Reading Bakery Systems has been offering instant hydration for the past few years, a process that reduces the amount of energy required to hydrate dough from 30 percent of the batch mixer’s capacity to more like 1 percent, Warren says. “You’re putting in flour that has already absorbed the water,” he says. “Because you’re hydrating instantly, you’re not seeing the increase in temperature that you normally would see in the hydration process.”
More recently, the company has boosted the size of its Hydrator brand of mixers, from the ability to handle 3,000 to 4,000 pounds per hour all the way up to 20,000 pounds per hour. “Now, you can do it for very high-capacity lines,” Warren says. It’s used for breads, buns, and pizza doughs—basically any flour-based product that you make at that high of a rate.”
Shaffer has been upgrading its Double Sigma mixers to better handle the disparate groupings of ingredients that go into health food bars and similar products, McGhie says. The company also has developed a version of its chunker with multiple cutters. “With a nut and fruit bar product, you’re usually worried about damaging an inclusion,” he says. The feature allows dough portioning as it comes out of the handling system to get an even fill.
Shaffer also has gone to high-pressure, 2,000 psi CIP systems for its mixers that can be turned on while the agitator is rotating to clean the mixer and drain the water away. “The 2,000 psi does a great job of cleaning the bowl,” he says. “And because it’s high pressure, it doesn’t use as much water. It still has to be finished up by hand.”
Buhler offers the JetMix Hydration System, which can be used in lieu of a standard dough mixer and provides the capability of dosing up to three different dry ingredients, Davis says. She notes that the JetMix is ideal for sourdough products, using a gentle, 360-degree water jet that hydrates each individual flour particle as it passes through the machine. SF&WB