The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamburger bun making

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adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

Hamburger bun making

We make brioche hamburger buns and we are getting swamped with orders. Right now we are hand rolling them but we can't keep up with demand. Plus, we only have single phase electricity in our kitchen so we are limited in what equipment we can look at. 

Does anyone here make hamburger buns on a semi large scale (5000ish per week)? If so, what equipment do you use? I have looked at a dough cutter and rounder in addition to just a rounder. I don't know what to look for. Help! :)

breaducation's picture
breaducation

I have tried hand rolling hamburger buns and have never been totally satisfied with the result. They always end up too tall and ball like. I have this theory, that I have yet to try, that I would get a better result by sheeting out the dough and cutting them out of the sheet with a round cutter. I think this would result in a slightly flatter profile and maybe also have that natural pull apart ability that the store bought buns have.

If this method worked well I think they would be a lot easier to produce in volume. Just sheet out a bunch of dough and cut away. Of course if your customers are already pleased with your product you may not want to alter the process this much. And again, I'm not sure if this would actually work, just an idea.

Good luck!

nadira2100's picture
nadira2100

I used to work at a deli/bakery and the baker would always just use a rounder for her buns. With space limited and such she always measured and cut the dough by hand and put them in the rounder. That seemed to work really well for her. I hope that helps a little :)

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

Thanks! Our customers are mainly high end (they can afford brioche) and they like the buns round and tall, so we hand roll them. I have seen dough cutters and dough rounders but I don't know how efficient they are. Do you (or anyone else) have experience working with one of those? Cheers!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi adam-dolcebakery,

You probably need one of these 30-piece "bun divider/moulder"

Best wishes

Andy

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

Wow! Thank you for all the responses! These responses help more than you know. It helps me round out (har) my expansion plans. I think I am looking at just a rounder... The main issue is electricity. I only have single phase and most of these divider/moulders are three phase. I just don't have the juice to provide one of these machines. It's frustrating. Either I invest in an electrical upgrade to three phase (oh 20 grand?) or I make due with what I have and hustle.

So I am looking to hand cut, then use a maching to round them (I can cut dough to 3.5 ozs pretty fast). I think I can make the output goals with this method. All I need now is a bigger mixer and a bigger oven and of course... money LOL. 

Anyone know of a place giving away money to bakers who love their job? Any Bill Gates of the baking world out there? HAHA! Cheers! 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi again,

If it were me I'd invest in this divider:

 

Once divided, moulding is simple.   The divider is more accurate, and that is crucial if you are producing the volume you are talking about.   Additionally, the process allows you to give the dough heads the rest needed as you process your dough.

However, I have definitely used BDM which use single-phase electricity supply.

For long term investment and expansion, it must be a worry to you that you don't have 3-phase.   That will likely be a major constraint at some point, if not already.

Best wishes

Andy

henryruczynski's picture
henryruczynski

Adam

5000 buns a week, hand cut and rounded is a lot.  It’s possible you’ve maxed out and maybe need to say no to more orders. It does get complicated. As you mention, more bun production will mean more mixing – if not a bigger mixer – more oven space required, more sheet pans...the list goes on. At one point, if you continue down this path, you will need, as Andy suggests, three phase power.

However, a bun rounder/ divider will make the life you now lead – easier .

Many rounders are single phase and draw between 4 to 8 amps, which isn’t very much.

(A hand held hair dryer can draw 10 amps) and the rounders have a normal plug for the outlet.

 New ones can cost four grand ...and up, but I’d imagine there are a lot of used ones available.  

My friend bought one at auction for a song and then wondered why she didn’t get one earlier.

I use a rounder most every day.

Here is the dough pressed and cut. Depending on dough weight, the plates will cut and round 22 pcs, some 20 pcs, some 30 and this one -  36 pcs at a dough weight of about 2 kg (4.4.lbs) which gives me a smaller bun at about 55 gm (almost 2 oz)

 

and now here it is rounded as buns which takes about 5 seconds.

 If you decide to look for a used divider/ rounder,

I’d bring a dough head, scaled at the weight you normally use for your brioche buns and try it out on the rounder to make sure the plate head is the right size for what you want and that the motor has the strength to round. Chances are it will, but ...someone I know bought one years ago and then once moving the brute into his shop, (these machines are heavy – 800 lbs)  it cut fine...but had no motor strength to round the dough head into buns!

Good luck

H

adam_dolcebakery's picture
adam_dolcebakery

Great stuff, guys. Thank you! And yes, we have maxed out (currently we are sitting on 1500 per week. It's a lot not to mention all the cheesecakes, flourless chocolate cakes, loaves, and specialty aka vegan desserts we do for about 15 different restaurants). I can't take anymore orders for brioche buns (it's our best product imo) but I have two restaurants (one has four stores) that want our bread but I just can't meet the demand. Acquiring them would take us to around 5000 per. I'm considering going to the bank and asking for a loan and also I am going to talk to my sales rep for consulting on a budget for the equipment. 

But yes, for me to really go for it I will eventually need three phase power... Ugh. The kitchen is in an old firehouse from the pre-civil war days and it was never outfitted for what I want to do. I love our location (right in the middle of the city, yes Kentucky has a city LOL) and it's 1500 square feet so it's a good size and I don't want to move.

Thank you guys so much for your advice! :)