“As a matter of fact, researches show that, by using dough mixers, we can achieve much higher quality in terms of the physical qualities needed in the dough (for better quality bread).”
Yusuf Özgür İntepe
Executive Consultant Chef
Wheat and bread are still among the most important staple food products perhaps on the basis of which we owe our civilization, remembering it encouraged the transition to an agricultural society. Today, it is quite ordinary to come across different kinds of bread unique to each region in every corner of the world. So much so that bread is the most important food in many societies. It is also a cultural asset that contains sacred and symbolic elements on top of being a staple food.
Bakery has also experienced a great change from past to present as in all other production sectors. Growing population and increasing needs have led bread production to mechanization and industrialization. Today, although artisan (hand made) bread making has become popular with the effect of returning to the traditional, getting help from machinery has become inevitable even for artisan bakers when it comes to kneading dough.
As a matter of fact, researches show that, by using dough mixers, we can achieve much higher quality in terms of the physical qualities needed in the dough (for better quality bread).
For example, two of these qualities are elasticity and flexibility. Elasticity is the ability of the dough to stretch, while elasticity is the ability to revert back to its original shape after stretching. Bakers want these two features to be in a certain balance. Neither an overly elastic dough nor a resistless one is preferable. The balance between these two is all about the kneading duration of the dough. The modern spiral mixers we use now allow us to control this time quite precisely.
Another benefit provided by spiral mixers is that thanks to its high speed kneading, it increases the damaged starch rate in the dough with the effect of friction, helping the bread to gain more volume during baking. Reaching a big volume is a desirable feature in bread making. Of course, we have to mention another important advantage of this fast kneading, which is increasing water absorption capacity of the flour used. Although this feature has traditionally regarded to be only in favor of the baker with half an eye due to his interest in increasing the yield, we know today that as the water content in the dough increases the operating speed of the natural enzymes in the flour also increases and as a result you get more nutritious digestible bread.
Apart from other benefits, this high speed kneading inevitably causes an undesirable amount of heating in the dough. Especially due to the effect of global warming on the climate, there is no point in our country's geography where ice does not have to be used during kneading, including the places where traditional fork mixers are used (these mixers work quite slowly). It is a well-known fact that kneading with ice causes a decrease in dough quality besides its logistics and cost effects. It is also known that the temperature control in the dough must be quite precise.
Fortunately, the cooling feature of modern spiral mixers and the indicators on the front panel that allow us to monitor the instantaneous temperature of the dough allow bakers to keep the temperature control in the dough under control without disturbing the water and physical balance of the dough. Thanks to the cooling feature, no ice is used, and thanks to the instant real temperature indicator, we can monitor the temperature without stopping the dough (also without causing the gluten tension, deteriorate or loosen, which is the purpose of kneading).
It is worth mentioning that modern bakery equipment is not only beneficial for obtaining higher quality products, but also a remedy for the qualified personnel shortage to some extent. The reduction of human dependency through mechanization enables businesses to keep the quality of production within acceptable limits, even with less qualified employees who are easier to find. Thanks to these machines, it has become very easy for workers to make high-quality dough with standard recipes and the instructions that merely require them to push of a button or two.
As a result, modern bakery equipment not only standardizes the production quality, but also ensures sustainability in production by preventing dependency on the abilities of the employees.