Size Matters

Incase you missed May issue here is Ann's buyers guide contribution .

When asked to write an opinion piece for Bakery Business regarding mixers and there was a suggestion it could feature a buyer’s guide, being sellers of bakery equipment it seemed right to focus on factors to consider before purchase.

The emphasis of my case will relate to capacity, as it’s something often not overlooked, but not well considered, by some. I wanted to explain why, when it comes to mixers, size does matter.

Spiral mixers designed for bread dough are the most common type we sell alongside planetary, twin arm, horizontal styles, so it’s these I’ll start with, and as there’s such a strong craft sector to our industry it’s here where the focus will be.
It’s crucial for buyers to consider purchasing a mixer with a capacity to suit multiples of 16kf bags of flour, but not purchasing a mixer that is too big, thus stopping them from being able to mix smaller batches – try to meet your requirement with over compensating.

A good example of how this could easily be a problem is at the smaller craft level where there is very little difference  between a 50kg and a 60kg spiral mixer. Two 16kg bags of flour will fit in a 50kg capacity machine but will quite often through dough out of the bowl and onto the floor depending on the exact mixer, recipe and ingredients. Investing what could be just a small percentage , or a few hundred pounds more, will save eradicate this problem.

 

Be mindful when comparing ‘like for like’ machines, whether it be spiral mixers or another type, that sellers will state capacity in various ways. In the case of spiral mixers this may be a capacity in kg of either flour or dough, so to start with, be sure to look at what the mixer is capable to handling, and compare similar models.

 

Something to consider when purchasing planetary mixers is that capacities can be given in either litres or quarts and will refer normally to the bowl size if full of water.  Manufacturers can provide more detailed bowl capacities based on particular products, be in a dough, batter or liquid. It’s useful at this stage to consider all your own products alongside these specifications to help choose the right size.

 

Back to spiral mixers, and the entry point, the micro-bakery level, it’s crucial for buyers to ensure they look at models capable of handling bread dough.  We often hear from bakers who have made the error of buying a cheap, economical and light duty model, often sold as a spiral machine but manufactured specifically for pizza dough or very light use and often driven by nothing more than the equivalent of a bicycle chain.

 

And a final feature to look out for, something that may seem trivial but will be something to bear in mind is that modem spiral mixers are now manufactured with feet so they stand off the floor, in the past, spiral mixers were made to sit on the floor, but this is a cleaning nightmare, flour and debris builds up around the base of the mixer making it very difficult to clean around.  And that’s it, some of the more practical considerations I’d recommend bakers considering.