Pro Tip: Here’s how paying attention to proofer unloading, pan transfers and oven loading can not only help reduce gluten and mix times but also improve overall product consistency.

They say the devil is in the details, and for our purposes, pan grouping and transfers are details you should pay attention to. Yeast-raised bread and rolls are at their most vulnerable when they exit the proofer and are headed into the oven. I’ve witnessed many bakeries running excessive gluten and long mix times all because the rough handling of causes height variation issues in this part of the production line.

Take a walk to your proofer and observe how the unloader handles the pans and watch the pan transfers headed to the oven. Unloaders should start slow to avoid hitting the pans too hard. The transfers should be smooth without bouncing the pans. Any roughness will cause product variations.

Another area to observe is the pan grouping, clamping and staging into the oven loader. Pans should not slam or hit each other hard, pan clamps shouldn’t be abrupt and loader bars shouldn’t start at high speed. The key is smoothness.

If you see product symmetry variations at the depanner, in the cooler or at packaging, yet the product weights are the same, then odds are there is an opportunity you’re overlooking.

Remember: Have a “GOAL”. Get Out And Look and you might find you’ve been walking right past an opportunity to reduce gluten, shorten mix times and make sales happy… the quintessential trifecta.

Rowdy Brixey is founder and president of Brixey Engineering Inc.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn.