For spraying and glazing, specific ingredient caveats are often the impetus for sanitary equipment design.
“Egg is probably one of the biggest challenges in a bakery,” Mr. Cummings said. “It’s important to have a sprayer and conveyor that are 100% washdown with easy changeover to ensure for food safety.” He indicated that Tromp uses an ultra-hygienic disc sprayer for egg wash and also offers interchangeable conveyors and spraying heads that roll in and out.
Mr. Lindsey pointed to any sprayed ingredients with proteins as a sanitary challenge. “Those need to be flushed out when they’re through; they can’t just sit there for days,” he said. “They have to be maintained in a cool room after use or be thrown away.” It’s one of the reasons Burford developed its spray applicator for glaze, a clean-out-of-place system, which, he said, is easier to take apart without tools, clean and put back together.
Christy also puts an emphasis on sanitary design to make the baker’s life a bit easier. “We make our machines as sanitary as possible so there’s more ease in cleaning them and there’s no place for bacteria to gather,” Mr. Robinson said, noting that its equipment is designed with stainless steel and smooth welds and corners. “We have met some customer requirements for sanitary design that have been top-notch, including few crevices or flat surfaces to minimize areas where bacteria can accumulate,” he added.
There is a need to balance sanitation and ease-of-use for spraying and seeding systems. In the past, these kinds of systems had an enclosed design. But as food safety and sanitation became increasingly important, bakers and equipment manufacturers learned that it often meant a system would be harder to access and clean.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to improve on the accessibility of the interior of the machine,” Mr. Searle said, noting that GOE has added numerous access doors with safety interlocks. “Now that we have opened the system, you can see beyond the four corners and examine the interior of the system, which significantly simplifies cleaning and inspection. We’ve added pneumatic lifts to the inlet and outlet covers to assist an operator when manually cleaning and inspecting the sprayer after the cleaning cycle has completed.”
The need for clean machines and sanitary design is critical on many levels, not the least of which being allergen control. “Everyone’s concerned about allergens, so that’s a huge focus for us,” Mr. Maurer said. While Wheat Montana is working to eliminate all allergens from its products, that’s not always a possibility for many bakeries, and allergen control remains a big concern in topping systems.
In fact, it’s often the lead-in to sanitation.
Mr. Searle suggested that applications involving allergens should be run last, allowing the equipment to be cleaned and sanitized immediately after. Expressing concern that you can never be too thorough, Mr. Robinson suggested bakers also make it known that the particular piece of equipment was used for depositing an allergen.
“Allergens are becoming a bigger concern,” Mr. Lindsey said. “On our seeder, we use one machine that’s able to control two hoppers. That way, a customer can keep one dedicated for sesame seeds and use the other for their varieties.”
Although there are many additional strategies for allergen control, it must always come down to good cleaning and sanitizing practices, Mr. Searle explained. “We understand how important sanitation is and how we’ve continually improved our design to address its cleanability. When handling allergens, it’s all that much more important,” he said.
GOE offers an automated, assisted cleaning system that performs a majority of the cleaning using spray balls, motorized spray nozzles and spray bars. This highly automated process still allows the operator access to physically inspect the machine. According to Mr. Searle, an automated cleaning system that also allows the operator to confirm its success is an important part of allergen control.
We tell kids to never judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to today’s baked foods, what’s on the outside plays an important role in a product’s attraction. It not only adds not only eye appeal, but it also often provides texture and flavor. Making sure seeds, glazes and other toppings are applied accurately, efficiently and safely will make all the difference.