Mixers to the Max: Getting the Most out of Your Dough Mixer

  • Able to spend money on a brand new dough mixer? You’ve bought loads of choices to select from.
  • From planetary and spiral mixers to VCMs, these trade consultants provide recommendations on how to decide on the proper one.

A mixer is a serious funding for any pizzeria—a heavy lifter that may thrive for many years and make or break your dough (and, doubtlessly, different menu gadgets). As such, choosing the proper sort, in addition to sustaining it for max longevity, are key issues for pizzeria operators. From planetary and spiral varieties to vertical cutter mixers (VCMs), we tapped consultants to supply useful hints on getting essentially the most out of this important piece of apparatus.

Sizing It Up

Carolyn Bilger, Senior Advertising Supervisor
Hobart, Troy, OH

A very powerful questions when buying a business mixer: What’s the applying? What are you planning to combine? What number of hours per day are you open, and the way a lot time is required for meals preparation? Perceive your dough’s absorption charge, as a result of that constitutes the capability; each mixer has a capability chart to inform you in case you want a 40-, 60- or 140-quart bowl, for instance.

To search out the absorption charge, divide your flour weight by your water weight. With 25 lb. of water and 50 lb. of flour, that’s a 50% absorption charge. We discover it’s our clients’ largest problem—they might get a mixer into the operation and notice it’s not giant sufficient for the batch, so they should minimize the batch and improve labor, or they may have steady upkeep points as a result of they’re overworking the machine. Nearly all of upkeep points come up from those that don’t purchase the proper machine for his or her utility, which creates havoc. If you overtax the machine, you put on out your gears sooner and restrict the lifetime of your tools.

Additionally, plan for development. Some decide what they want proper now, with out pondering of how the enterprise may develop. Have an concept of your future plans, too! Lastly, preserve your machine clear; wipe it down on the finish of the day, wash your bowl and agitators, and permit them to dry correctly. Each producer gives cleansing directions, so observe these tips. It’s also possible to ask about fundamental warranties, factory-trained service, prolonged guarantee packages, or preventative upkeep packages.


Kind Casting

Tom “The Dough Physician” Lehmann
The Dough Physician Consulting, Manhattan, KS

The decrease the absorption, the tougher the dough turns into to combine. In consequence, it’s important to downsize your dough accordingly. In order for you longevity out of your planetary mixer, don’t overload or overstress it. If doubtful, discuss to the producer concerning the absorption and sort of dough—bread, pizza, pastry, and so forth.—and ask for a suggestion for the way a lot flour needs to be used for that dimension bowl. All 60-quart mixers, for instance, should not created the identical; they’ve totally different capacities and fluctuate by mannequin and age. In the event you’re tripping out your thermal overloads, you might want to instantly scale back the dimensions of your dough.

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When planning for development, be aware that spiral mixers can combine doughs as small as 25% most capability or as large as 115% or 120% —which I don’t advocate! A spiral mixer pulls and twists the dough, giving it extra of a kneading motion. Many say it aligns the gluten strands in a greater trend. The bowl is way bigger in diameter than a planetary bowl, and the longevity of spirals has a superb observe report.

The planetary sort is a jack-of-all-trades mixer. Most include attachment hubs to grind cheese or minimize greens, for instance. A spiral doesn’t have attachments; it does one factor—combine dough—however it does that job very properly. Vertical cutter mixers (VCMs) can combine a dough very quick, in seconds, and have two sorts of mixing attachments. The boring one can be utilized for making dough, the sharp for dicing cheese. With VCMs, nevertheless, it’s essential to observe your mixing instances and completed dough temperatures.

Upkeep-wise, mixers are sometimes uncared for on the bowl raise—reminiscent of after they’re not cleaned or calmly lubricated. I don’t like to make use of oil, as a result of a baking operation is a really dusty atmosphere, and the combination of oil and flour can gum all the pieces up. Graphite or silicone is a a lot better lubricant. Do that about as soon as per 12 months.


Excellent Partnerships

Evan Priesel, Gross sales & Advertising Supervisor
Univex Corp., Salem, NH

There’s a vary of fixed-bowl, detachable and overturnable spiral mixers—essential for pizza dough. Planetary mixers have extra versatility; you possibly can connect a batter beater or wire whip, and also you pay extra for these choices. For planetary mixers, discover a bowl scraper (normal or as an choice so as to add on); they’re helpful, as a result of something that goes to the sting will get scooped in and added to the combo. There are additionally security options to think about: When the protection cage will get opened, the machine received’t function. It’s also possible to discover a mannequin to modify speeds on the fly, so that you don’t have to show off the machine.

