Baking & Snack - February 2021 - 69

EQUIPMENT
Bagel Processing

Producing bagels requires a well-integrated production line
with precise controls to handle the stiff, temperamental dough.
by Charlotte Atchley

B

Bagel processing is as complex as the product itself. The
dough is stiff with a tight crumb and formed into a tight
ring. Achieving that perfect bagel texture and crust requires
proper proofing and two thermal cooking methods: boiling/steaming and baking. Only then will bakers achieve the
chewy texture with the shiny crust consumers expect from
bagels. All of this requires a well-controlled process from
start to finish.
" Bagels are by no means a simple product to bake, " said
Alex Kuperman, chief executive officer, ABI Ltd. " To produce a good quality product, a rigorous multi-step process
and precise recipes need to be followed. "
Time and temperature - whether in the mixing bowl,
proofer, retarder, boiler or oven - must be properly maintained to produce good quality finished bagels. The dough
is low hydration, which makes it very stiff. It can be testy to
work with and does not age well, so timings must be followed closely.
" Bagel dough must be maintained in the right condition
through consistent flow and timing, " said Jerry Barnes, vice
president, Babbco. " Batch sizes and floor time must all be
optimized for the production rate and kept consistent. "
A well-planned and well-timed production line is key
for bakers seeking to optimize production and turn out
consistently good bagels.

A tough dough to form
With any baked food that is portioned, dividing accuracy
and forming technique are essential to creating the correct

size and shape of the finished product. Bagels are no exception. This step in the process has an impact on what transpires downstream: proofing, retarding, boiling/steaming
and baking.
" The pieces that our dividers create are identical in both
weight and shape, " said John Borowski, master baker and
bagel specialist, WP Bakery Group USA Winkler division.
" This not only helps in forming and boiling but is also beneficial in the baking process and when bagging the product
at the end of the line. "
WP Winkler's WBD-100 Generation III divider has
an accuracy of +/- 1% and produces a consistent dough
piece within a predetermined target range. The divider is
also robust, designed specifically to handle the typically
stiff dough.
Bagel dough may be susceptible to changes in flour characteristics as well as temperature changes as it is worked.
A theme throughout bagel processing is closely monitoring and adjusting equipment to meet the dough's needs.
Dividing is no different.
" Temperature, shape and weight are critical, "
Mr. Borowski explained. " If the dough is warmer, for instance, it will form differently than if it is colder. Since our
Winkler WBD-100 Divider produces accurate pieces with
minimal processing, not only are the weights accurate and
consistent, but the shape of the pieces and the temperature
are also constant. "
ABI's pre-feeding process before the divider ensures
consistency. To adapt to changing dough characteristics,

Bagel dough is stiff,
making it sometimes
difficult to process on
automated equipment.
Controls can help keep
product consistent.
© Jiri Hera - stock.adobe.com

www.bakingbusiness.com / February 2021 Baking & Snack 69


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Baking & Snack - February 2021

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