Choosing the Right Mixer for Your Bakery

When it comes to choosing the right mixer for a bakery, there a few things to take into consideration, like “how much space do I have for a mixer”, “what exactly am I mixing” and “how big does my mixer need to be”?

If you are mixing more than just dough, it may be a good idea to go with either a horizontal or a planetary mixer. If you are mixing dough only, and it’s important to keep the dough at a certain temperature, you’re probably going to want to go with a spiral mixer. Let’s dive a bit deeper and take a look at the pros and cons of each mixer so that we can help you make an educated decision on which mixer is right for your bakery

Planetary Mixers

Planetary mixers come in many sizes, from smaller countertop mixers to very large mixers capable of mixing 200 to 800 kg of product at a time. Planetary mixers are great for mixing and beating things like eggs, cake batter, cookie dough, potatoes, pizza dough and many other things. They come with many attachments, including a whip, hook and beater, as well as attachments that allow the mincing of meat, the cutting of vegetables and the grating of cheese.

All this makes the planetary mixer a well-rounded machine, though the drawback to this is its short life span when constantly ran at high speeds. Also, it is not the best mixer for most types of bread dough, and if dough is your main concern, you may want to consider a horizontal or a spiral mixer.

Horizontal Mixers

A horizontal mixer gives you a clear advantage when you’re trying to mix thousands of pounds of dough in a very short amount of time. Medium-to-large-sized bakeries and factories depend on this type of machine because of its sheer size and capability. This type of mixer is perfect for the mixing of things like short doughs, tortillas, fillings, pie doughs, health breads, cheesecakes, muffins and many other things. Horizontal mixers come with a selection of mixing arms that allow you to customize based on the type of dough you are mixing. They also allow for continuous mixing, meaning once the mixed dough comes out, exiting easily into a trough, the next batch can go into the machine on the other end.

The disadvantage to this choice is that heat generation is a concern. The friction from the dough rubbing on the sides of the mixing chamber causes the dough temperature to rise, which can be damaging to some types of dough. It is important to take this into consideration when choosing the right mixer, especially if you plan on mixing mostly bread doughs.

Spiral Mixers

Spiral mixers are great for mixing many varieties of dough, including bread, pizza, bagels and many others. Spiral mixers come with two motors, one to turn the mixing tool and one to turn the bowl, mixing dough more efficiently and more gently than a horizontal mixer, so heat from friction isn’t as critical of a concern.

These characteristics allow bakeries to produce a range of different products with consistent quality. Spiral mixers also use an energy efficient mixing process, making the cost to run them lower than that of a horizontal mixer. They are usually less expensive than horizontal mixers as well.

Though great pieces of machinery and perfect for mixing bread dough, there are a few drawbacks to purchasing a spiral mixer for your bakery. First, they are not as big as a horizontal mixer. The Spiral mixer can mix anywhere from 50 – 600 kg of dough at a time, and while that is a very big amount, a horizontal mixer can mix more. Second, like we said before, the spiral mixer is great for bread dough, but not ideal for anything other than dough. If you need to mix anything other than dough, this is not the mixer for you.

Being a Versatile Bakery

Some bakeries will opt to purchase more than one type of mixers depending on their size and what they need to do. They may be making bread as well as pastries, cookies, pies and bagels, all in the same day and at the same time. This would be very hard to achieve with only a spiral mixer because each mixer has a specific use. At some point your bakery may expand, and when that happens give us a call and we will be happy to help you choose the right mixer for your needs

Donuts Frying in Shortening

Making Great Donuts Using an Open Kettle Donut Fryer

If you work in a bakery and make donuts, it may be a good idea to know and learn how to make a great cake donut. Luckily, we are here to help you make the perfect cake donut using a donut fryer. There are only a few steps, and followed correctly, will yield a great looking and great tasting donut.

Caution

It goes without saying, that shortening at temperatures of near 400 degrees can cause serious injury, please always be safe and cautious.

