Dough division

The dividing of the dough means it is possible to get the dough pieces to the weight required. It is a very important step in the dough processing process. Here is an overview of the various types of dividers in order to divide the dough after mixing.

The baker takes the dough out of the mixer to put in plastic trays.
 

  • The quantity to put in each tray is weighed, depending on the number of divisions of the machines and the weights required to obtain individual dough pieces. For example, with a hydraulic divider 20 divisions, for a required weight for each individual dough ball of 600grs, then it is necessary to weigh 12Kgs in each tray (20 x 0.6Kgs).
     
  • This step called weighing and putting into trays is done as many times as necessary in order to empty the mixer. This step is time consuming and tedious for bakers but it does help to gain time compared to manual division where bakers have to weigh each dough piece individually.
     
  • The most standard model will be the 20 division divider because it is easy to work out the number of trays for the division of the dough. The shape of the tank of the divider can either be round or square. The main advantage of a square divider is that the dough balls all have the same shape (usually of a rectangle shape to ease moulding). The hydraulic dividers with round tanks tend to disappear off the market because they offer little flexibility. Indeed, it is not possible to add a grid holder to make up a divider-shaper, unlike square dividers.
     
  • A new generation of baking machines, most commonly called divider-shapers, was born mid 2000. They revolutionise the principles of baking and dough processing because they divide as well as shape (or "mould") the dough balls, all in one machine. They replace a divider and a moulder (please refer to "divider-shapers" in the machine range). It will be possible to work on long fermented dough.
     
  • Also, there are some hydraulic dividers that are better than others and respect the dough more. This is the case for those equipped with a pressure sensor.  Depending on the type and consistency of the dough, the baker can easily choose the adapted pressure. It is a compromise between the respect of the dough to keep an airy structure and a good moulding to get regular weight.
     
  • Even if hydraulic dividers are a time saving items compared to manual division, they do not offer the same productivity as automatic dividers, like volumetric dividers and gravitational dividers.

Unlike manual division or division with a hydraulic divider, all of the mixed dough can be placed in the hopper of the automatic divider.

 

  • This represents an important time saving (between 20-30 minutes per mix) because there is no need to weigh the dough pieces or the blocks of dough.
     
  • The operator can select the settings depending on the volume of dough required and the automatic divider will divide into dough pieces individually on the volumetric divider belt.
     
  • There is no dough piece weighing as such, but the piston pace is set to suck up the dough and eject the corresponding volume.
     
  • The main asset of the automatic division with volumetric dividers is time saving but also the comfort for the operator should also be taken into account. Indeed, when paired with a bowl lift, the dough can be tipped directly from the mixer into the hopper of the divider.
     
  • This solution is very often used to feed an automatic proofer, which will allow to give proofing to the dough and will ease its elongation in a moulder.
     
  • To divide high hydrated doughs or as opposed very hard doughs.
     
  • For doughs with long fermentation, with this type of volumetric divider, it is nearly impossible to obtain regular weight; unless a model with a closed hopper is chosen.
     
  • Some models have a closed hopper unlike the most classical model with open hopper. Some can have either open or closed hopper. So it means it is possible to start with a standard hopper and invest in a closed hopper when there is a need to automate fermented dough division.
     
  • The closed hopper with compressed air will pressurize dough as the hopper empties.  This provides a constant pressure on the piston, which improves considerably the regularity in weight during division of hydrated doughs with long fermentation. The principle provides pressure by pushing the dough so that it feeds well into the piston, especially in the middle of the division process when there is less dough in the hopper.
     
  • There are two options for feeding the dough pieces from the divider automatically to the proofer.  These 2 options provide 2 different shaped dough piece possibilities.
     
  • Either with a pre-rounding arm on out feed belt or with a pre-elongation system for the dough pieces. The main goal of this step of the dough processing process is to put in regular shapes all dough pieces that come out of the automatic divider, before they are fed automatically in a fermentation chamber and baked.
     
  • The rounding can be done on the exit belt of the volumetric divider or in a conical rounder. It is recommended for dough pieces that would be shorter in terms of moulding or for country style round breads for example.
     
  • On the other hand, for long breads like baguettes, it is better to pre-elongate the dough pieces rather than rounding them. Indeed the gluten network is structured in the right way for moulding long baguettes, without having to finish elongation by hand or having to laminate and degas too much in the moulder. This solution optimizes the respect of the dough and the elongation of the dough pieces.

 

Ideal solution for bakers who want to produce breads with a precise weight, with no stress on the dough, included very hydrated doughs with long fermentation.

 

  • The principle of these automatic machines is to make the dough come down by gravity from the top of the hopper towards a belt on which there is a very precise control system for weighing the dough. Depending on the weight required for the dough pieces, a guillotine will cut a strip of dough and the dough pieces come out on a belt to go towards other machines. The dough is hardly worked on by the machine so not to damage the airy open cell structure. A system of oscillating rolls decreases the height of the strip of dough. The weight control system will re-adjust continuously the parameters within the weight range desired.
     
  • We can compare these dividers to universal dividers in the way that they can work with hard doughs (less than 50% water) as well as soft doughs (up to 80% water or even more depending on the type of flour used).
     
  • Because they are equipped with a permanent control system for consistency in weight, they are particularly suited when there is a need to divide automatically doughs like traditional baguettes, country style baguettes, ciabatta, country style round breads, multi-grain breads, artisan breads, rustic breads, small breads, round breads and sourdough.
     
  • Most of the time this divider can be connected to a moulder or a rounder, by deleting the step going into a proofer. The bulk fermentation, whether in a mixer or tray, will develop the airy structure and do not need time in a proofing chamber.
Diviseuse-bouleuse-automatique-Polo-Auto

The divider-rounder will divide blocks of dough to round them in order to produce small breads.

 

  • The weight range will go from 20grs to 150grs per dough ball, depending on the model selected.
     
  • After mixing, the operator will weigh blocks of dough (like with a hydraulic divider), depending on the number of divisions of his machine (from 12 to 50 divisions most of the time) and the weight of the dough ball required. For example, if the baker has a 30 division divider and he wants dough ball weighing 60grs, he will weigh blocks of dough weighing 1800grs.
     
  • Then, the block of dough is placed on a tray and introduced in a divider rounder. The process that presses the dough for spreading it, then divides and rounds is done by the divider rounder machine. The automation of this process depends on the model of the machine purchased.
     
  • These small balls can then go directly in fermentation before baking or can be moulded in a moulder.
     
  • There are some fully automated lines for dividing-rounding continuously with loading of the dough balls in a proofer, then automatic feeding in a moulder to mould the dough balls into elongated breads. They can also include systems for automatic deposit on trays.