When is a divider not a divider? When it’s a sheeter, as is the case with Rademaker’s Crusto Bread line. With continuing demand for replicating the characteristic taste and structure of craft-inspired products, this divider alternative claims to lose less gas in the dough through the production of baguettes, free-standing bread and ciabatta.

This is because, rather than dividing, it is based on a sheeting system. Instead of portioning the dough, it forms a continuous dough sheet, resulting in no damage to the gluten network, claims the firm. The dough sheet is produced stress-free, with less shrinkage of the product after cutting, and it is suitable for watery dough types, such as ciabatta.

Several modules are available, including: the X-pack for processing non-fermented stiffer dough types; the Low Stress Sheeter for semi-liquid to liquid dough types, which are fermented before processing; and a new Stress Free Sheeting system for processing liquid and fermented dough types. The latter is already being used in Europe and is also suitable for high-capacity lines.

Rademaker has also developed the "bottom seeder" and the "Baguette Injection line". The "bottom seeder" module moisturises and seeds the bottom of the dough pieces evenly. The Baguette Injection line is a newly developed machine for the production of (garlic) butter-injected baguettes and pistolettes.

Another firm that can handle very wet dough of up to 86% water is Rheon, which offers a range of dough sheeting machines. Its V4 Stress Free Dough Feeders use a patented gravity feed system, which gently moulds the dough to form a continuous sheet without damaging it. The gentle action of the stress-free feed system eliminates the need for intermediate proofing or chemical additives.

Rheon also offers a range of V4 Stress Free Twin Dividers that feature a gravimetric cutting system to control the speed of the guillotine cutter for accurate dough portioning. The gravimetric cutting system is operable with one or two lanes, which allows a wide portioning range using one lane for larger products or two lanes for smaller products. The combination of the circular cutters and the guillotine can produce square or rectangular pieces of set weights, which can be panned or further processed by hand.

Gulliver’s travelled

Italian manufacturer Gulliver Machines, supplied via Interbake, specialises in producing dividers and moulders for specifically shaped products. The machine a Combi Special R Divider has a dividing head on the hopper with a range of cutters that can be quickly interchanged with cutting knives; these will individually cut one piece at a time or will divide from two to six pieces simultaneously. Once the dough piece has been cut to a specific size that encompasses a weight range of 15g up to 1,200g, it can be moulded into various shapes which the machine can adjust by means of a 30-programme memory. Its flexibility allows the baker to manufacture a diverse product range from just one machine.

Also from Interbake is the Daub Slim Dough Divider a practical machine that does not stress the dough when dividing. The machine’s pressureless dividing system is based on a vacuum, preventing the dough from being compressed. This gentle action allows operators to divide up to 1,100 pieces of dough per hour. The four models in this series offer a weight range of 50-1,700g, and options include a rounding device on the outfeed belt, a flour duster and an extended outfeed conveyor to line up with an intermediate prover.

If you want a machine that’s easily adjustable to produce a range of exact-weight portions, dough absorptions and crumb structures, the Vemag Dough Divider from Reiser can make all types of breads, buns, rolls and English muffins. The positive displacement double-screw assures gentle handling of doughs and exact-weight portions, claims the firm. The pumping element doesn’t overwork the dough and can handle a range of absorption rates from 45% to 95% with a quick change of the double-screws from stiff bagel doughs to soft English muffins. It can also produce a range of crumb structures.

Weight portions are precise to 1% standard deviation, and from 5g to 20kg. It can run bread dough in single or double lanes at 200-plus exact-weight pieces per minute. An optional high-speed Servo Divider can output eight lanes of product at up to 300 times per minute.