Both the care and handling of your bakery ovens and mixers – often considered the stalwarts of your equipment lineup – continue to play an integral role in the success of your business. Proper maintenance is a must.

Take your bakery mixers, for example.

According to Carolyn Bilger, marketing director, Hobart, Hobart Legacy+ mixers feature a triple interlock system that requires the bowl to be fully up and locked in place with the bowl guard secured before they will operate.

“This system should be inspected regularly and no less than once a year by a Hobart service technician. You should lubricate the slideways that allow the bowl to slide up and down on the actuator approximately twice a year,” she says.

The agitator shaft should also be lubricated twice a year with a small amount of mineral oil. Inspect the planetary seal regularly and lubricate with mineral oil if it has become dry.

The transmission belt should be inspected yearly for wear, Bilger explains.

Contact a service technician if this part needs to be replaced. In larger mixers (Hobart HL600 60 quart and up), check the transmission oil level every few months. Add the recommended oil to reach proper levels if it is low. 

Finely tuned production flow

Renowned bakery instructor Ciril Hitz points out that in the realm of bakery operations, the trio of ovens, mixers, and proofing equipment stands as the cornerstone of a finely tuned production flow, essential for delivering top-tier baked goods consistently.

“When considering the hierarchy of importance among these vital components, it's undeniable that the oven reigns supreme, dictating the very rhythm and capacity of the bakery's output,” Hitz says.

The oven, in its diverse forms ranging from the traditional hearth oven to the modern convection marvel, holds sway over the entire production process. Its size and capabilities serve as the linchpin for product flow, setting the stage for the bakery's capacity and efficiency. In today's multifaceted baking landscape, the necessity of both hearth and convection ovens is paramount, ensuring a comprehensive bread program that caters to diverse tastes and textures.

Following closely behind the oven in significance is the mixer, a versatile workhorse that comes in varied forms to address the intricacies of dough preparation. Here lies a pivotal decision point for bakers, as the choice between spiral and planetary mixers is not merely a matter of preference but one of necessity. Each type brings its unique strengths to the table, complementing different dough types and batch sizes with precision and finesse, Hitz says.

Completing this trinity of essential equipment is the proofer retarder, a game-changing innovation that elevates bakery operations to new heights of efficiency and quality. Serving as a lifeline for freshness and consistency, this technological marvel allows for meticulous control over proofing and retarding processes, ensuring that the bakery can maintain a steady supply of freshly baked goods without the constraints of traditional production timelines.

“It's not just a convenience but a strategic advantage, attracting skilled employees who value a workplace that embraces cutting-edge technology to enhance both product quality and work-life balance,” Hitz offers. “In the ever-evolving landscape of bakery management, the strategic replacement of these foundational pieces of equipment is not merely a matter of maintenance but a proactive investment in the bakery's future success. By staying abreast of technological advancements and industry best practices, businesses can safeguard their competitive edge while nurturing a culture of innovation and excellence. With the right blend of foresight, financial planning, and a keen eye for operational efficiency, bakeries can ensure a steady rise to prominence in the hearts and minds of discerning customers.”

Next generation

Other equipment leaders are rolling out next generation solutions for bakeries.

The new generation of the proven MIWE aero e+ brings together first-class baked goods and high-quality design in an impressive manner. The in-shop baking oven becomes an eye-catcher, impresses with its optimized ergonomics and already hints at high baking quality thanks to its exterior. 

A stylish LED light bar that extends across the entire width of the baking station provides the current status – visible from afar yet elegantly packed. The gently pulsing light indicates when the baking programme ends in an eye-catching way. The new LED illumination of the baking chamber puts your products brilliantly in the limelight and directs one's gaze to what is important: baked goods for sale. The glossy impression of the baking station is underlined by a completely glazed front surface in noble black.

In addition, looking at the MIWE roll-in, highly useful features are the energy saving MIWE eco-Mode, the precise control of airflow MIWE air control and MIWE atmospheric baking, which makes baking independent from weather conditions. Not to forget the newest functionalities for faster batch-after-batch baking (the Booster function) or the new Intenso steam, finding its way deep into the baking chamber even when tightly packed.

Bespoke baking

If you’re a bakery or catering establishment, Rackmaster offers a perfect solution for bespoke baking and catering equipment. For more than 14 years, Rackmaster fabricates and provides a wide range of products for bakery and catering establishments, both big and small.

Beginning its life more than 20 years ago as a kitchen unit fabricator, founder Campbell MacFarlane (who has more than 40 years of experience when it comes to bespoke engineering work) noticed a gap in the market for bespoke bakery equipment services, catering for the independent bakery market.

Since then the company has gone on to supply bakery equipment for a wide range of different clients, from the one-man band operating out of a small workspace, to those operating on a slightly larger scale with a bigger workforce, we’ve catered for them all. With an ability to provide equipment on a variety of scales, Rackmaster is large enough to bring you wide volumes of equipment, but still small enough to remember those caring, personal touches.

The Rackmaster RM2020 oven is aimed at the small to medium sized micro bakery.

This revolutionary oven boasts:

27% more deck space than currently on the market.
 Large oblong viewing window, which creates optimum viewing of the three decks all lit by separate lights.
 The heated stones can be individually controlled, to allow fine tuning of the deck temperatures.
 Heavy duty door catches and hinges, ensure the oven is robust enough, for any heavy and frequent use a bakery can throw at it.
 An effective door seal and fully welded oven chamber, ensures low steam loss during the bake.
A starter pack which includes: 3 x 457mm x 600mm uncoated, aluminum peeled lip trays, 3 x 457mm x 600mm x 4mm ply peels, 3 x 457mm x 600mm silicone baking sheets, and 1 x 6″ #campbellsdoughknife.

