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Asked on 20.07.2022.

Soda Crackers - problems with lamination , "fish mouth", and amount of pressure?

We are having different issues with our Soda Crackers running through lamination. He has times where the dough will roll under a relaxation conveyor or right after it. We have been having an issue with a "fish mouth cracker". last but not least we can't put the normal amount of pressure on the crackers to get the height and weight right. We change our pressure roller out more frequently than normal due to the amount of pressure we add.

Our dough have been more on the softer side over the past couple of week.

Answered on 27.07.2022.

I’d like to focus on the softer dough and fish mouth problem which is driven by potentially a number of factors . Without fully understanding how soft your dough is and reasons over the last few weeks why as of late doughs you’ve experienced dough rheology differences. This issue can be attributed to a recent change in flour quality , ingredient delivery accuracy , changes in mixing , dough temperature, enzyme activation, inexperienced personnel and environmental changes in the plant during the hotter summer months.  Fish mouth crackers are typically driven not enough pressure during cutting caused by numerous factors .  Having the correct durameter of the back up roll, cutting apron material, cutter condition  , cutter design of the land and type of material used on the cutter also plays a big role on maintaining uniform cutting across the band.  Understanding is the fish mouth problem is localized in one area or randomly happening across the dough sheet. For sure the softer doughs are not helping the situation causing the machine captain to run the process which makes it easier for him not to do any more work that is necessary by backing off in the cut as not to deal with constant dough jams and wrap around at the cutter. Confirm you have the right material for conveying belts for your specific dough type , utilizing skinning fans and managing dusting flour correctly . You may want to check with your mill to assure your flour quality is meeting specification and hasn’t changed , lower dough water level while potentially cooling down your doughs especially in these warmer months . 

Answered on 21.07.2022.

Dear Mr Stewart

Will you able to share the photograph of the cracker which has deformation after cutting.  Also please check the shore hardness of the rubber roller.  It should be 75-80mho.  If you give me the photograph I can think about the solution.

Answered on 23.07.2022.

Dear Stewart

Could you give more information about the process you are using with a photo of the cracker problems. 

From your comments Its a bit confusing as the normal method for making Soda Crackers is Lamination, sheeting and cutting but you mention pressure roller which is a term for equipment used in rotary moulding and "fish mouth" isn't a term I have come across before

Andrew Hughes

Answered on 25.07.2022.

Yes, the odd shaped crackers we think we got under control by lowering the temperature of the dough. We laminate our crackers first through a 4 row sheeter then the sheets are layered.  Our pressure roller is under our die roller right after the relaxation conveyor.  We are loosing height of the cracker but also the dough is dipping under the relaxation conveyor. I'll get with maintenance about the hardness of the pressure roller today.

Answered on 25.07.2022.

Hi Stewart

A higher dough will definitely result in softer doughs, because higher temperatures speeds up the rate of fermentation producing more acidity in the dough and making the gluten more extensible. During sheeting a  soft dough will also fuse together more easily after lamination creating less expansion in the oven. If you are using layering powder you could try increasing the quantity which will help keep the layers separate and increase the baked volume.

There are different designs of rotary cutting machines which may be single or twin stage (cutter and emboss) but in both cases the  rubber roller is located directly beneath the the cutter and its function is to provide a solid but compressible surface which allows pressure to be applied with the cutting die causing it to cut through the dough piece.  Its not likely that the amount of pressure required to cut through the dough would result in thin crackers 

Andrew Hughes

Answered on 26.07.2022.

This is the picture of the crackers. This is happening only on the last row of crackers.(The West side of the oven. 

Answered on 26.07.2022.

Cracker problemsCracker problems

Answered on 27.07.2022.
Answered on 27.07.2022.
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