Making Sure Your Batter Temperature is Correct

This is the first trick to great donuts should be followed closely. If your batter is too warm the donuts will lack volume and may come out misshapen. If the batter is too cold, the donuts will have to stay under longer and fry too slowly, causing them to crack. We recommend a batter temperature of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, but make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions as the temperature of the mix may change a bit.

Using the Correct Floor Time

Floor time is to donuts what proofing time is to dough. If you leave the donuts too long to prove, they can gas off and your donuts will lose volume and shape. A floor time of about 10 minutes should be good, allowing the baking powder in your donuts to react with the water as well as allowing your shortening to penetrate through the donut. Do not exceed 30 minutes though, this may cause your donuts to absorb too much shortening, leaving you with a donut that may fall apart in the fryer. Having a good donut proofer can really help when it comes to proofing as they are very convenient and made for production.

Using the Correct Frying Temperature

Keeping a shortening temperature of 370 to 380 degrees Fahrenheit will yield the perfect donut, though most old-fashioned recipes will suggest about 340 degrees Fahrenheit. If your shortening is too hot you could get a donut that will fry too quickly on the outside, lose volume and be too dense. Too cold and the donut will spread or form large rings and may crack open, as well as absorb too much shortening, leaving you with a very greasy donut.

Shortening Level

This is important when using a donut fryer because if there is not enough shortening, the donuts may come out irregular, cracked and rough crusted. Too much shortening may cause the donuts to cook unevenly because they may flip while submerged and cook unevenly. We recommend having at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches between the cutter and the shortening. If your having trouble figuring out how to get your shortening into or out of your kettle, you may want to consider getting a filtration system. It depends on the type of fryer you are using, but Stratton Sales has Fryer Filters that can pump shortening into or out of your fryer, without all the mess and mishaps.

Absorption of Shortening

The final trick in making donuts is all about the amount of shortening your donuts absorb. We recommend 1-1/2 to 3 oz of shortening per dozen, depending on the weight of the donut. The previous tips, when followed correctly, should make this easy. If not, your donuts may have not got enough shortening and they will not keep well. If they absorb too much shortening, they will be misshapen and may lose some of their volume. Remember to turn your donuts when they are golden brown. Turning them only once will help as well.

Make Donut Frying Easy with a Donut Robot©

Another way to go when frying donuts is to use a Donut Robot©. Donut Robots© are rightly named because they are an automated donut dropper and fryer that can really help your bakery get great consistency and speed when making a lot of donuts for production. Check out the Stratton Sales website for info on all our Donut Robots©.

We hope this helps you in all your donut making adventures. From all of us here at Stratton Sales, good luck and happy baking

Strawberry-Filled-Mini-Puff-Pastries

The new food trend: Smaller snacks in lieu of full meals

For those of us near or over 40, it’s still business as usual regarding your eating habits. We try to eat a healthy protein rich breakfast, lunch at noon and dinner from 5-7pm. But if you are any younger than that, there’s a good chance that this is very far from your daily eating routine. According to research, the line between meals and snacks is blurring for younger generations.

Snacks over meals

If you are a Millennial or Gen Z, there’s a great chance that you favor snacking many times a day over sitting down to a traditional meal, or 3 squares as it’s called. This is probably because the world has seemed to speed up. With things such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social media platforms, it seems that things are going too fast sometimes, especially in big cities, that it’s perceived that there is not enough time to eat. Fast food chains have picked up on these trends and are using them to their advantage. Snack wraps, dollar menu’s and quick to go items have grown in popularity over the past 5 years, especially with the younger crowd.

Bakeries follow the trend

Bakeries have also picked up on this trend as well. You may have noticed in your neighborhood, the rise of the cookie shop, biscuits and lime aid or just the fact that all coffee shops offer small items to snack on in their display cases. The newer generations feel that not only are bakery items premium and convenient, but they are also healthy as well.

