Baking & Snack - July 2020 - 52

PRETZEL TECH

Dough dividers
must have
proper torque
to handle stiffer
pretzel dough.
Reiser

for pretzels is usually higher than bread. Where pretzel
flour blends might have 14% protein levels, bread and
bun doughs include just 8% protein.
"Pretzel dough is strong enough that it's going to
maintain its shape," Mr. Eshelman said. "Whereas with a
bread formula, if you would take it out of the pan, over a
short period of time it'll flatten out like a pancake."
To create consistent dough, Mr. Eshelman recommended a continuous mixer because the density, hydration and
texture can be managed and controlled consistently.
Franz Jordan, managing director, WP Riehle also
recommended a mixer that minimizes dough heating.
If the dough gets too warm, spots will appear on the final product. WP Kemper mixers have a spiral for pretzel dough that incorporates airflow to maintain lower
dough temperatures.
Since soft pretzels are yeast-raised, proofing is required. Mr. Jordan explained that a good proofing
chamber should have uniform air distribution with exact temperature and humidity control, ideally with an
automatic transport system.
"The challenge is the uniformity of results during
winter and summer," he said. "Resting the dough in
controlled ambience gives the right skin texture before
lye application."
Because the doughs are stiff and dry, they can create
scaling challenges. Jay Fernandez, technical director at
the Middleby Bakery Innovation Center, said product
attributes such as crumb structure and texture are important to the consumer.
"Ingredient selection can assist the baker," he said.
"Proteases and deactivated yeast along with other relaxers help and allow for clean label claims, and the type of
divider can play a key role."

52 Baking & Snack July 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

Stewart Systems, a Middleby Bakery company, and its Wave extrusion system can make
soft pretzel dough balls and sheets and transform
them into ropes at high speed. The system features large-diameter polymer double screws that rotate slowly and
prevent the dough from sticking.
The result, Mr. Fernandez said, is
that the dough is exposed to lower
pressure and can be cut at rates
of up to 150 per minute on six to
eight lanes.
The Vemag from Reiser also
gently divides these stiff doughs.
Operators can adjust the Vemag to
run doughs ranging in hydration from
45 to 95%, said Jim Fontaine, bakery
field sales manager, Reiser.
"The dough dividing equipment must have plenty
of torque as well as a strong dough feed system and
portioning system in order to accurately scale pretzel
dough," Mr. Fontaine said.
When creating dough ropes, or noodles, the length of
the strands should be defined by the final desired size
and weight of the pretzel.

AUTOMATION HAS
REPLACED MANY
MANUAL TASKS IN SOFT
PRETZEL PRODUCTION.
"The consistency of the pretzels is important insofar
as if the dough is too unstable, the product can lose its
shape at transfer points," Mr. Zielsdorf added.
And transfer points are critical because pretzels face a
couple important detours before heading into the oven.

Twisting tools
Automation has replaced many manual tasks in soft
pretzel production. Today's bakers can add robotic
pretzel tying machines, automated scoring and scarification units, and automatic caustic application systems
to their lines. And as soft pretzel products become
more popular, new twists on the standard shapes are
taking form.
Fritsch's automatic twisters can crank out more than
2,000 pieces an hour, Mr. Zielsdorf said. By adding multiple inline moulding systems, robotic twisters and panning systems to a line, pretzel makers can boost produc-


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