Bakers must understand the batter behind their finished products and their aeration levels to discover how best to configure mixers to achieve consistent quality.

As bakery product lines also become more diverse, the challenges of production increase as well. Sponge cake, muffins and cheesecake all require different levels of aeration and exhibit different viscosities.

“These products are very diverse and therefore require more advanced mixers with a great deal of versatility,” said Terry Bartsch, president and chief executive officer of VMI North America. “The finished product must always be the same. To master the repeatability of products is to have control and monitor several parameters on a continued basis.”

It’s important for a batter mixer to adapt to different aeration needs and viscosities.

Being able to handle a range of viscosities requires power, first and foremost.

“A more viscous batter will typically need high speed to get the same aeration,” said Damian Morabito, president, Topos Mondial.

A motor that can handle the rpm necessary to mix the most viscous batters will ensure proper aeration. Topos Mondial now offers its largest motor standard on its mixers to handle the widest range of viscosities.

“We’re giving bakers control by allowing them to mix their batters faster,” Mr. Morabito said. “Speed and the mixing tool will get you to the right aeration. If you have the right horsepower, you can get to the right speed.”

After horsepower, flexible mixers are all about quick change tools and settings. Having programmable recipes means operators can switch from one formulation to the next with the push of a button. Pre-programmed parameters such as mix times and speeds enable operators to turn out a consistent quality batter.

“The programming of recipes also makes it possible to adjust quickly from one phase to the next in a repeatable way while managing varied products,” Mr. Bartsch said. VMI’s ULTIMIX allows operators to program 99 recipes, each of which can go up to 30 different phases.

Changeovers also require switching tools to suit whatever batter is about to be mixed and adjusting the bowl geometry from product to product.

“We call Tonelli’s planetary batch mixer the ‘universal mixer’ because it has quick-change mixing tools for a wide range of batters, from very light specific gravity to batters, and we have changeable tools for even denser products or hard doughs,” said Kevin Wilkinson, North American sales, Tonelli Group. “All of those products can be done on the same mixer just by changing the tools.”

VMI offers a wide variety of tools for the ULTIMIX. Operators can change these tools on the mixer easily, which makes it adaptable to different batters’ needs. The mixer can handle a wide range from whipping a sponge cake to the homogenization of brownie batter, said Mr. Bartsch.