The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough Divider

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Roo's picture
Roo

Dough Divider

I have the opportunity to purchase a dough divider for what appears to be a great price. It is a manual one similiar to the Duchess that Mark has used in several of his videos.


One of my main concerns is portion size and how is that determined.  Basically this thing came out of a Panchero's Mexican Resturaunt.  They are a fast food burrito place.  Is the size of the roll going to be determined on the amount of dough placed in the pan?  Or is it more along the lines of different models for different needs.  One model will only do tortilla's while another model does only rolls, while yet another does only buns.


I would really like to use it to make dinner rolls and perhaps buns if possible any thoughts???

baltochef's picture
baltochef

The Dutchess Presses that I used decades ago determined the portion size by the total weight of the dough that was put into the pan divided by the number of cuts that the head made, which was 36..


If the baker wanted 2.5 ounce rolls, than they multiplied 36 x 2.5 to come up with a total dough weight for the pan of 90 ounces..This amount is what they would scale off, and round up on the bench to allow to rest before loading the Dutchess's pan to be divided..


Hope this helps..


Bruce

Roo's picture
Roo

Thanks for the quick response!  I was hoping that it was dough amount that determined the roll and not the machine.


If I could ask, is their an easy way to figure out what size roll a 2.5 or 3 oz roll would make.  Around here we have Kaisers that the commercial baker packages as 3 inch and 4 inch rolls.

baltochef's picture
baltochef

I should have mentioned that the limiting factor in the size portion that one could create from a Dutchess Press was the clearance between the top of the pan and the bottom of the divider head..


Success with a Dutchess Press, and other similiar presses I am guessing, depends upon being able to compress the dough mass in the pan to as flat and even of a thickness as is possible by squeezing the dough between the bottom of the pan and the bottom of the divider head..


To accomplish this there has to be a certain amount of clearance between the top of the roughly flattened dough mass and the top rim of the pan..


In other words, the baker cannot fill up the pan completely with dough..


It has been three decades since I last used a Dutchess Press..


I am trying to remember, but I am thinking that there needs to be at approximately 1" of clearance between the top of the dough mass and the top rim of the pan in order to allow the press's head to exert sufficient leverage to evenly flatten the dough so that accurate portions will result when the cutters are employed..


I am really stretching my memory, but I seem to recall that the maximum divided dough weight was between 5-7 ounces per portion for the Dutchess Press that we had in the bakeries that I worked in..


I might be wrong about some of the things I have stated here..


I hope that someone with more recent experience can chime in with their thoughts..


As far as the size of the roll that results from a piece of dough divided in a manual, mechanical press; I believe that that will have as much to do with the rising and oven spring properties of a particular bread recipe as it will have to do with the size portion of the dough that you choose to use..


If one uses a standard cooked hamburger patty as the gauge for the size of a baked off roll, then for a softer sandwich bread dough I would guess that you would be looking at a raw dough weight from between 4-5 ounces..


Hope this helps..


Bruce

mcs's picture
mcs

Bruce is correct in the way roll sizes are determined - by total weight divided by 36.  The maximum for a pan is usually 9#, which would make (36) 4 oz rolls.  If you try to fit anymore dough than that, you'll have issues getting it compressed as he describes, and trouble getting it out, and trouble cleaning the machine afterwards.  A standard dinner roll size might be 2.3-3oz, depending on the dough and the consistency you're looking for.  If you want something larger than 4 oz, you have to combine them after they're divided into 36.  For example, if you put 9# in the machine, make 36 rolls, then preshape or final shape two together, then you have (18) 8 oz rolls instead of (36) 4 oz rolls.
Of course if you were only making (18) 8oz rolls, you could do it faster by hand with a scale, but if you're making a ton of them, then it's faster this way.  You can make any combination you want, but you might need to add extra rest time in there since it degasses your dough.
I always over-flour the pan before the dough goes in and the top, so you don't get any sticking.  Then after it comes out of the pan, shake/pat the excess flour off.


If you're interested, here's a link to a manual for the basic Dutchess like the one I have.


-Mark

baltochef's picture
baltochef

Thanks to Mark for his comments on using the Duchess Press..After I posted for the second time on this thread, I was kinda thinking that my guestimates for the total amount of dough in the pan might be too high..It turns out my fears were correct..


Mark, the "Old Timers" in the first bakery that I worked in used a thin piece of corrugated cardboard (cut down cake circle??) in the bottom of the well floured pan in order to facillitate removal of the divided dough from the pan, as well as to help keep the cutter blades sharper..


Is this something you do??..


Bruce

mcs's picture
mcs

Norm mentioned the use of a cake circle for the same thing a while back, and that was the first I had heard of it.  That's a great idea and I really wish the previous owners of my divider had thought of it.  My blades are dull as they get, but fortunately I weigh about 50# more than I used to when I was the 'bun divider guy' at another bakery, so I can pretty much push (or pull) those blades through anything. 


-Mark

Roo's picture
Roo

Thanks Bruce and Mark, as I knew it would be great information.   If doing 18 vs 36 is the way to go then so be it.  I believe however I will use it mostly for dinner rolls and the like.  Leave the buns to scaling by hand.


I went ahead and bit the bullet and got the divider and a 10 pan rolling rack for under $200.00.  Only issue is I can not find any information on this unit.  The only marking on it say ER.  The manufactures label looks to be worn off.  Any ideas as to where I could find information?