Gold Peg and continuous: the two go hand in hand!
Our continuous cooking solutions help food manufactures process a large volume of product that is cooked and heated evenly, resulting in a consistent high quality end product.
The age-old debate of continuous versus batch cooking will once again be addressed today. In this blog post, we take a look at some of the immeasurable benefits of continuous, noting where batch often falls short.
Is continuous cooking right for you? Take the test to find out!
Heating by DSI (Direct Steam Injection)
DSI in leading continuous cookers mean that all ingredients and all product gets the same treatment, week in and week out.
When steam is directly injected into the product during the production process where there are multiple injectors in a smaller volume, it achieves fast and even heating. Ensuring all product gets the same heating treatment and providing control over the heating process.
Some batch cookers do use DSI technology too, but often, ports are limited, resulting in insufficient heating and an inconsistent end product.
Compared to batch cooking…
Batch cooker with limited DSI ports:
Batch cookers typically heat a large volume of product with a few DSI heating ports.
Due to the limited ports of these types of DSI batch cookers, product must pass by the heating source long enough or be heated by other product to reach the minimum temperature.
Not only does it result in inconsistent heating and cooking (often overcooking a great percentage to guarantee all has at least reached the minimum temperature for bacteriological safety), but it also means that the entire cooking process is drawn out and takes longer.
A jacketed kettle is a batch cooker that does not use DSI during its process.
“Jacket heating” is a term used where the body or wall of the jacket kettle cooker is heated with the intention to then transfer the heat to the product inside from the metal surface. This wastes valuable energy heating the jacket to heat the product. Jacket heating suffers from the same inconsistent heating issues as the DSI batch cookers as well as a more inefficient heating process.
The inefficient processes of both result in an inconsistent product with inconsistent taste, texture, and quality.
It takes time to fill from a batch cooker. This means the product at the end of the batch has been heated for even more time. If the filler is not ready immediately then the product gets further heating while waiting… resulting in overcooked product.
Generally, batch cookers do not get a full clean between batches during a shift which can add further to the inconsistencies, with batches at the start of the day being fresher and closer to specification than ones at the end. Late batches can even have seeding issues, such as in processed cheese manufacture where the accumulated residue being carried forward has detrimental effects on the product.
Fast effective heating and processing
Most DSI continuous cookers evenly heat the all the product to the aim temperature within just 20 seconds.
Did you know that it can take some batch cookers up to 40 minutes to reach their prescribed cooking temperature?
20 seconds vs. 40 minutes…?
Think of the lost productivity and time wasted simply waiting for a batch cooker to reach temperature! Fast heating is one of the most appealing benefits of continuous cooking.
Save on ingredients
Through even heating of continuous cooking, all ingredients are used properly which means you do not need to add more than what you need. Gradually, you can reduce the amount of ingredients added and instead use the appropriate and exact amount.
Read this blog post (point #1 in particular) to better understand how a continuous cooker uses all ingredients more effectively in the production process.
Due to the often-unacknowledged ineffective and uneven cooking process common in batch cookers, expensive functional ingredients are not being used fully and properly, which means more is needed to achieve the require functionality and the rest becomes expensive filler dulling the flavour and texture.
Also, if the product is not within acceptable specifications then an entire batch has to be disposed or stored for rework. Batch cookers have multidimensional ways of creating waste.
Bacteriologically safe and fresher
Bacteriological safety of a product is established by all of a product being heated at a certain temperature for a certain time in order to kill bacteria or to kill the spores that grow bacteria (in the case of UHT).
The thorough heating of key DSI continuous cookers delivers a bacteriologically safe and, because ALL the product is heated such a short time, a fresher cleaner product, in taste, look and texture. A double win as more and more end consumers are after fresher unprocessed products (that of course are still safe).
Batch cooker also use the same time and temperature rules to deliver bacteriological safe product, but the big difference is that it must heat for longer; in fact, long enough to feel confident all the product has at least reached the minimum temperature for the time required.
This means a high percentage of product is heated far more than the required time and at the minimum temperature, delivering an overcooked taste, look and texture.
Process control for quality
Controlling the cooking process allows for the control over the final product.
The texture (be it a smooth homogeneous product or with chunks of vegetables), the heating profile (how the heats enters), the aim temperature, the shear (work on product) and pressures in the cooking zone (gentle or high) can be fine-tuned with only one continuous cooker in the market.
This control and flexibility allows for creating optimal conditions for producing each product – to the manufacturer AND the customers’ benefit.
The settings are saved for each specific product and ‘dialled up’ to ensure the same optimal process is product characteristic.
With batch cookers, DSI batch cookers and Jacketed kettles, generally only the temperature can be set. That’s it. And what temperature is this measuring? And where in the cooker is being measured? There is nothing else that can be set, let alone controlled!
Jacketed kettles have a big heated surface area to heat the product.
It is difficult to control the heat in metal which leads to a certain amount of building up, or burning on to the cooking surface, reducing the product quality.
Some models use scrapers to address this, which means removed residue ends up in the product!
For both, DSI batch and Jacketed kettles, the heat in the walls of the vessel keeps radiating into the product – even when it is turned off – so the longer the product is inside the vessel waiting to fill or empty, the more is cooks and cooks and cooks…
Is continuous cooking right for you?
The above five parameters are some of the most important considerations to make when it comes to continuous cooking vs. batch cooking.
Through continuous cooking, food processors can accurately determine how much heat treatment a product received, unlike batch, where it is difficult to control and unknown how much treatment each bit of product receives, creating a bacteriologically safe, fresher, consistent higher quality end product using less energy in less time.
Do you think your current production line could be improved by moving to continuous cooking? Find out now! It takes less than 30 seconds and you can submit your details at the end if you’d like more information. Take the test!