“We are experiencing quality variations from our dough freezing process”
“Our notepad record keeping for the freezing process is spotty and inconclusive. We’re depending exclusively on the control panel setting, and lacking dough data.”
“What’s the best way to ensure consistency with our freezer operation for quality control?”
Validate and Record your freezer cycle data with M.O.L.E. Thermal Profiling
Key operational points during dough and batter freezing include:
- Freezing cycle time
- Freezer temperature (set point) required to achieve internal dough storage temperature in the time necessary to achieve desired throughput capacity
- Rate of temperature decrease (slope of cooling curve)
- Internal temperature of product (key if formulation changes are done)
The frozen dough market is growing every day and becoming more important for bakeries who offer “ready-to-proof” and “ready-to-bake” frozen dough for the production of a wide variety of products like par-baked, artisan bread and laminated products instead of baking from scratch.
Freezing operations are key processes for frozen dough and frozen batter manufacturers. Freezing dough allows bakers to accumulate and store inventory. This is particularly important for holidays and summer times where the demand for bread, buns and other bakery products peaks. Dough and batter freezing has become a supply chain and logistics game changer. Freezing extends the shelf-life of dough, allowing bakers to reach distant markets and continue to grow their business.
Several aspects of the freezing operation require close control and attention to guarantee intended dough shelf-life and excellent texture of the baked goods. Thermal profiling can help ensure that the freezing process is successful and process parameters are being properly monitored and controlled.
- Utilize the same 3, 6 or 20-channel M.O.L.E.® thermal profiler, thermal barrier and thermocouples that you’d use for oven or kill step profiling.
- Determined by the dimensions of the freezer, decide how many dough locations you want to measure in order to obtain a thorough representation for quality assurance.
- Play out appropriate sensor lead wire lengths and secure on connector winder sticks ahead of time.
- Ensure the thermal barrier is cooled from any previous oven profiling activity, so as not to unnecessarily burden the freezer.
- To minimize freezer door opening time, walk in with the profile rig, insert thermocouple tips half-way into separate dough pieces, turn on the M.O.L.E., start recording, ensure you see the 1-second sample rate flash, then close and latch the lid on the thermal barrier, close the freezer and begin the blast cycle.
- Upon completion of the blast freezing process, remove profile rig along with instrumented dough pieces. Remove the M.O.L.E. from the barrier for data downloading and set the frozen dough pieces aside on an empty tray to thaw for easy sensors removal.
- Tip: Ordering a set of more robust stainless steel over-braid thermocouples for your freezer profiling will net more usage cycles.
- And for cold chain management during shipments, consider the popular MiniM.O.L.E. rH temperature and relative humidity display logger.
The operating range of current ECD M.O.L.E.® thermal profilers is more than sufficient to handle the freezers profiling application. Placed inside the stainless steel covered insulation box extends the ability of the internal battery to deliver current for a much longer period of time, sufficient for the frozen dough process.
- Validate freezer control calibration accuracy for scheduling PM cycles prior to inoperability
- Understand freezer performance vs. actual internal dough temperature at multiple locations
- The ability to provide quality assurance data to your customers is a great selling tool
- Having historical data to fall back on after an equipment maintenance cycle, plant HVAC incident or ingredients reformulation is much more actionable