In honor of the American Pie Council’s Pie Day, we wanted to share some pie equipment tips to keep your equipment running and your shelves full this pie season!
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Bakeries, pizza places, and scratch kitchens are all foodservice operations that require a good mixer to make their dough.
Every mixer has plenty of moving parts; its belts, gears and even transmissions make it one of the most mechanical pieces of foodservice equipment. As a result, taking care of mixers is essential to their proper long-term operation. Follow the instructions below to maximize the life and productivity of your mixer.
Maintaining Your Mixer
The different types of mixers all have requirements for changing belts, guidelines for lubrication and more.
- Excessive noise and vibration can be signs of emerging problems. When this occurs, call a service professional to check out such units to prevent a full-on breakdown.
- A 40-quart mixer can’t handle 40 quarts of every job. Heavier and thicker doughs should be made in smaller batches to prevent overworking a unit.
- One common problem, especially in large heavy-duty mixers, is the agitator touching the bowl, which can damage the unit and the attachment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on adjusting the agitator or bowl height to avoid contact between the two.
- Mixers come with multiple attachments — splashguards, bowl guards, drip cups — that often come into contact with dough or batter. Remove and clean these on a regular basis.
- As a piece of electrical equipment, a mixer’s cord and plug can get frayed or damaged. Be sure to keep an eye out for these problems.
- Foodservice operators should follow their owners’ manual guidelines and rely on a trained service professional when needed.
Chamber Shrink Wrap Systems
- Clean vacuum chamber, lid and housing after use with a damp cloth.
- Be careful that no cleaning agents containing solvents or high pressure cleaners are used.
- Check oil level and replace or top up if needed.
- Activate the conditioning program (if applicable) for the pump at least once a week.
- Check seal beam for damage. Replace Teflon tape/seal wire if the seal quality is no longer sufficient or if the Teflon tape/seal wire is no longer taught on the bar.
- Check lid gasket and replace it if the gasket is damaged or stretched.
- Inspect lid for cracks. If cracks are visible, turn machine off immediately and contact service.
Every Six Months
- Replace oil at least once every 6 months.
- Inspect the oil exhaust filter for saturation. If saturated, replace the filter.
- Contact service for a preventive service.
- Have the vacuum pump fully inspected to ensure extended and problem free operation.
Every Four Years
- Replace transparent lid and the gas springs
- Replace seal cylinder membranes
Commercial Oven Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
Follow these simple tips to maximize performance and minimize risk of fires, smoke or bad-tasting food.
- Clean the oven interior daily to improve performance.
- Remove crumbs and use a mild detergent at the end of each day.
- Oven racks should be removed and cleaned separately. If a spill occurs, wipe it up immediately (it will be harder to clean once the food is baked on), plus spills can affect overall performance.
- Clean the exterior weekly. Use mild soap and a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush. Anything more abrasive can damage the finish and cause the metal to corrode.
- Perform a deep monthly cleaning. Check owner’s manual for deep cleaning procedures and approved cleaning chemicals.
In addition to regular cleaning, follow these procedures to assure proper operation of your commercial oven:
- Avoid leaving heavy items on the door. Leaving heavy objects on the door will cause them to wear out more quickly.
- Check the oven door seal to avoid escaping heat. Slide a dollar bill between the door and jam, if it slides out easily, the oven isn’t sealing properly and the gasket should be replaced.
- Check temperature accuracy to ensure efficient cook times. Every couple of months, use an oven thermometer to ensure the cabinet is as hot as the readout says it is. If there is a discrepancy, either the controls need to be recalibrated or the thermostat is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
Maintenance Tips for Specific Commercial Oven Types
There are different types of commercial ovens, and each type has its own set of specific maintenance needs. Check the owner’s manual for specific upkeep practices, but here are a few quick tips for each commercial oven category.
- Combination Ovens. An oven, steamer and convection oven all in one that must be maintained like three individual units. The steam generator (if it has one) should be emptied daily, and the unit should be delimed monthly. The convection fan should be removed and cleaned every month.
- Deck Ovens. Regularly scrape ash or food debris off of the bake decks using a pizza oven brush. At the end of the day, turn the heat up to maximum for 30 minutes to cook any remaining food debris to ash, then scrape the ash off using the brush. Never use water or liquid to clean the bake deck; this will cause the stone to crack.
- Conveyor Ovens. Remove crumb trays below the conveyor belt every night and clean them. The impinger fingers in the top of the commercial conveyor oven should be removed and cleaned daily, too. The conveyor belt should be removed and thoroughly cleaned every two to three months. Do not place utensils on the belt because they can become jammed and damage the belt.
- Convection ovens. Be sure to remove and clean the intake fan on a weekly basis. Check the flue where the fan attaches, and clean any food debris for unobstructed airflow. If the fan requires oil, this should be done yearly. This tip also applies for ranges with a convection oven base.