Working with a filled dough that will be swirled, whether it’s filled with dry toppings, inclusions or a smear, requires gentle handling during the sheeting process. For inclusions, that means maintaining piece integrity, and that starts at the dough former.

“With inclusions, we want to manage the dough sheet properly,” said David Moline, vice president of sales and marketing, Moline Machinery. “We’ll make the initial dough sheet thicker than we would a bread without inclusions to make sure we’re not damaging any kind of fruit filling. Once we determine the initial dough sheet, we want to make sure we have enough sheeting capacity, so that we’re not overworking the dough at any one sheeting station.”

For smears, Mr. Moline said, the challenge isn’t necessarily in the application but the cutting at the end of the makeup line. He suggested an ultrasonic cutter, which will incur zero buildup of smear over time, as opposed to a traditional guillotine.

“Depending on the smear-to-dough ratio, if you’re cutting with a standard guillotine, it might actually deform the loaf because it tends to deform when you have a smear in the curls,” Mr. Moline said. “The higher moisture content leads to a more challenging cut, which means we have to alter our cutting technology to accommodate that.”

[Related reading: Bakers have production options with breakfast breads]

Consistency is one of the major challenges with these breads as bakers are combining two separate entities — dough and filling — that have different water activities and textures. So, it’s important that the dough sheet itself be as consistent as possible.

“Dough consistency needs to be similar for optimal process control,” said Hans Besems, executive product manager, AMF Tromp, who recommended that the AMF Tromp sheeting technology provides a stable, low-stress continuous dough sheet.

The dough sheet is critical to success, therefore the dough band former at the front of the line has a lot of impact on whether the finished product will meet a baker’s required parameters.

“Within this first step, the final quality as well as the weight accuracy are defined within this process step,” said Alexander Weissbach, head of Dough-how Center and head of Dough-how Technology and Product Management for Rondo. “The dough band former must be correctly balanced between gentle dough processing and forming a compact dough band.”

The company’s Smart Feeder and Midos dough band formers were designed to handle delicate doughs. After the initial dough band forming step, dough band is reduced gently with satellite heads, and operators have control over the roller gab, the speed differential between the bottom roller and satellite head, and the tilt angle between the bottom roller and satellite head to reduce the force on the dough sheet.

“Reducing the dough band thickness in a too aggressive way, the dough structure will break, and the volume of the final product will be reduced,” Mr. Weissbach explained.

For a midsized producer searching for a semiautomated line, Glimek, a Middleby Bakery company, provides the volumetric divider, rounder and intermediate proofer and the sheeter/moulder.

“At the sheeter/moulder, we’ll flatten the dough ball, and then depending on the filling or marbling desired, we can either semi-automatically apply a smear, or if we have a more automatic production we would extend the makeup side of the line and pump the smear directly onto the sheeted dough pieces and then curl,” said Jay Fernandez, bakery innovation manager, Middleby Bakery Group.

The nature of these products — with a filling and bread that don’t always have the same characteristics — also require a lot of flexibility down the line to ensure that product quality is what consumers expect. While both the smear and dough are typically high-water formulations, that water activity can be different, and the smear typically contains less starch and gluten, if any. While formulation will dictate much of the product quality, the right oven settings will help ensure that the final product is sliceable and the dough and smear have synergy.

“Formulating a product with marbled-type filling, such as cinnamon, nut or chocolate smear, that bakes out fully and retains its unctuous eating quality and shelf life requires a proofer and oven that have great flexibility,” Mr. Fernandez explained.

This article is an excerpt from the July 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Specialty Pan Bread, click here.