredient dispersion, but it may lead to the destruction of inclusions like fruit, nuts or chocolate chips that the baker wishes to remain whole.

Inclusions may add flavor and visual appeal to batter-based products such as cakes, muffins and sweet goods. However, they pose another challenge entirely to batter mixing. While mixing at high speeds may bring about even dispersion of ingredients, such quick mixing may lead to the destruction of whatever inclusions a baker wishes to add: fruit, nuts, chocolate chips.

“You don’t want blue batter,” said Damian Morabito, president, Topos Mondial. “You want yellow cake and blueberries.”

To achieve this, a mixer must balance high-speed, efficient mixing at the beginning with gentle folding at the end.

“We’re going to mix the sugar, oil, water and other ingredients at high speeds,” explained Denny Vincent, president, Advanced Food Systems. “Then when it’s time to add nuts or raspberries or blueberries, we slow the mixer way down from 1,200 rpm to maybe 50 rpm. Then we gently mix in these inclusions so we don’t break them down.”

Controls come into play here too. With a PLC, the mixer knows to alert the operator to add the correct amount of inclusions at the right moment in the cycle, said Kevin Wilkinson, North American sales, Tonelli Group. The equipment also recognizes to then fold the inclusions very gently for a short amount of time without damaging the inclusions.

While adding inclusions may seem straightforward on a batch system, continuous mixers can handle delicate inclusions as well. Inclusions may be added near the exit of Reading Bakery Systems’ continuous mixer to get a uniform mix without damaging the inclusions.
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