Inclusions are a critical part of certain cookies. Oatmeal raisin, white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate chip contain inclusions that differ in size and consistency. Consumers expect them to be visible and intact when they purchase a cookie. It’s critical that they clear production without breaking or smearing the dough.

“Product quality is another focus area for bakers,” said Cesar Zelaya, bakery sales and technology manager, Handtmann. “Product discoloration and inclusion breakage are some of their main concerns.”

Maintaining integrity starts at the beginning: the mixer.

“It’s very important to get the inclusions mixed into the product evenly,” said Dan Christie, sales manager, Spooner Vicars. “We use a double-helical blade with our sprag design, which has a fin between two blades to assist with an even faster mix.”

After the mixer, smearing and breaking of inclusions becomes a concern at the wirecutter or rotary moulder. For wirecut processes, Spooner Vicars must identify the inclusion before setting the feed gap to allow enough room for the inclusion without sacrificing the weight control of an excessive feed roll gap. For rotary moulding, as standard, Spooner Vicars offers an adjustable gap and an adjustable tangential knife for clean cutting.

To ensure inclusion integrity with accurate weights, Reading Bakery Systems (RBS) focuses on a filler block with tight tolerances. The company matches the feed rolls with a baker’s throughput needs.

“The key is knowing the baker’s product and providing a wirecut that will preserve inclusion integrity and maintain an even flow of cookie dough for maintaining weights,” said Sam Pallottini, director, cookie, cracker and pet food sales at RBS. RBS’ tight tolerances paired with its design enables that consistent flow.

Gentle extrusion also controls inclusion smear and breakage. The Vemag, available through Reiser, uses a positive displacement double-screw pump to gently transport the dough without overworking. This not only maintains the dough’s integrity but also the inclusions’.

Rheon’s co-extruders also gently extrude cookies without filling.

“When we divide a chocolate chip cookie dough through our machine, the vanilla dough is still a light color after it has been formed; we get minimal smear from the chocolate chips,” said John Giacoio, vice-president of sales, Rheon USA. For wirecut cookies, an ultrasonic slicer cleanly cuts through inclusions without dragging.

A wide range of equipment options also enable bakers to select the right pump or head for their specific inclusions and dough. Handtmann has designed different pump configurations that preserve inclusions.

Minipan developed a range of heads that offer adjustable pitch between rollers to process inclusions regardless of their sizes.

This adjustability and diversity of the equipment lends itself to the flexibility bakers need to produce different types of cookies on one line.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on cookie tech, click here.