Ensuring accurate scaling of cookie dough minimizes waste that ultimately helps improve a company’s bottom line.
Feed and refeed

One big difference between trim and waste is what you do with it. If a baker can reuse the dough, then scrap — and ultimately money — is saved. More than ever, bakers are searching for new ways to reuse dough.

While certain types of cookie production might not create much scrap dough, some types such as rotary cut can.

“Rotary-cut cookies can produce around 30% rework, depending on the die layout,” Mr. Pallottini said. “Reading has designed a system to feed this dough directly into the back half of the sheeting head to minimize any scrap.”

Reclaiming dough depends on a number of factors, Mr. Zelaya said.

“Depending on dough formulation and ingredients present, processing time and percentage generated, some dough can be more susceptible to accepting scrap,” he said, noting that doughs with inclusions are not always rework-friendly. Decreasing the temperature of the scrap dough is helpful, he added.

Mr. Knott made a similar observation.

“In some cases, it helps with the continuous process to heat the return on scrap dough,” he said. “Typically during the sheeting process, the dough cools down. And in a lot of cases, we like to add heaters to the rework to process it more easily into the fresh dough; it mixes easier if it’s a little warmer.”

Additionally, bakers must be mindful of fat, especially in laminated sweet goods, as it can affect the formulation or product quality.

Mr. Fontaine suggested that reclaimed dough can be added back in up to 5% in the final stage of mixing if there is enough time for even dispersion.

Another issue is lot traceability in the event of a recall, and Mr. Fontaine advised that reclaimed dough should be used in same-day production for tracking purposes. Any dough held overnight for reuse, he said, must take both the formula and lot tracking into consideration.

“For example, shortbread could be held and mixed in the following day, but the dough should then be treated as an ingredient and given its own lot number,” he said. “This will link the scrap to the previous day’s production and lot numbers for that dough so it can be traced properly.”

Controlling waste will ultimately manage not only cost but also quality. By looking at the overall process, asking the right questions up front and thinking a little outside the box, bakers can come up with new solutions to keep the waste at bay.