The issue of sanitation is becoming increasingly important to the long-term success of any retail bakery.

“We provide cleaning schedules in all our operating manuals for all the machines and should be followed rigorously. In retail bakeries, this is a consistent weakness as they often do not have enough staff for maintenance and sanitation, and this weakness can create significant, unexpected costs when sanitation schedules are not a priority for the best operation of the bakery,” points out Nate McDermott, director of technical sales, WP Bakery Group USA.

John McIsaac, vice president of strategic business development for Reiser, Canton, Massachusetts, points to advanced equipment solutions that will help retail bakeries achieve desired results.

Reiser supplies a variety of Vemag bakery equipment for all types of applications and production requirements. The Vemag is an incredibly versatile machine that combines the highest levels of portioning accuracy, speed and product quality.

“Our Vemag’s housing is constructed entirely of stainless steel. Smooth surfaces prevent accumulation of product residues,” McIsaac says. “The Vemag’s double-screw pumping system can be quickly removed. The entire product path is 100% accessible for easy cleaning and inspection. The electronics system of the Vemag is protected with a box-in-box design to make it absolutely impervious to water. The entire machine can be cleaned quickly and easily with high-pressure cleaning equipment.”

The Vemag is a single machine that incorporates many innovative attachments specifically designed for bakery applications. Each Vemag attachment is carefully designed to produce consistent, high-quality bakery products. Attachments can be easily swapped out in minutes so that you can produce a variety of different products.

The Vemag can be used as a dough divider to produce breads, rolls and buns and is easily adaptable to all ranges of dough absorptions and crumb structures.

The Vemag can be used as a depositor to accurately portion cookie dough, fillings and batters onto moving or stationary lines. It is ideal for any depositing task where placement and weight control is needed.

The Vemag can be used as a sheeter to extrude smooth, uniform sheets of batter and dough with consistent thickness and width. This system can also be used to precisely sheet margarine and fats onto a make-up line.

Tim Levin, marketing manager for Empire Bakery Equipment, points out that today’s machines are being built with sanitation in mind.

“We see a lot of food-safe materials being used on machines or stainless steel to ensure that these machines are easier to clean. Machines are also built to be easily disassembled to thoroughly clean the machines and the parts that come in contact with food,” Levin points out.

A relatively new feature we are seeing in equipment is the ability to self-clean, he adds.

“For example, the Gravi-Flux is equipped with a preset cleaning program which allows the machine to clean itself thanks to scrapers under the belts. Self-cleaning technology is something we should see more of in the future,” Levin says.

Austin Archdeacon, operations, Erika Record Baking Equipment, explains that innovations continue to reach the bakery production marketplace.

“There is a push starting at the industrial level that is working its way down, which looks for clean in place (CIP) equipment,” he explains. “In other words, the equipment can be cleaned where it stands, either with built in cleaning mechanisms, or self-contained washdown areas.

 For most of the equipment on the market without programable CIP functionality cleaning schedules should be developed, Archdeacon emphasizes.

“They should be easy for all to understand and dependent either on your local codes, or needs that arise from production schedules.

McDermott at WP Bakery Group USA emphasizes that “with proper sanitation and maintenance, you will have the best quality product, and ensure that the machine lasts for its expected lifespan or beyond.”

Maintenance tips

Mixers play a pivotal role in bakery production for retailers, and Carolyn Bilger, marketing director, Hobart, points out that Hobart Legacy+ mixers have minimal seams or crevices where food can settle, making the base and under the planetary easy to wipe down with a clean, soapy cloth.

“Remember to unplug the mixer prior to cleaning. You can use mild soap, water and sanitizer in a three-compartment sink to wash removable parts like the bowl, bowl guard and agitators,” she says. “Or you can place these components in a dishwasher to save time. You should clean the mixer after mixing single recipes and between different batches of ingredients. Periodically remove mixer knobs and wipe down the control panel. Don’t do this too often, however, as it can introduce moisture to the control panel that can be damaging.”

New equipment options

Hobart has announced the availability of its new LXnR Advansys™ Two-Level Undercounter Commercial Dishwasher, designed to increase throughput and maximize labor savings for foodservice operations. The LXnR is capable of cleaning up to 48 racks per hour to offer the fastest undercounter throughput in the industry.

“For operations experiencing staffing shortages, the LXnR addresses those challenges by cleaning more ware in less time. Plus, it’s easy to use so training is minimal,” said Jacklyne Woods, product manager, Hobart Warewash. “Adding to that, the machine offers best-in-class wash performance, so operators can trust that they will always have the cleanest ware, every time.”

In addition to the two-level rack design, the LXnR Advansys features NSF-rated pot and pan cycles designed to clean the toughest food soils. Operators can easily remove the second-level rack to load larger items, such as a full-size sheet pan, into the 17-inch opening. When in place, the upper rack is ideal for plates, small wares and utensils.

To simplify and reduce chemical handling, the LXnR provides Low Chemical Alerts and Auto Prime, which eliminates the need for manual priming. The LXnR comes standard with Complete Delime™ with Booster Guard™, which notifies the operator when to delime, then automatically doses delime chemical and delimes the machine, including the booster heater.

Hobart has incorporated a smart touchscreen that is simple and intuitive to operate, along with integrated Wifi to connect to its SmartConnect app. The SmartConnect app tracks activity on the LXn series dish machines to provide operators with temperature monitoring and logging, water and chemical consumption, and alerts and troubleshooting for critical events. The app is available for Android and Apple devices.

In addition to increasing throughput, the LXnR reduces energy and water consumption and delivers cost savings. By decreasing the number of daily wash cycles, foodservice operations can expect to save up to 1,100 kWh in energy annually and reduce annual operating costs up to $500 per machine. The Energy Recovery system contributes to these savings by recycling heat energy from steam back into the dishwasher.