These snacking trends go a bit further than that though. We are also seeing that not only are pastry items preferred to meals, but the preference is toward very small items, like mini cookies, mini muffins, scones and sausage dogs (a sausage or turkey link wrapped in a Danish pastry with syrup on top. These items are not only perceived as “premium”, but they are also filling and at most times affordable and seen as healthy.

These trends mean that not only is there a shift in eating habits, but that there is much opportunity for local bakeries and pastry shops to pick up on these trends and run with them. Bakeries must adapt to trends if they are wanting to grow and stay relevant in their current communities. So, whether it’s mini cookies, mini muffins or mini cupcakes, there’s plenty of room for innovation in a field that will see a lot of growth in the future thanks to the eating habits of Millennials, Gen Z and generations to come.

If you are a baker or have a pastry shop or cookie shop, Stratton Sales has Kookie King cookie makers, rack ovens, deck ovens and refrigeration for all your baking needs. Contact us anytime.

Compact Bakery Storefront

Smaller storefronts: The trend that’s changing the way you think about bakeries

Usually when a baker decides that he/she wants to open their own bakery, there are two question they need to ask themselves; is it going to be retail or is it going to be wholesale? So, let’s say you have chosen to go the route of retail. Now there is another question; do you go small or do you go big? In the past, bakers have not had to deal with the rising cost of outrageous rent and lack of space to make their bread or pastries, but all that is changing.

Millennials take hold

With millennials taking their foothold in every aspect of life, it’s no surprise that they have also made an impact to trends in the baking industry. From smaller, bite sized pastry’s to exotic flavored cupcakes, there is no part of this industry they have not influenced in some small way. One emerging trend is for is smaller, compact bakeries to meet the changing needs of customers.

The compact bakery is trending

Recent bakery trends show a large increase in the demand for specialty baked goods, healthy baked goods and breads for special diets. This trend is very prevalent in upscale communities but is quickly branching out to other places as millennials take their rightful place in the world. As you consider the evolving nature of your business, you may find that smaller footprint bakeries will help you meet the changing needs of the public and your customers. Being available when you’re needed is the next level of customer service and satisfaction.

Building a compact bakery

Building a compact bakery doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality or the depth of your product line. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Onsite production

Producing your products onsite highlights sights and smells of fresh, while also giving your customer an experience they can only achieve from visiting a bakery that produces goods in-house. Baking onsite equipment should be sized for the days production and the available space, thus it is very necessary to define your product line beforehand. Knowing what you want to make will allow you to maximize the efficiency of your machinery and square footage.

Everything in a compact bakery is on display, from making, mixing, finishing and baking. The whole process is on display and will add to the look and feel of your bakery. Revent’s new ONE series ovens are not only functional but they will showcase your beautifully baked products as well. Depending on the products you bake, you will be able to highlight the processes that make you unique.

Commissary Production

Producing in a commissary setting is a great way to maintain product consistency and quality as well as control costs. With advances in automated production machinery you no longer have to sacrifice quality for quantity. In fact, in many instances you will find increased quality by automating certain aspects of your process. Talking to a consultant or industry professional like Stratton Sales who understands machinery will help in choosing the right equipment for you.

Hybrid Production

Combining both commissary and onsite production will give you the best of both worlds. Onsite production and baking of selected items bring about the sights and smells of freshly made signature items. With supplementing products that are difficult to make or have lower margins from your commissary, you can round out your product offering and make your available space represent who you are as a baker.

As a baker, is a compact bakery right for me?

If you want to open a retail bakery that’s hip and trendy (and you really like the look and feel of a coffee shop) a compact bakery is definitely right for you. A compact bakery gives your customer a nice place to get a quick bite without all the hustle and bustle of a larger storefront. Let’s say maybe your customers want to bring a laptop and take advantage of your free wi-fi while they eat your hand crafted artisan breads and pastries in a quite setting, or maybe your customers want to get a quick coffee and a donut while they chat with friends in your nicely set up seating area, either way, a exactly bakery would be exactly what they were looking for.

