From grains to flour to dough to delightfully light and airy croissants. From milk, eggs and sugar to heavenly creamy gelato. The process of turning raw ingredients into delicious food is truly fascinating. Ever wondered what goes in the back of house of your favourite food place? Every avid home chef, baker or foodie does. Maybe it’s the lifelong dream to open your own restaurant or bakery someday, the continuous strive to improve your skills in the kitchen or just pure curiosity. Whatever your case might be, you’re in the right place.
This may sound a bit harsh, but having a few proven recipes and cooking tricks up your sleeve, doesn’t even begin to cover the things you’ll need to run a successful food business. In fact, the road to world-class dishes is paved with technology. Commercial food equipment is the pillar of almost any successful food venue. Without industrial food machines to facilitate the back of house processes, it would be difficult to handle the competition, stay on top of orders and meet customers’ expectations.
Benefits of Food Machines
Is food technology really important? Well, as you may already know, making a complex dish from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. Have you ever prepared homemade lasagna? Talking about making the pasta sheets, béchamel, tomato purée and Bolognese sauce yourself. It’ll take more than a couple of hours that might leave you with lower back pain and kitchen chaos. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Can you do it all over again tomorrow? Probably. The day after? Nah, you’ll probably just grab a sandwich.
In a commercial setting, the manual labour and time needed to make the same recipe would be cut in half, to say the least, thanks to the advanced food machinery available nowadays. If you had an industrial mixer, dough roller and sheeter, making fresh noodles wouldn’t be such a hassle. If you had a commercial dishwasher, post-cooking cleanups wouldn’t be so tedious and nerve-wracking. Commercial food machinery helps chefs and bakers streamline back of house operations with greater efficiency without the need for hard manual labour.
Although the back of house isn’t rocket science, the fully-automated robots, shiny buttons, beeping timers, and the like can leave the impression that you’re on a rocket ship. However, don’t let the grandeur of commercial food machines scare you since they’re all designed to be as user-friendly as possible. After all, their whole purpose is to facilitate the process, not to make it more complicated.
But that’s not everything food machines have to offer. In busy bakeries and restaurants, there’s no room for errors, mishaps and flops. That’s because quality inconsistency can easily turn a returning customer into a customer lost. High-quality food machines can help businesses set standards and achieve consistent food quality. Bakeries and restaurants can greatly benefit from incorporating technology because it virtually eliminates the risk of human error and allows for control of other external factors which can affect the desired outcome.
Types of Food Machines
Thanks to the constant advancement of technology, there’s a wide variety of industrial food machines available nowadays, covering each and every step of the food production process. Although the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions commercial food equipment is a multi-burner or a deck oven, there’s a range of other equally important machines used to prepare, cook and store food in a commercial setting. Generally speaking, food machines can be divided into five major groups:
- Preparation Equipment
- Cooking and Heating Equipment
- Storage Equipment
- Cleaning Equipment
- Speciality Equipment
Every kitchen needs different preparation equipment depending on the demands of the operation. Some of the commonly used machines for ingredient preparation are mills, grinders, slicers, mixers, blenders etc. This type of machinery allows you to automate a variety of repetitive manual tasks like cutting, kneading and stirring to name a few.
At the risk of stating the obvious, cooking and heating equipment includes stoves, ovens, grills, toasters and the like. What makes these appliances different from those we all use at home is that they’re specially designed to withstand heavy-duty use in large-scale production. What’s more, industrial ovens and stovetops cook significantly faster than their domestic counterparts which further saves time and improves efficiency.
Industrial food storage equipment is vital for maintaining the quality and safety of food. Storage equipment includes everything from raw material storage solutions such as watertight silos to commercial refrigeration units such as fridges, freezers and display cases.
Although cleaning equipment has nothing to do with cooking, its importance is paramount in the hospitality industry. Professional cleaning machines such as dishwashers, pressure washers and steam vacuum cleaners allow the staff to easily adhere to the best hygiene practices and prevent the spread of bacteria and food-borne illnesses.
When it comes to speciality food machines, this bunch differs greatly from business to business. For instance, a gelato shop may have an industrial cream cooker designed to produce a variety of soft and smooth creams with no lumps. A bakehouse may have a depositor which allows for quick and easy injection of jam, fruit fillings and custard in desserts. A pizza restaurant may have a retarder cabinet to ensure a perfect crust and texture throughout the entire production process.
Thinking of opening your own food joint? If so, make sure to explore the innovative food machinery Australia has to offer online or better yet, visit a showroom or test kitchen where you can have a closer look at the equipment and maybe even get your hands dirty.