Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 96


a double blade system with adjacent blades moving in
opposite directions at high speeds. This system aims to
reduce crumbing and tearing. To slab or create multilayered fresh cakes, horizontal slicers gently apply pressure using an upper belt to keep products in place as
they're being cut, said Craig Kominiak, sales consultant,
Erika Record.
Bakers of brownies, sheet cakes and similar desserts
can use in-pan slicers, such as Erika Record's KSSM, to
reduce handling and speed up production. "This enables bakers to gain efficiency by slicing directly in the
sheet pan, while also achieveing a consistently portioned
product," Mr. Kominiak said.
However, some fresh products can't and shouldn't be
sliced. Mr. Kominiak said desserts with viscous fillings

With so many variables,
including cost, size of
cut and the type of
product, there's no one
way to slice desserts.
such as custard or buttercream must at least be chilled
before portioning. "If it's room temperature, you run the
risk - regardless of the slicer - of that filling dumping
out," he explained.
Most items are too soft and difficult to handle at 100
to 105°F, the temperature at which most loaf breads are
sliced, according to Mr. Atkins. By lowering the temperature to 50 to 70°F, a pound cake can easily run through
a reciprocating slicer.
Some bakers will only slice plain sheet cakes, which
are then shipped to stores where icing is added. In this
case, Mr. Atkins said the sheet cake is better sliced frozen because it's easier to handle and transfer between
One benefit with frozen products is that most any
machine can produce a clean cut; however, bakers worry about losing the fresh taste, so they often add more
ingredients to maintain flavor in frozen desserts, Mr.
Petrovich said.
Using wax paper dividers, typically for round cakes,
cheesecakes and pies, simplifies serving desserts at restaurants and retail stores and helps seal the cut edges so
the product will not dry out. FoodTools' machines drop
the inserts between slices during the cutting process, or
they can be slipped into the dessert after portioning.
With solid frozen products, a clean blade is easily

96 Baking & Snack May 2018 /

Putting dessert portioning on automatic
Despite major developments in dessert
slicing over the past few years, there's a
slow evolution of fully automated equipment. From touchscreens to interfacedriven technologies, automation has the
potential to increase output, decrease
production time and, more importantly,
bolster the bottom line for bakeries.
"If you were to ask me where I think
the industry is going to be in 10 years,
we're likely going to see more refined
controls and programming," said Craig
Kominiak, sales consultant, Erika Record
Baking Equipment. "Long term, I envision
systems being able to generate reports
for management or even having some
control via mobile devices."
With bakers keeping up with regulations and experiencing an increase in the
cost of employees, automation provides
the ability to increase production speeds.
"Automation is the big one, and it's the
one that gets me excited," said Doug
Petrovich , vice-president, sales and services, FoodTools Consolidated, Inc. "We
know what it costs to have employees,
and the bakeries always have hundreds
of employees."
A large portion of automation revolves
around hygiene, and automatic cleaning systems are becoming increasingly
popular. Justin Atkins, director of sales,
Bettendorf Stanford, has seen the industry
go from not using washdown equipment
to many companies requiring it. "It's sort
of a shift toward a USDA environment
rather than the traditional FDA environment," he said. "Our equipment has also
shifted heavily toward stainless and away
from powder-coated steel frames."
Highly automated systems can increase
productivity on dedicated lines to crank
out high numbers. However, many of the
smaller manufacturers must deal with
timely and costly changeovers. "They'll
run a product for a couple hours then
switch over to another product," Mr.
Atkins said. "As small bakeries begin to
grow, they'll have longer runs, which will
allow them to look into increasing the
automation for specific products."

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