Common Commercial Oven Issues, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the specific potential causes of an oven that won’t heat properly.Commercial ovens have several important elements, and a lack of proper heating could signal issues in several different possible areas.

At Stratton Sales, we offer commercial baking equipment repair services for this and numerous other possible problems. We’ve seen every heat-related issue you can think of with a commercial oven, and we know how to diagnose the problem and provide you with an efficient, long-term solution. Today, we’ll zoom out a bit on this subject:There are a few specific heating concerns that may take place in your oven beyond “it won’t heat at all,” and these often give you good clues about which elements might be causing the root problem. Let’s go over a couple common scenarios to look out for here.

Not Cooking Evenly

In some cases, ovens will cook your desired baking products,but will not cook them evenly. Some pieces might be toasty brown while others are full-on burned, but still others aren’t coloured at all. To confirm that this is the issue taking place in your oven, do a test using products or materials that have to spread out horizontally – a batch of cookies is a good example, or a baked cake.

The most common cause of this issue is the first one we mentioned in part one of this blog: Issues with the heating elements in the oven. You can do a quick visual test to see if all your heating elements are glowing the proper shade of red to see whether this is the problem. If not,check your temperature sensors and see if they need to be replaced.

In still other cases, the issue might just be getting used to your new oven a little bit more. You might be placing your oven racks inefficiently, for instance, or performing some part of the maintenance process incorrectly in a way that leads to uneven heat. Spend some time figuring out howto bake and rotate items within the oven.

Wrong Temperature

In other cases, the temperature of the oven is consistent throughout – but it’s simply the wrong temperature. This can lead to food being over- or under-cooked, which can have a big impact on your business.

Once again, the first thing to check here is the temperature sensor. Make sure it isn’t touching the inside wall of the oven, which will get much hotter than the rest of the space. If this isn’t the issue, you can use a device called an ohmmeter to test the sensor’s performance. Finally, if none of this does the trick, you may need to manually calibrate the oven’s temperature using your own separate thermometer – our pros can help here if you’re concerned about doing this yourself.

For more on addressing an oven that isn’t heating properly,or to learn about any of our commercial bakery equipment services or supplies,speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today.

Common Commercial Oven Issues, Part 1

At Stratton Sales, we’re proud to be your go-to experts when it comes to repair for commercial bakery equipment. No matter what your issue is, large or small, we can assess the problem and help you find the most cost-effective solution. 

common commercial oven issues

There are a few different issues that might present themselves when speaking specifically about your commercial oven, and we can address all of them for you. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over a few of the most common such issues and what might need to be done about them – in part one here, we’ll discuss one specific issue: An oven that won’t heat up. There are several distinct sub-causes here that you should be aware of. Let’s take a look.

Defective Heating Elements

Commercial ovens use multiple heating elements to create the required temperature for baking, and the most common reason they struggle to heat up properly is that one or more of these elements isn’t working the right way. First check to ensure that your oven is set to the proper setting, then look to see if all your heating elements are glowing red – this is a telltale sign that they are working.

If one or more elements isn’t working, it may need to be replaced. In other cases, electrical issues in the wiring may be causing this element to be faulty, and you might just need to have a few things tweaked. 

Igniter Issues

In other cases, the bake ignitor might be the reason your oven isn’t heating up. This is a more common issue when the oven simply won’t heat at all, rather than only heating partially. 

If you think this is your issue, first shut off the gas to your oven and pull it away from the wall. Find the ignitor, which is located on the back of the oven. You will then need to use an item called a multimeter to detect whether the ignitor has power – our pros can help with this if you’re unsure how. 

Sensor or Bulb Problems

Most modern ovens have sensors that monitor and control temperatures, but these can go out and not display correctly. Other ovens without sensors, though, use a temperature-sensing bulb to control temperature – but again, this can go out or become loose. 

