- Fork Mixers :
At VMI, there is not just one Fork Mixer but numerous Fork Mixers, with arms specifically tailored to different types of dough:
o Phebus Arm : low hydrated dough (<60%) requiring an important shearing
o Rex Arm: average hydrated dough (de 60 à 64%) for more honeycombed breads.
o Mahot Arm : highly hydrated dough (> 64%)
- Spiral Mixers:
They are capable of mixing very small amounts of dough by relation to the volume of their bowl. Fork Mixers transmit more quickly the necessary energy for mixing the dough.
They provide very traditional dough mixing, very slow, mixing the dough by stretching and blowing.
We are seeing a return to a more traditional type of dough mixing, more respectful to flavors and aromas. The quality sought after by bakers passes without a doubt by a finer control of the mixing process, more easily attainable with forks. Spiral mixers provide an additional flexibility in the bakery, making possible the mixing of smaller amounts of dough. Double-arm mixers, even though providing a very traditional mixing, do not seem to be able to combine the productivity requirement to the undeniable quality achieved.
Should we choose the type of mixer depending on the manufactured product? For what reasons essentially?> Answer
Fork Mixers :
They are well adapted to traditional bread dough. They provide a mixing with a minimum oxidation of the dough, thus best preserving the natural aromas and flavors. Some adapted tools (Mahot, Phebus, or Rex) should be selected to optimize the outcome, principally depending on the hydration rate of the dough.
They transmit an energy to the dough more quickly than forks. There is a risk of over-mixing and non-compliance to the aromas and flavors. They are well suited to bread making in small quantities.
They provide a very slow mixing, very respectful of the dough, but often incompatible with the production constraints of today's bakers who are required to produce several types of bread during the day. The Double-arm Mixers allow achieving breads of big seed cells.
How do different types of mixers behave according to the method of kneading (Improved mixing, Intensive mixing, Low speed mixing)?> Answer
- Fork Mixers :
Improved mixing with Rex or Mahot arm
Intensive mixing with Phebus arm
- Spiral Mixers:
- Double-Arm Mixers:
Low speed mixing
Benefiting from a driven bowl on a fork mixer, whether equipped with a removable bowl or not, is
o The guarantee of perfect reproducibility of recipes, from a mold to another and from an operator to another.
o The ability to mix smaller amounts of dough in a bowl of a certain volume.
The VMI fork mixers with a driven bowl are all equipped with a speed regulator that allows each baker the adjustment of his bowl's rotation speed in accordance with his own speed. It is possible to disengage the driving system, for example, at the end of work, so the baker can, if desired, check by himself the last rounds of mixing. Respect for tradition is today, and through the driving of VMI fork mixer bowls, perfectly compatible with the modern requirements of productivity, diversity and reproducibility.
It is needless to mention again the virtues of the use of leaven in bread making. (See Mixing Know-How – Yeast bread / sourdough bread / polish bread). But every baker knows how difficult it is to get a good leaven and all the attention it requires. That is why VMI has developed a self-fermenter of liquid leaven, the AF 100, which simplifies the life of a baker by providing him, at all times, a leaven ready for use. Its automated systems of agitation and temperature control allow the very easily monitoring of the water-flour-ferment mixture homogeneity, the quality of oxidation, the pH level as well as the speed of fermentation, and without the need for particular attention from the baker. Four possible processes (starter, refreshed, fermented dough or refreshed + fermented dough combination) provide an extreme versatility. The AF 100, all made of stainless steel, can be easily cleaned and hence ensures full compliance with all rules of hygiene.
MAHOT mixers nowadays are considered as the Rolls Royce of mixers. It is thanks to both its legendary strength and the dough mixing quality it provides, that this more than centenary brand (See our history), owes its unparalleled reputation in the world of dough mixing. It originated with a man, Mr Mahot, keen observer, perfectionist and passionate by dough mixing, who, year after year, model after model, was able to develop mixing and unprecedented mechanical transmission mechanisms. These mixers are the real precursors of all other fork mixers with arms that were designed since then. The MAHOT mixers were subjected to various improvements of which the major one shall remain with no doubt the development in early 1960 by Mr. Michel Bouton of a revolutionary arm. The ends of this arm, in the shape of blades, can inject a large amount of air in the dough by natural aspiration, leading to a significant oxygenation and a fast bleaching without excessive heating and without distorting the taste of bread. This arm is also designed to hold back the bowl and hence optimizing the energy transmission to the dough. This arm, always marked with M.B. initials (Michel Bouton), is still one that equips VMI MAHOT mixers and contributes to the uniqueness of this so prestigious line.
It is advisable to regularly pay attention to mixer wear and to their adjustments. Indeed, wear and a bad adjustment lead, the one or the other, to a lower quality mixing and therefore to a less homogeneous dough. It can therefore gradually alter the final quality of the bread. A fork mixer with a worn triangular arm will not have the same shearing rate and will produce hotter dough. Similarly, a worn spiral mixer will produce less shearing over the pivot and thus will yield hotter dough.
When dough mixing, the aluminum bowl hampers more the dough on startup and then smoothes it with time. There are more beams in an aluminum bowl (abrasiveness of the bowl). However, the aluminum bowl darkens sometimes pastry creams and the aluminum can react with certain products, which is the case of some cleaning products. The stainless steel bowl, however, continuously softens the dough. In case of heavy moisturizing, the stainless steel bowl can alter the texture of the dough. However, this minor inconvenient does not prevent the current trend which sees a gradual replacement of aluminum bowls in bakeries by stainless steel bowls, in particular due to the greater ease of cleaning offered by the latter.