The impact of AI

Much like the rest of the technology sector, AI Is going to continue to have a deeper and more meaningful impact on the world of bakery equipment and automation, explains Nate McDermott, director of technical sales, WP Bakery Group USA.

WP Connect is a digitally based monitoring system that uses hundreds of data points to permanently diagnose the condition, and thus the functionality, of the machine, according to WP Bakery Group USA.

“WP Connect provides integrated support, service, parts ordering, and diagnosis directly from the machine connected securely to a portal. With the integrated condition monitoring, there is live analysis of the quality of the dough and the status of the machine, which allows for immediate and on-the-spot adjustment recommendations to create a better product,” McDermott explains.

On the mixing side, The WP Kemper mixer has not changed in 40 years with respect to mixing principles and control of our standard mixer. It is the most reliable mixer for bread dough in the industry, according to WP Bakery Group USA.

“With a Kemper mixer, you are looking at a mixer that will not be replaced likely in the future,” says Bruce Gingrich, vice president of sales, WP Bakery Group USA.

With ovens, it is imperative to lean toward energy efficiency, cleanliness and ease of cleaning, flexibility in baking control over a wide range of products and serviceability.

The WP Rototherm Green oven satisfies the criteria. Again, this comes at a higher price, but you can gain the return on your investment with energy savings and not having the parts/service required with other brands, Gingrich explains.

A smaller footprint and shorter baking times mean you need less ovens to bake your products and the oven has many baking controls to enable you to custom bake a wide range of items from bread/rolls to pastries, cookies and savory items, Gingrich adds.

Different levels of automation

Austin Archdeacon, operations, Erika Record Baking Equipment, advises that different levels of automation and accessories are being introduced to the mixer market.

“Improvement regarding discharging the bowl, bowl scrapping, programmability, and ease of cleaning continue to be introduced, he explains.

“We are seeing a major shift in ovens moving away from natural gas and/or propane and moving to fully electric. Several states have already introduced new regulations preventing new gas lines to be laid. With the greater push towards electric ovens comes the desire to find efficiency. These efficiencies are found in better insulation, power savings modes, and the actual technology behind the heating elements.”

Energy efficiency

In the world of ovens, fuel and energy-efficiency are trends to keep an eye on, explains Tim Levin, marketing manager for Empire Bakery Equipment.

“Being able to produce artisan-quality breads while saving on your overall fuel and energy costs is something that bakers are lining up for in the current market,” Levin says. “Deck ovens that utilize a single burner with a steam tube system are able to provide an even and radiant heat throughout the oven and allow bakeries to save up to 75% on their fuel costs.”

If you are making bread doughs such as artisan loaves, sourdoughs, and baguettes, pizza doughs and bagel doughs, then you need a spiral arm mixer, according to Empire. The spiral arm of this mixer properly kneads the dough and ensures proper ingredient blending and dough development.

For bakeries and restaurants looking to mix cookie doughs, cake batters, icings, creams and more, then you are best suited for a planetary mixer, according to Empire. These mixers come equipped with a flat beater, dough hook and wire whip for maximum flexibility.

New options

Hobart offers its Legacy+ mixers with its exclusive PLUS System, which includes VFDadvantage technology to deliver more power and provide precise motor control. With the PLUS system, you can gain more production time and better incorporation of ingredients, along with up to 30% more mixing capacity in the same size bowl, depending on the application, according to Bilger.

These maximum heavy-duty mixers are capable of daily continuous mixing without needing to rest the mixer, so you can produce more bakery items. Maximum overheat protection and a reinforced planetary shaft system contribute to production by allowing the mixers to handle heavy jobs and drive more power to the bowl.  

Hobart has announced the availability of its new HSL130 spiral mixer. This 130-pound capacity model rounds out the company’s spiral mixer offering, which also includes 180-, 220-, 300- and 440-pound options. Like its counterparts, the HSL130 spiral mixer gently incorporates ingredients for artisan breads and Neapolitan pizza dough – making it an excellent choice for smaller bakery operations and specialty pizza shops.

“Our customers have come to rely on the consistent performance of our HSL spiral mixers,” says Bilger. “We are pleased to add a new model for those who are mixing smaller batches. They are sure to gain the same trusted results to make great dough every time.”

The HSL130 spiral mixer offers bidirectional bowl rotation (15 rpm) to improve consistency, while also allowing operators to mix batches of dough as small as 10% of the mixer’s maximum capacity. Hobart precisely engineered the bowl and hook rotation to lower friction and temperature increases by gently and quickly kneading the dough, allowing for ideal leavening.

A double pulley belt-driven motor increases torque for mixing heavy loads of dough and the mixer features two speeds that automatically shift from first (100 rpm) to second (200 rpm) to deliver greater mixing consistency. To support operator assurance, the mixer’s wire frame bowl guard interlock prevents the spiral arm from running when the guard is up.

In addition to reliable performance, Hobart designed the HSL130 spiral mixer with durability and ease of cleaning in mind. It is constructed with a steel body frame and cast aluminum hood with a powder coat finish, and the bowl, guard and dough hook are stainless steel. The mixer’s kneading zone is crevice-free, making it quick and easy to clean since it minimizes debris collection. Front and rear casters make it simple for operators to move the mixer for cleaning.

To simplify use and improve productivity, the mixer includes a bowl-pulsing system that speeds dough removal and a dual electronic timer that operators can preset between 0 to 20 minutes. The mixer will shift to high speed when it completes the low-speed time cycle.