For cake processing lines, there are two main types of batter mixing systems: Batching and Continuous. Outlined below are some of the advantages and processing capabilities of Continuous Mixing Systems that are currently available.
The Pros and Cons of Batch vs. Continuous Mixing:
Some producers with small capacities in combination with large varieties often prefer batch mixing – Production is flexible, and it has a fast changeover time with manual cleaning. However, the process of batch mixing can be highly impacted by the environment and equipment operators. Due to the open system the batch mixing process is also sensitive to ambient temperature and humidity, and subject to potential introduction of foreign bodies. Batch mixing is also more labor and logistically intensive. Downstream product density and consistency will fluctuate from batch to batch due to these uncontrollable factors and circumstances.
Continuous Mixing: The Advantages
Many cake-type product manufacturers have decided to change their batch mixing line into a continuous process, which can be utilized beginning at capacities above 400 lbs. per hour. Continuous mixing has significantly lower labor costs as processes are automated, there are no contamination risks as it is a closed system, it is error-proof due to the reduction of human operation, and the output is uniform and consistent as well as reliable and reproducible. Manual cleaning of components is not necessary as continuous mixing systems can be executed with and designed for integrated automatic cleaning in place (CIP).
Continuous Mixing: The Process
Liquids such as glucose, eggs, water and oils are metered into a batter pre-mixer or slurry mixer. Dry matters like sugar and flour are pre-weighed and dosed by a scaling system into the slurry mixer, and for smaller systems manual feeding is also an option. All ingredients are mixed to a slurry without introducing any air into the slurry. After a preset time the mix is automatically transferred via a pump to a buffer tank. The positive pump will feed a constant quantity of un-aerated batter into the aerator continuously. In the aerator the correct amount of air is dosed into the batter for a fully-controlled final density. The air as dosed by a mass flow controller and calculated using the density of the un-aerated batter, the required final density at depositing and the actual throughput.
Continuous Mixing: The Products
Muffins, cupcakes or pound cakes can be deposited directly into pans by a depositor fed by the continuous aeration system. The depositing system is fed straight from the aerator by pressure without any additional involvement (like transporting mixing bowls or additional pumping systems). Sponge cake type products can be sheeted onto a continuous oven belt for layer cake or swiss roll production. For single-serve mini cakes the batter can be deposited with a manifold and nozzles straight onto an oven belt. In special products like chiffon cakes and ladyfingers, the egg white and sugar are separated from the batter mix and separately aerated to a very low density. The highly aerated egg white and the normally aerated remaining slurry are then mixed together in a continuous dry ingredients mixer, blending the two homogeneously.
Continuous Mixing: Inclusions
Inclusions such as chocolate chips, raisins, almond powder, nuts, etc. can be gently folded into a base batter after aeration by a TFT continuous blender. Inclusions are dosed into the aerated batter by a loss in weight system and folded gently into the batter without damaging aeration/density or definition of the inclusions.
Continuous Mixing: Contact Us
Naegele Inc. Bakery Systems and Tanis Food Tec are your partners for continuous mixing cake batter production systems, with industry-leading expertise in control of viscosity, density, capacity, pH level, temperatures and crystal structure. The equipment is also designed to meet the most strict hygiene requirements. A test facility is available for trials and demonstrations, and equipment is available for testing and demonstration within your facility using your specific ingredients. Contact Us today to discuss your equipment needs for cake production.