Batter Mixing2019-04-24T13:53:50-07:00

Batter mixing is a process in which basic cake ingredients are mixed to form a smooth, aerated and semi-fluid mass that can be poured or deposited into pans.

Batter Mixing


What is Batter Mixing?

Batter mixing is a process in which basic cake ingredients are mixed to form a smooth, aerated and semi-fluid mass that can be poured or deposited into pans.

Batter mixing is quite different from dough mixing. This is because the water, fat, sugar and egg levels are much greater in cake than in bread formulations, resulting in a totally different system after mixing.

How does it work?

Unlike bread systems where dough development is the main objective, the goal in batter mixing is to form a stable and viscous oil/water emulsion that incorporates air in the form of finely dispersed gas cells.

A batter is considered a multi-phase mixture. Water-soluble solids such as salts, egg proteins, chemical leaveners and sugars are located in the aqueous phase of the emulsion where flour particles are colloidally suspended. Poorly soluble and very unstable air molecules are typically  entrapped in the fat phase.

Typical batter composition

Ingredient Baker’s %
Cake flour 100.0
Fat 40.0–50.0
Sugar >100.0 (high-ratio cakes)

<100.0 (low-ratio cakes)

Total hydration (from liquid whole eggs and water) 100.0–130.0*
Baking powder 1.0–5.0

Application

There are several batter mixing methods used in the production of cakes. The most relevant ones include:

  • Single stage (all-in)
  • Multi-stage
  • Creaming
  • Blending
  • Continuous

Each mixing method has its own specifications, advantages and disadvantages. The following table summarizes these methods:1

Single stage Multi-stage Creaming Blending Continuous
Processing (order of ingredient addition)
  1. All liquids
  2. Shortening and dry ingredients
  3. Mix to SG
  1. All dry ingredients
  2. 30–40% of total liquid ingredients (mix until smooth)
  3. 20% more of liquids (mix)
  4. Remaining liquids
  5. Mix to SG
  1. Sugar, shortening and emulsifier (mix)
  2. Liquid whole eggs (gradually) and mix
  3. Dry ingredients and water/milk
  4. Mix to SG
  1. Flour, shortening and emulsifier (mix)
  2. Liquid whole eggs (slowly) and mix
  3. ½ total water (mix until smooth)
  4. Dry ingredients (mix until smooth)
  5. Remaining water (gradually
  6. Mix to SG
  1. Blend all ingredients (liquid and dry) to form slurry
  2. Continuous mixing to SG
Advantages Labor savings

Shorter mixing time

Quick and simple processing

Versatile system

All dry materials are handled in one stage

Reduces the chance of lumps of flour and/or

shortening

Excellent aeration of batter

Better volume

Finer cells when emulsifiers are not available

Best option if volume is the primary goal

Increased cake tenderness (gluten development is limited by fat coating)

Able to use stronger and higher protein flours

Best option if tenderness and mouthfeel are the primary goal

Widely used in high-speed operations

Labor savings

Automated processing (air injection, temperature, dwell time, production rate)

Real-time control of SG

Disadvantages Long mixing times

Higher changes of scaling errors

Curdling risks (phase separation) due to liquids being added to quickly

Long mixing times Long mixing times High capital costs

Undermixing effect on batter (high specific gravity):2

Batter Finished Product
  • Improper incorporation of ingredients
  • Insufficient air incorporation
  • Fewer cells established
  • Denser grain (hard mouthfeel)
  • Low volume

Overmixing effect on batter (low specific gravity):2

Batter Finished Product
  • Batter is over aerated (excess air incorporation)
  • Lower gas stability
  • Tender, crumbly crumb
  • Greater volume
  • Possible cracks on surface
  • Poor symmetry (collapsed cells)

Batter mixing equipment

Batters can be mixed with the same equipment used for bread dough mixing (e.g. vertical mixer, spiral mixer). The only change that is needed is the attachment or beater. Instead of an arm or hook (used to developed gluten), a wire whip and/or paddle are used. These provide a blending and stirring pattern that provide the correct mixing conditions to create the batter.

Mixing time of batter is governed by the extent of air incorporation (aeration). Reaching a given specific gravity (SG) during mixing takes time, and each type of cake requires a batter with a unique SG or aeration level.

Batter temperature after mixing should be in the range of  68–72°F (20–22°C). Cold batter temperatures are very helpful  during batter mixing for 2 reasons:

  1. Lower temperatures provide stability to the batter emulsion by increasing viscosity (shortening becomes thicker at lower temperatures). Higher viscosities create more resistance to the movement of gas bubbles trying to escape from the batter system.
  2. Lower temperatures increase the solubility of gases dissolved in the batter (according to Henry’s Law). This helps retain gas bubbles as much as possible (both air and carbon dioxide released from chemical leavening reactions).

As a general rule, the higher the rotation speed, the faster and greater the aeration. Higher RPM can be used to achieve a certain SG value in a shorter mixing time.

References

  1. Tireki, S. “Technology of Cake Production.” Food Engineering Aspects of Baking Sweet Goods, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, 2008, pp. 149–155.
  2. Bennion, E.B., and Bamford, G.S.T. “Cake-making Processes.” The Technology of Cake Making, 6th edition, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht, 1997, pp. 251–260.

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