Thermostat and Calibration

If you’ve tried all of the above with no success, consider your thermostat and selector switches. The former might be defective or just sticking, while the latter might be defective and stopping you from switching between various cooking settings.

Furthermore, your oven may need to be calibrated. This is done using a dial on the back of your temperature knob, or sometimes at the bottom of the small shaft. For more on what the causes of your oven not heating might be, or to learn about any of our commercial ovens or other baking equipment, speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today. 

kitchen equipment matters ROI

Why Kitchen Equipment Matters for ROI

2018 holiday baking trends

2018 Holiday Baking Trends

Fall is upon us with winter quickly on the way, and for the professional bakers among us, this is an exciting time of year. The cool season is associated with several notable baking trends and yearly stand-bys, including a few seasonal elements that aren’t too popular at other times of the year.

At Stratton Sales, when we aren’t helping provide you with high-quality baking and industrial kitchen equipment or offering technical support for these products, we can help offer expertise on some of the more fun elements of baking – such as seasonal holiday baking trends for the year 2018. Here are a few to consider, including a couple that are popular every year around this time.

Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin is most popular right around Halloween, but it continues to be a great baking choice throughout the winter. Part of the draw here is absolutely the seasonal, limited-time nature – people know they only have so long before pumpkin products aren’t on the shelves anymore, and they get very excited about buying them.

You might consider pumpkin spice brownies, which will then incentivize your customers to come right back for candy cane brownies or other Christmas treats. Using this seasonal fad as a way to introduce clients to some of your best offerings is a great strategy for adding to your business.

Warm, Savory Flavors

During the cooler parts of the year, we all seek comfort and happiness from warm things. Think of curling up in blankets by the fire during a snowstorm, for instance – the cold makes getting warm feel all that much better.

This can be applied to your baking themes as well. Consider flavor accents like bacon, smoke and bourbon, each of which add a warm nuance to your baked goods. Even if these aren’t the primary flavors in your products, using them as a little texture will subconsciously draw clients back to your products.

Exotic Donut Fillings

Donuts are a great winter treat, and getting creative with the fillings is all the rage in recent years. If you already have great donuts, consider pairing them with new fillings like lavender, hibiscus, rose or other floral notes. If you want to go a bit more botanical instead, consider flavors like basil, thyme or rosemary.

Ruby Chocolate

White chocolate was the last major chocolate invention over 80 years ago, but there’s a new one making the rounds: Ruby chocolate. This is a pink-tinted chocolate with a berry flavor, all from the natural Ruby cocoa bean. This earthy origin and unique flavor is making ruby chocolate more and more popular, and could be a great way to draw new customers this winter.

For more on holiday and winter baking trends for 2018, or to learn about any of our bakery equipment or supplies, speak to the staff at Stratton Sales today.

maximizing bakery space

Maximizing Your Bakery Space

essential equipment bakery

Essential Equipment for Every Bakery

Any bakery, large or small, needs the proper equipment to operate both safely and efficiently. Just like a homebuilder can’t work without tools, a great baker and staff can’t accomplish their goals and serve their clients without the right baking materials.

At Stratton Sales, we’re here to provide your bakery with all these products. We source from the top manufacturers in the industry to bring you the highest quality bakery supplies, from mixers and dough trays to commercial ovens and industrial kitchen equipment. Our experts are in tune with the most important needs of your space – here are five vital pieces of baking equipment that virtually any bakery needs.

Mixer

If you’re a bakery that uses its own dough – which most bakeries do – you absolutely must have a bakery mixer on hand. Mixers use a gear-driven arm that rotates in circular motions, helping stir, whisk and beat dough and other materials as they’re being prepared. This arm is attached to a set of beaters, which do the actual mixing, but these beaters can also be replaced with a dough hook to help with kneading.

Our dough mixers come with timers and controls that allow you to specify their uses. They can run at various speeds and both clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on your needs.

