The most of the people eating biscuits cannot imagine the work behind the development process of each biscuit. Every project demands care and attention because the details and the look of the final result depends on how the mould has been created. For some it may seems simple and maybe boring, quite the opposite it’s exciting to see how the decisions made to manufacture a mould have an effect on the appearance of the final products.
In this article we would like to focus the attention to the function of holes in biscuits and crackers.
There are many biscuits designed with holes in them and the reason behind this can be unclear to people who are not in the business, allow us to provide some clarity here.
The holes in the biscuits are called docker holes and they are made for two main reasons:
- Technical reason: the holes through the biscuits enables the steam created inside the dough during baking to pass through and this prevents the swelling. The holes permit to keep a uniform shape of the biscuit that is important not only for the look of the biscuit itself but also to prevent the formation of small fractures that could bring the product to break during the following production phases (stacking and packaging).
- Aesthetical reason: the holes perform a decorative function.
The docker holes used to release the steam from dough piece are used both with short doughs (soft biscuits) and with hard and laminated doughs (cracker and hard biscuits).
The holes are realized by means of small pins, which can be made of metal (brass or stainless steel) and inserted in the mould or they can be drawn directly from the material of the mould.
The docker pins are used on moulds for soft biscuits mainly when they are produced on ovens with steel band (they are usually baked on ovens with wire-mesh conveyor) or if the dough contains more dampness than usual. Sometimes the docker pins are used also to hold the dough pieces inside the cavities of the mould and prevent them from releasing prematurely.
The cracker and hard biscuits are usually produced with wetter doughs, which require to be drilled to reduce the excess moisture in almost all cases except small products and uncommon hard doughs
The piercing of the dough piece is so important that we as Padovani, have to pay close attention to the material and dimensions of the docker pins (diameter and height), the shape of pin itself (round, squared), the type of tip (rounded, cone-shaped, flat etc.) and we have to propose the right positioning over the dough piece, depending on the type of dough and the shape of the product.
As just said, this matter plays an important role especially for cracker and some other laminated products, to the point that some customers, using a rotary cutting machine with roller pairs, often decide to have a single roller dedicated only to this function called dockering roller. This choice has the advantage of adjust the “drilling depth” according to the height of the dough sheet and the type of dough to be pierced, in addition they can decide to use this dockering roller in combination with various cutting rollers, shapes permitting.
Even when talking about the decorative function the docker holes are used on moulds for soft biscuits and for hard biscuits equally.
In both cases we are always available to study with the customer the right solutionto produce nice and pleasant biscuits.
In instances where the biscuits are requested with bigger decorative holes, these cannot always be made using simple docker pins and it’s necessary to do in a different way.
When talking about soft biscuits there is no problem because, being the dough forced into the cavities of the mould and then extracted, this system allows to do the mould with protrusions where the holes should be and the biscuits are formed with holes without problems.
On the contrary for hard biscuits the holes can be achieved with two different systems:
- in the same way as the soft biscuits with protrusions where the holes should be, which push the dough sheet against the underlying belt, the central cut scraps are then collected by the scrap collection system;
- by means of cutting outlines, creating central scraps where the holes should be: the dough is not pushed in correspondence of the holes, there is a special cutting edge that cut the holes is made with a sort of indentation to help the cut scraps to adhere to the belt and then be collected by the scrap collection system.
As you have seen, the biscuit world hides a lot of unexpected backgrounds.
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