Unlike ciabatta and other classic artisan bread, traditional lavash, tortillas and other thinner flatbread with a lower hydration point can be particularly tough to process.

“Deflection of rollers and inconsistency of sheeting can result in lost yield and inconsistent weights if the sheeting line is not designed correctly or robustly enough,” said Nick Magistrelli, vice-president of sales, Rademaker USA. “Rademaker addresses this by delivering sheeting lines with solid stainless-steel rollers with a larger diameter. When coupled with our gap adjustment system, we are able to deliver dough thickness consistency to our customers.”

At the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas in September, Moline Machinery introduced a high-volume, reduced-footprint flatbread sheeting system featuring 60-inch solid stainless-steel rollers.

“We have three pairs of reduction rollers in a single machine, and that allows us to maximize floor space, minimize extra conveyors and flour dusters and get a large amount of reduction in a very short amount of space,” said David Moline, vice-president of sales and marketing, Moline Machinery. “This extremely heavy-duty flatbread and flour tortilla sheeter is an effective and simple way to give you a compact footprint with maximum reduction that’s required on flatbreads.”

Many systems include lighter, hollowed-out rollers to sheet doughs. However, the solid rollers on an extra-wide sheeting system eliminate deflection as small as 1 mm that could affect weight control and create waste during the cutting and moulding process.

“In the past, there hasn’t been a need to go to an extremely wide, extremely fast system with solid sheeting rollers, but bakers’ demand for higher capacity on single lines has driven some of these technological advancements,” Mr. Moline said. “What we were showing is a dedicated line because it’s a reduced footprint system for flatbreads and flour tortillas. It’s a great solution for after doughs are laminated. It’s also a very versatile sheeter that’s not exclusive to small footprints.”

More compact systems also allow semi-automated operations to enhance output and improve line efficiencies.

“With the fast-rising costs of labor and the decrease of substantial working space, bakeries and restaurants require more efficient and compact automated lines.,” Mr. Nassif said. “We’ve been working hard to create more innovative machines that will allow even the smallest operations to produce fresh bread in higher outputs with our patented miniSmart machine.”

That system produces more than 750 pieces an hour and includes a dough extruder/divider, intermediate and final proofer, sheeter, tunnel shape oven and optional cooling conveyor. Saltek’s compact lines turn out up to 1,500 to 3,000 pieces an hour while its industrial lines can crank out from 4,000 to 18,000 flatbreads an hour, depending on the products, weight and size.

“To further reduce labor, we’ve introduced the flatbread count and stack machine that can be added onto the industrial lines,” Mr. Nassif said.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on flatbread technology, click here.