Oven

Likely the first item many people think about when they hear the word “bakery,” the oven is another must-have essential in your kitchen. There are several different types of industrial and commercial ovens on the market depending on your needs, from convection ovens for sweeter treats like cakes and cookies to tunnel ovens for the largest industrial baking operations. Ask our experts about which of our ovens might be best for your space and output needs.

Proofer

The dough proofer is an item that’s used often during the process of helping dough rise. “Proofing” is a common baking term that refers to the final part of the rising process, one where the bread ferments and allows yeast to leaven the dough. The proofer’s job is to help control the heat and humidity of the dough, keeping it spread evenly across the entire product for consistent quality. Once again, there are several proofer options out there depending on your needs.

Bread Slicer

Particularly for bakeries where bread is a primary focus, the bread slicer is a must. Many of your clients will expect their bread sliced, and having these pieces of equipment also helps significantly with bagging and organizing bread. Slicers have the capability to cut into a variety of sizes and styles as you require.

Pans and Bakeware

Finally, any bakery needs clean, sanitary spaces to cook on and store things in. In general, the best bakeries look for the highest quality products here – it’s better to pay a bit more up front for the best and most durable materials, rather than going cheaper and being forced to replace more often. We have a variety of pans and other bakeware that fit different bakery sizes and needs.

For more on the most essential baking equipment materials, or to learn about any of our industrial kitchen equipment, speak to the pros at Stratton Sales today.

Commercial Bakery Equipment Hobart

Troubleshooting a Hobart Mixer

Commercial bakery equipment is designed and manufactured to provide years of reliable use.

When you use your equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep up with the recommended maintenance regimen, you’ll enjoy consistent quality with very little downtime. However, no matter how diligent you are, you’re bound to have the occasional glitch in equipment that you use daily.

Hobart mixers are a standard in commercial bakeries, thanks to this brand’s quality and durability. If yours starts to give you trouble, you can take some preliminary steps to troubleshoot the problem before you place a commercial mixer repair call.

If Your Mixer Is Making Unusual Noises

Nothing sends a commercial baking operation into a frenzy like a mixer that starts making unusual squealing, squeaking or grinding sounds.

This may indicate a loose bolt or a dry seal. If you regularly lubricate the planetary seal, you’re unlikely to experience this problem. However, if you haven’t done so in a while, you can try rubbing some mineral oil into the seal.

Usually, however, the sudden development of a strange noise coming from any piece of commercial bakery equipment should send you straight to the phone to schedule a visit from the repair tech.

If Your Mixer Has No Power

Whenever commercial bakery equipment has no power, start by checking the breaker and making sure the mixer is plugged in. You may roll your eyes at this request but you’d be surprised by how often equipment gets unplugged in a commercial setting.

Next, check to make sure everything is seated properly. If the bowl isn’t in the right position or if the protective wire cage isn’t placed correctly, your mixer won’t start.

If everything is plugged in and properly situated, you may have overheated the motor. Try letting it sit for 15 or 20 minutes and try again. If that doesn’t work, call your commercial baking equipment repair professional.

If Your Mixer Bowl or Dough Hook Won’t Seat Properly

If the mixer bowl won’t latch properly into place, check the latches and tabs to make sure they haven’t gotten inadvertently bent.  If the dough hook won’t go into place, check to see if you have buildup on the spindle. If so, clean it off to resolve the problem.

For other problems, refer to the troubleshooting section of your user’s manual. If you don’t find the answers you need, don’t waste any more time trying to resolve the situation yourself.

Stratton Sales supplies industrial kitchen and commercial bakery equipment in Utah and throughout the U.S. We also provide commercial baking equipment repair and maintenance. Our experienced repair technicians can quickly troubleshoot your mixer and complete the necessary repairs, getting you and your team back to work. Call on the Stratton Sales team for all your bakery equipment and supplies as well as commercial bakery equipment repair.