The way the liquid is mixed in also affects the final product. How free-flowing is the baking agent?

The way the liquid is mixed in also affects the final product. How free-flowing is the baking agent?

Preparation of baking agents in amixon® precision mixers

Baking improvers are highly complex powder mix concentrates, which contain more than 10, sometimes even more than 50 different components, including liquid admixtures such as fats, oils, water, molasses, lecithins, syrups, honey, baking extracts and so on.

An advantageous side effect is that the more liquid ingredients are mixed in, the lower is the dust content of the baking agents. However, if the proportion of liquid is too high, or if the baking agent heats up during mixing, its flowability and dosing properties will deteriorate. The baking agent might even clump after packaging. A precision mixer for baking agents must work particularly efficiently.

The ideal mixing quality of the baking powder must be achieved quickly and with minimum energy input. The way the liquid is mixed in also affects the final product. How free-flowing is the baking agent? Can it be stored for a long time? Does it tend to clump, stick or solidify over time? Gentle mixing and wetting is the domain of the amixon® twin-shaft mixer type HM.

Targeted injection and homogeneous distribution of liquids

The addition of liquids can sometimes produce agglomerates in the baking agent, which usually should be avoided. Agglomerates compromise the appearance of the baked product. The type of liquid which is added during mixing determines the consistency of the mixing good.

Precision mixers have special user advantages:

Some baking agents are only wetted with very small liquid additions. Generally, the components of the baking mixture have different affinities towards the liquid phase. Some are hydrophilic or even absorbent, while others may be hydrophobic. In this case, the process of liquid distribution into the powder is of particular importance, because the claim is that each particle should be wetted with the proportion of liquid required by the formulation. The use of two-component nozzles is recommended here.

The introduction of highly viscous substances into the powder is also possible with amixon® mixers.

In this context, it is interesting to note that the porosity of the pile initially even slightly increases with low liquid addition, the pile becomes looser, the bulk density decreases slightly, the dust content is lower and the flowability improves, although only slightly. In most cases, however, it is not trivial to wet a pile with a broad particle size distribution quickly, gently and uniformly. In this context, it makes sense to take a closer look at the phenomena of affinity, surface tension, porosity and viscosity.

Baking agents are essential guarantors for consistent quality of baked goods, production conditions and sales success. As baking improvers are high-concentrate products, they represent the highest technological standards. They are only added to the flour in a proportion of approx. 1 % to 5 % by mass.

Consequently, they must be distributed homogeneously in the flour. This homogenizing task is performed by the kneading machine of the industrial bakery, which first mixes flour, sugar, salt, baking agents, and seeds in a dry state before adding water to turn the powder mixture into a dough mass.

Similar to how convenience food preparation has changed individual cooking at home, the baking supplies industry is also coming up with ideas,simplifying the production steps of baking. Modern baking agents avoid process risks that could impair the success of the finished portioned dough. The dough pieces are delivered either chilled or even frozen. The baking alone then takes place in the bakery store's oven or on the discounter's sales floor.

Depending on the type of pastry, the cooling or freezing step involves further risks, as the dough fermentation must be slowed down or interrupted in the process. This results in the previously mentioned active ingredients having altered properties. Dough rheology may change adversely, enzymes may deactivate prematurely, hydrocolloids lose their ability to bind water in the dough, starch may possibly retrograde, or stale baking makes the pastry appear prematurely unattractive.

If dough pieces are cooled or frozen before baking, both the process techniques for dough preparation and the powder formulations must be redeveloped or adapted.

Allergens and intolerances

Many allergens are produced naturally and originate from our crops.  Plant protein compounds that can trigger allergies are found in celery, mustard, sesame seeds, cereals, nuts and beans. It is assumed that these are so-called defense or storage proteins. For example, the oil-like secretions on apples are a natural protection against spoilage, but for allergy sufferers this protective substance triggers unpleasant swelling of the mucous membranes, causes eye itching and possibly even asthmatic attacks. But figs, kiwi, peaches and carrots can also contain allergen proteins. Sometimes it is the smallest amounts that trigger a spontaneous reaction in the allergy sufferer. It should be briefly mentioned at this point that some alpha-amylase enzymes can also trigger asthma symptoms as a component of baking agents.

The pollen of birch, alder and hazelnut are particularly allergenic and can cause considerable discomfort for allergy sufferers in the spring. Many allergy sufferers in this group are particularly at risk of developing food allergies to celery, mustard, sesame seeds, grains, nuts and beans. Interestingly, however, the allergens are destroyed or inactive after cooking. If the aforementioned goods or parts thereof are exposed to a baking process, they are likewise ineffective as allergens. The exception is hazelnuts and celery. Highly sensitive allergic persons are also advised to avoid roasted hazelnuts.

If products with allergens and products declared as non-allergens are produced in the same mixer, then efficient wet cleaning and drying are of particular importance.

Differing batch sizes

As in all areas of value-added industry, a production plant must be ideally suited to the structure of the business model. This requires adapting to future market requirements. Some trends are already clearly identifiable today, namely

  1.  Customer requirements are becoming more individual and tend to be more complicated.
  2.  Customers want short response times from the supplier.
  3.  More and more, smaller order volumes also have to be scheduled.
  4.  Baking agents should be free from contamination. It should be ensured that the baking agent ordered has no product carryover and that the ingredients can be clearly declared.
  5.  Allergen-free products should be declared as non-allergenic without restriction.
  6.  Baking agents should be accurately weighed and delivered in the standard labeled packaging.
  7.  The baking agents should be ideally homogeneous, free-flowing, lump-free, low-dust or even dust-free.

The requirements mentioned above can be well fulfilled if several operations take place at the same time: Ideal initial conditions exist in a baking agent plant when

  • a large order backlog is available and
  • when the lead time from receipt of order to final notification of the packaged baking mix is short.

 

This can only be guaranteed if all the raw materials required are available in sufficient quantities and readily at hand. Ideally, the computerized order management system should re-sort the production flow several times a day based on the current order backlog. Mixture batches with similar ingredients are processed subsequently. Cleaning operations are only carried out if there is a significant change in the composition of the contents. The key aspects are taste, flavor, odor, color, microbiological challenges, allergens and non-allergens, and ritual cleaning requirements for halal or kosher production.

The aforementioned production regime is all the more feasible the better the plant is able to empty itself completely. amixon® mixers possess excellent residual discharge properties when SinConcave®, SinConvex® or ComDisc® are used.

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