Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 38
MILLER BAKING CO.
the bakery to make bites and twists as well as soft pretzel
buns for hamburgers and sausages.
A bulk system scales flour from two KB Systems
silos, holding 70,000 and 90,000 lbs, and load cells
monitor the flour left in them. Chilled water is automatically metered, while all other minor and micro
ingredients are hand-scaled. The formula remains
mostly the same across each product variety. "We
might scale the batch down for the smaller products
so the process time stays the same," said Mike Walz,
COO, Miller Baking Co.
The dough is mixed in two Koenig double helix mixers. For burger buns, the straight dough is mixed in
400-lb batches. The dough is automatically lifted into
the hopper of the Gemini makeup line. For the burger
buns, the dough travels through the 5-pocket divider
and rounder before the pieces are flattened and placed
on peel boards. This flattening helps control the diameter of the product as it proofs and bakes. The makeup
line can be adjusted for sausage buns, which will be sent
through rollers to curl and mould before entering the intermediate proofer.
"We've had a good relationship with both Gemini and
Koenig," Mr. Miller said. "From a customer service standpoint, Koenig and Gemini both do an amazing job."
Workers rack the peel boards and roll them into a 23rack LC Bakery Equipment proof box. Larger products
such as the burger buns take about an hour to proof. The
products are then removed from the peel boards and
sent through the caustic bath that transforms regular
buns into soft pretzel buns.
Operators must go through special training to handle
the caustic bath operation. While everyone in the bakery
wears hair nets and protective sleeves, operators in this
area also wear eye protection and aprons. They continuously monitor the levels of lye in the bath to ensure consistent product quality.
Once the products emerge from the caustic bath, two
ABI robots score it, which is an upgrade from the original manual process. In the move to automation, it was
important to Mr. Miller that the product quality - in
taste as well as appearance - be maintained.
"If you look at our product, no one bun looks the
same, and that's by design," he said. "We're not trying to
make a cookie-cutter product. Engineering the process
to get it more consistent can take away from the quality."
Top: An operator adds oil to the dough before finishing mixing. Dough is formed
in one of two double helix mixers.
Middle: Dough balls march through the make-up line that has the flexibility to
create soft pretzel burger buns or sausage buns.
Bottom: Product is run through a divider, moulder, rounder and intermediate
proofer, depending on the product's needs.
38 Baking & Snack May 2018 / www.bakingandsnack.com