When making dough in a planetary mixer, use the primary or second pace so that you don’t overwork the mixer. For spirals, be sure to clear the machine each day or after your each day batch for sanitary functions. Scrape off the surplus dough on the bowl (for a hard and fast bowl) or put it within the sink to clean (for a removable bowl).

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Be sure to’re mixing the correct amount of dough. Mixers could make all of your dough in a single batch, however with proofing time and dough processing, that method is probably not the very best match; you may need to make three smaller batches all through the day.

Earlier than shopping for a brand new mixer, work along with your producer or vendor to do a trial. Ask concerning the guarantee and if they’ve a certified service firm that’s close to you, so that you received’t be down lengthy if one thing goes mistaken. Ask as many questions as potential. Make the most of the information that mixer corporations have within the manufacturing facility, from absorption charges to proofing time, so that you get the proper mixer (and dimension) to your wants. Perceive your batch dimension, and ensure the producer understands your post-mix procedures.


Want for Velocity: The VCM

Kevin Keith, Nationwide Undertaking Supervisor,
Robotic Coupe USA, Ridgeland, MS

A VCM has a number of functions, dealing with the entire fundamentals in a pizzeria. You may make dough for breadsticks or pizza; make your personal crimson or white sauces or salad dressings; or pelletize cheese. With a VCM, be prepared to experiment along with your mixer’s functions.

VCMs have larger rpms, so that you activate the yeast by producing warmth within the combine. As an alternative of eight to 12 minutes of blending time, you are able to do it in 45 seconds. Tilting arms could be useful on VCMs, because you might need a 45-lb. dough ball and don’t need to raise that out of a machine. As an alternative, you possibly can tilt the bowl to take away the dough ball. Digital timers additionally assist customers, since they don’t have to fret about overprocessing. In the event you do a number of batches or runs, whenever you’re achieved, it might probably even reset itself again to your given mixing time.

Sustain with upkeep on a direct-drive motor. Keep and examine your seals each six months. And clear the machine—removable elements assist with this, so you possibly can sharpen, keep and sanitize as wanted.


Buying Round

Andrew Adreani, Nationwide Gross sales Supervisor

Take into consideration how simple will probably be to scrub the mixer, particularly for smaller operations. It is advisable to cross well being inspections, and mixers have areas the place gunk can construct up. Past the shiny new mannequin, what does the mixer appear like when it’s messy and also you’re busy?

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Additionally search for security guards, that are pretty normal now. At this time’s machines are smoother, quieter and extra stylized than they as soon as had been, however they’re highly effective. Don’t flip your again on them, and guarantee you’ve got a security grid. Be certain that microgrids are shutting off the motor after they’re purported to (generally they get unfastened).

Take a look at horsepower, however that’s not the complete story—it’s about the way you get the horsepower to the bowl. You may lose numerous power within the switch, so you could have a 3-horsepower motor however get 2-horsepower motion within the bowl. Additionally, you’ll need to lubricate the facility raise two or 3 times per 12 months (we advocate lithium grease), as they’re shifting elements. Some planetary mixers want an oil tub.

Ask about upkeep procedures earlier than shopping for. What occurs in case you blow a fuse or have a motor overload? Belts could must get modified each 10 years, or you could possibly want common service for timers or one thing else. Take a look at the guarantee on elements and labor, however learn the superb print—attachments can break, and so they is probably not lined. And a few will guarantee to a sure % of dough hydration, like 35% or 40%.

Lastly, take a look at flexibility. In the event you’re making different merchandise moreover pizza—pies, sauces, dressings, meatballs, batter or cannoli cream—you may look towards a planetary mixer, since a spiral is for less than bread or pizza dough. A planetary gives extra flexibility, however you’ll need a sturdy mannequin to deal with dough as properly.


Weighing Your Choices

Ashton G. Macauley, Vice President
Precision North America, Albany, NY

Your producer may also help you select amongst totally different hooks—relying on dough recipe and preferences on mixing instances—or provide totally different motors and transmissions to accommodate the right rpms and equipment discount for sure batch instances and dough consistencies.

Ask about help—whether or not the mixer goes down and must be mounted, or in case you merely have a common cleansing, working and preventative upkeep query. Are they out there 24/7? Are you able to discuss to a educated one who is aware of the machine in and out? The producer must also present most data so the person can do his personal preventative upkeep; that can lower your expenses and ensure all the pieces is stored up correctly over the lengthy haul.

Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor.

This text initially appeared within the Could 2019 subject of PMQ Pizza Journal and options enter from the late Tom “The Dough Physician” Lehmann.