Bakery Equipment - Dough Divider
A dough divider is one of the most important pieces of baking equipment used in commercial bread making setups. Its primary role is to separate prepared dough into equal-size pieces. The equal portions will allow all the dough pieces in the same batch to bake evenly. These machines are often hand-driven, with a manual adjustment to set the preferred size of the divided dough pieces. More modern dividers, however, are automated and require only that an operator feed the dough, with the rest of the process being taken care of by the machine itself. Some of these dividers are also equipped with state-of-the-art software that greatly improves accuracy, and makes large-scale bread making even more efficient.
In small and medium sized bakeries, the traditional crank type divider is commonly used. Like the name suggests, a simple crank is used to drive the dough-cutting part of the machine, with the cut pieces being pushed out by the same operation onto a conveyor. Users can adjust the size of the pieces by weight. In the bread making industry, dough dividers are usually categorized according to the number of dough pieces they can process every minute, or strokes per minute. Most are rated from 2-9 pieces per minute, and referred to as tandem dough dividers. In practice, the higher the device's rating, the better it is, since dough consistency varies as time passes by. The faster the machine processes the dough, the less risk there is for the dough to soften, which then leads to pieces that differ in weight. Operators compensate for this by constantly monitoring the cylinder volume during the process, and adjusting as needed.
Hydraulic-driven dough dividers are easier to operate than crank-type ones. These are often made of stainless steel, with some models having enhanced features such as self-cleaning or lubrication and remote weight control.