What is a dough divider?
A dough divider is a machine that divides bulk dough into equal dough pieces. It saves you and your bakery from time consuming and laborious dividing and weighing of various dough and pastry. Every piece of the dough has uniform shape and weight. With the high accuracy and high output, the dough divider greatly relieves the manual labor. Moreover, uniform shape and weight ensures every bread is properly and evenly baked, which means there is little chance of making a single bread burnt or underdone.
Meanwhile, dividing dough with an automatic system allows you to focus on other important matters like creating more fantastic and delicious dough.
How to choose the ideal divider for your bakery?
There are different kinds of dough dividers in the global market. Some of them even look pretty much the same. How do you choose the right one for your dough? Here are 5 things you need to consider.
●Desired size of dough pieces
Some dividers have a small range of cutting size like 5g to 300g while some can divide dough into portions of 2g to 800g. You should choose the dough divider based on how many kinds of dough you want to divide. Taking the weight of all the types of bread or pastry in your bakery into consideration is of great importance. However, in terms of the range of cutting size, it is not always the wider the better, especially for baker who are on a tight budget. Dividers with large range of cutting size are naturally more expensive than others. If you already have certain types of bread and you are not going to launch some brand-new products within a period of time, buy the divider with the range that closely meets your requirements. There’s no need to pay for the functions you barely use.
●Moisture content of the dough
The amount of moisture in the dough is an important factor too. The inaccuracy of dough weight may increase if there is much moisture in the dough. And that’s why you may need to tell the recipe to the manufacturer of the divider. The manufacturer will determine if the dough fits the divider. They can even test the machine performance with the recipe you provided.
Never overlook the weight accuracy. How the dough is conveyed, how the cutter works, how the volumetric/weight detecting system works…these all contribute to the weight accuracy. If you are working with a reliable manufacturer, he will provide sufficient videos to prove the weight accuracy of his divider.
●Material of the divider
According to most standards of food processing machinery, food contact materials should not release harmful chemicals and should be cleanable. For the sake of food safety, it is recommended to choose dividers made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is anti-rust, durable and solid, thus dividers have a long service life. It is also easy to clean and maintain, which means you have little mess to clean up afterwards.
●Consistency and fluency of the production
Some bakeries produce various breads and the weight range change from product to product. In that case, you’d better ensure it is easy to replace the dough and it’s fast to adjust the dividing size.
If you’ve already had other bakery equipment like spiral dough mixer and dough rounder, you must make sure the dough divider you’re going to have can be integrated into the production line. In terms of the manufacture, they can customize the divider or provide necessary components to make it fit in.
In a word, a dough divider that requires the least amount of manual operation is the best.
How does a dough divider work?
There are mainly 4 types of dough dividers. Volumetric dough divider and hydraulic dough divider are typical of them. That’s why I choose to explain the differences and general working principles of these two. After all, working principle varies with specific machines.
If you prefer to get to the point, there’s a list at the end of the passage for you, showing all the differences briefly.
Hydraulic dough divider, as implied by its name, has a hydraulic power system. Bakers put the dough on the board, spread the dough evenly to cover the board, and close the lid. The hydraulic system raises the board to the cutter under the lid, thus the dough can be divided into portions according to the shape of cutter. After the dividing is done, bakers need to take out the dough portions and put another dough on the board manually.
For great versatility, you can change the cutter to change the number and the shape of portions. And then you can put dough pieces in specific shapes like diamond directly into the oven.
Volumetric dough divider is significantly different from hydraulic dividers. It always comes with a hopper and a conveyor belt. Put dough into the hopper, and it will be extruded through the outlet and be divided based on volume. Some dividers use vacuum chamber to determine the volume and some use photoelectric sensor to detect the length, that is, the volume of dough pieces. After that, dough pieces will be conveyed automatically to the next process by the conveyor belt.
With same density and volume, the weight of every dough pieces is far more precise than that produced by hydraulic divider. Furthermore, dough pieces divided by volumetric dough division have regular shape. This improves the efficiency of dough rounding, particularly for bakers without automatic dough rounders. The conveyor belt facilitates the connection between the divider and the rounder.
|Hydraulic Dough Divider||Volumetric Dough Divider|
|Necessary Operation Before Dividing||·Put the dough onto the cutter board. ·Spread the dough evenly.||·Put the dough into the hopper. (Manually or automatically)|
|Necessary Operation After Dividing||Take dough portions out.|
|Shape of Dough Portions||Vary from the cutter||Basically unvarying.|
|Number of Dough Portions||Vary from the cutter||Depend on the dough and the cutting size.|
|Is it easy to be integrated with other machines?||No||Yes|
How to define a quality dough divider
We can basically tell if a dough divider is good from these 5 aspects.
The basis of a quality dough divider is high precision. Manufacturers that produces dividers of high precision always take this as a highlight. High precision effectively improves the quality of bakeries and proves manufacturer’s strength.
●Wide dividing range
Dividers with wide range of cutting size are suitable for producing a wide variety of breads. Regardless of how many types of bread you produce now, the chances are that you’ll increase the variety of products in your bakery. Therefore, a divider that cuts a large range of size is quiet necessary.
When choosing a dough divider, it’s vital to ensure that the divider is applicable to various dough or pastry with different moisture content. Products in a bakery generally contain breads made of soft dough, hard tough and medium dough. In addition to dough, sometimes customers also expect dividers to cut stuffings or dessert fillings like sweet bean paste, cheese, date paste, tamarind paste, etc. Versatile divider is a wise choice for bakery equipment distributors as well. Faced with diverse requirements from your customers, a divider that meets the majority of them is right the one you need.
●Easy operation, adjustment, clean and maintenance
We use machines to improve the efficiency and save time. A good divider should be convenient to operate, easy to adjust the cutting size, replace the dough, clean and maintain. If there are other dough processing machines in the bakery, the dough divider you’re going to buy should be easy to connect to other machines.
Food safety is a top priority. For that purpose, dividing machines should be made of healthy, harmless, sanitary and sturdy material like stainless steel. Dividers built in stainless steel are more cleanable and have a longer service life than that built in carbon steel or whatever.
How to clean a dough divider
Different dough dividers have different structures and components, so it is hard to condense the cleaning of every divider into a few words. However, there are 2 things you have to do no matter what dough divider you have.
First, remove the flour between components with wet cloth and bottle brush.
Second, remove the dough sticking to the components. For example, when cleaning the TBMF3 dough divider, you can dismantle the whole dough conveying part and wash and rinse it with water. This easy-to-clean design eases the labor, improves efficiency and ensures food safety.
Here’s a video about how to clean our dough divider.
In a nutshell, dough dividers are supposed to be easy to clean. If you need more info about the cleaning of a particular dough divider, contact the manufacture and they’ll be willing to help.