Six instead of four –
How a Chinese customer is producing soft and fine-pored toast bread with a new magic formula
The Chinese cuisine is well known for light rice and noodle dishes. Contrary to Europeans, Chinese people prefer a warm dish any time of the day. In their culture the daily consumption of bread or bakery snacks is rather unusual. Just as the Chinese way of cooking has become popular throughout Europe, people in China are also getting inspired by the Western way of cooking. There is a growing demand for various European pastry products by enthusiastic Chinese consumers.
This applies, for example, to toast bread made from soft, sweet and fine-pored yeast dough. Against this background a Chinese customer placed with us the order for an IMPRESSA universal which produces not only toast bread but also Chinese variations of leaven dough pastries and even the classic French baguette or ciabatta. The dimension and execution were outstanding features of this order. The delivery included a 1.30 m wide and 65 m long dough processing line.
The classic way of production for toast bread is the 4-piece-method. Upon completion of the calibration process the dough pieces are folded by means of a drag chain and shaped lengthwise. Subsequently, the long moulded dough piece is divided into four pieces – that is where the name 4-piece-method comes from. Afterwards the dough pieces are turned by 90 degrees before being placed next to each other in a baking mould. The 4-piece-method makes sure that the toast bread will have the requested pore structure and crumb stability. The desired fine pore structure is achieved mainly by the repeated manual treatment of the dough.
However, for our Chinese customers this production method was beyond question, because four pieces were not sufficient to fill up the baking moulds. The FRITSCH engineers were confronted with the fundamental challenge to manufacture the product toast bread on a sheeting line out of a continuous dough belt instead out of dough pieces. Moreover, the toast bread had to be half as wide as usual. The solution of the experts was the 6-piece-method. Thus another even more difficult challenge came up, as both breads had to be placed into the baking moulds at the same time. It goes without saying that the typical characteristics of the toast bread, a smooth, dense and uniform pore structure, had to be maintained.
Thanks to the intense collaboration of the departments design, dough technology and final assembly and the available space capacities of FRITSCH, the team was able within short term to finish successfully the design and the initial tests of the customised sheeting line. It was a key moment for the engineers and dough technologists when the line worked without interruptions, as it is very critical to avoid repeatedly arising problems in the process of a line having a length of 65 m. During the whole sheeting time of 25 minutes the dough consistency could be kept up while proofing did not advance too fast. The line capacity amounts to 3 tons of dough per hour, provided that the equipment installed upstream and downstream is able to cope with those quantities.“
„It is a great pleasure to see the fine and stable pore structure of the 1.2 kilogramme heavy dough cord and to experience the satisfaction that the design of the line shows an excellent performance and we could exceed all the expectations of the customers with regards to high product quality,“
says Andreas Betz, dough technologist at FRITSCH.
The biggest challenge of this project was that not only four uniform dough pieces had to be placed as a package into the baking mould divided from each other and turned by 90 degrees. But in this special case there were even six pieces. Therefore, most of the tests made on the line aimed at keeping the weight exactness of the individual pieces within the agreed tolerance range. Thanks to an incorporated belt weighing system and an additional check weigher the weight difference is less than three percent of the nominal weight. This weight exactness is the precondition for a uniform turning of the dough pieces so that they can be placed precisely into the baking mould.
The commissioning of the IMPRESSA universal was marked by a colourful way of communicating with each other. “We were talking with hands and feet with the line operators. But we found a way to get along fine nearly without speaking any English”, says Andreas Betz laughing. Apart from the considerably longer baking mould with a length of 370 mm it was an exiting task for the FRITSCH experts to produce a great variety of Chinese products on the line. At that moment many of those products were produced for the first time on a sheeting line. A special experience was working with huge quantities of starter doughs covering up to 40 percent of the total quantity. Already during the mixing process the customer controlled the dough consistency every minute. Only when the dough consistency was extremely thin during extension but did not tear apart, it was conveyed for processing onto our IMPRESSA universal.
For the toast bread production on this line the FRITSCH dough technologists decided to fold altogether eight layers in order to achieve a very fine pore structure. For this the dough sheet is folded by means of the folding and layering unit. In order to avoid compressing of the dough cords during lengths cutting, motorised driven knives are used. This solution applied by FRITSCH produces a cylindrical dough piece showing a considerable better pore structure and weight distribution.
Conclusion: The application of the 6-piece-method on the basis of a dough sheet is an innovative development enabling the customers to extend their product range with a great variety of tin breads and different flavours.
Toast bread – a kind of bread whose flavours develop particularly during roasting. There is little or no crust, like the Italian toast bread Tramezzino, in Spain pan sin corteza or crustless bread. The crumb is elastic with a very uniform and dense pore structure. Due to its Anglo-Saxon origin it is mainly known under the name of sandwich toast. It it a typical tin bread which is baked in a mould with a lid. Its characteristics – a smooth, fine pored and uniform structure imply that the production process is easy to handle. However, as often the complexity becomes aware when you look deeper into the matter.
The IMPRESSA bread