A waffle is a flat cake that is less than 5 mm thick and is baked in a waffle iron. A waffle iron consists of two iron shapes with lozenges. The waffle batter is pressed together between the iron shapes and because of the lozenges a possible filling can be contained more easily.
Waffles have their origin in the wafers. This product was originally made by mixing water with grinded grains of wheat, and the formed dough was then pressed between two hot shapes.
There are different types of waffles which can be eaten warm or cold. Some popular waffles are:
Waffle with a low moist content (less than 2%), filled with chocolate or vanilla cream. The waffles consist of a dried, light starch gel in which the amyloplasts are completely stiffened.
Stroopwafel (Syrup waffle)
A cake that consists of two waffle halves with sweet syrup in between.
A sweet, thin and hard waffle, which is often rolled up immediately after the baking.
A waffle which is shaped in a mold to serve as an eatable carrier for ice-cream.
There is little division between waffles with a high sugar content and waffles with a very low sugar content. The waffles with a very low sugar content are mainly the hollow waffles, like the ice-cream cone. The sugar makes the hot, newly shaped waffles malleable, in order for them to be turned in different shapes before the sugar crystallises again.
The production process of a pennywafel will be described below.
The main ingredients of a waffle are flour and water. The flour provides the starch and the water is needed to stiffen this starch. The chosen ingredients depend on the desired product. When the waffle is mainly used for its crispy texture, less attention is paid to the taste of the product. In this case it is important that a soft wheat with a low water absorption is used. In general the common biscuit flour is also suitable for the production of waffles. Besides wheat flour also other grains can be used, such as rice and maize.
To simplify the proceedings and improve texture, taste and colour of the waffle, the following ingredients are added besides flour (100%) and water (± 150%):
Oil (± 2%)
By adding oil, the waffle surface becomes smoother and the waffles can be removed from the irons more easily. For the production of waffles with a higher sugar content, more oil (± 5%) is added to the batter, because the added sugar makes it more difficult to remove the waffles from the iron.
Lecithin (± 1%)
Lecithin is added, together with oil, as a replacement for eggs in the original recipe for waffles.
Sodium bicarbonate (0.3%)
By adding natriumcarbonate, the batter is easier to spread over the baking irons and the final product gets a light-brown colour due to the increase of the batter’s pH.
Salt improves the taste of the waffles.
For waffles with a high sugar content applies the addition of 25 to 75% saccharose.
The production of the batter starts with the adding of the soluble ingredients into cold water. Secondly, the remaining ingredients are added. The flour is added slowly, while the whole is being mixed at high speed. It is important that the mix element remains below the batter surface to prevent the formation of strains of gluten. The mixing takes approximately 3 to 6 minutes.
It is important that the specific weight of the batter remains constant, because volumetric dosing takes place later on in the process.
The formed batter is left to rest for 20 minutes in a tank, in order for the enclosed air bubbles to leave the batter.
After the resting, the batter is, by means of dosing heads, sprayed in several stripes on the chromed, cast iron waffle irons in the oven. The irons are closed immediately after the spraying and transported over a rails in the oven during 1,5 to 3 minutes, depending on the waffle thickness and baking temperature. Up to 100 waffle irons can circulate on these rails. The waffle irons are filled with steam because of the high baking temperature, varying between 160 to 200°C. Due to this step, total stiffening of the starch takes place. The steam development also makes it possible for the pressure to increase to 2 kg/cm2, ensuring that the final product has a light structure. To keep the waffle irons pressed to one another under this pressure, they contain a strong bolt on the side that can be opened. The sides of the irons also contain metal strips with holes, in order for the steam to escape. The thickness of the waffles which are produced is influenced by the number and size of the holes. When batter leaves through these holes, the irons are completely filled with batter.
During the baking, the waffles get the lozenge pattern of the waffle irons. The manufacturer can also choose to place, for example, the brandname on the waffles. Due to the decrease of the moist content of the waffles during the baking, the glass temperature increases and a stable structure is eventually formed. Maillard reactions which take place at these high baking temperature create the typical aroma and colour of the waffles.
After the baking, the waffles are cooled to room temperature. The waffles now have a moist content of approximately 1,5%.
Because the moist content of baked waffles spreads, moist transport takes place in the waffles during storage. The waffles can then shrink or expand which can cause problems for fully covered or filled waffles. Therefore the waffles are placed in climate rooms for several days, where the moist spreading becomes balanced. During this period of time, the moist content of the waffles increases to approximately 4,5%. The higher moist content causes the waffles to absorb less moist from the fillings and coatings and the waffles become crispier as well as less frail.
However, a too high moist content (higher than 6%) can result in a tough texture.
The conditioned waffles are giving a layer of cream on one side at a temperature between 30 and 40°C. For this process, preformed cream coats can also be used. Several of these waffles are placed on one another, after which a waffle without cream is placed on top.
The stacked waffles are then guided through a cooling tunnel where the cream coagulates. When the cream is coagulated, the waffles are cut to pennywafels by means of a cutting machine.
Finally the pennywafels can be covered with a chocolate layer, after the addition of, for example, a layer of nuts.
The pennywafels can be wrapped automatically after a final cooling step. To ensure the waffles stay fresh for 6 to 9 months, they are wrapped in well sealed and coated wrappings. A good wrapping is important because the pennywafels are very sensitive to moist due to their low moist content. The wrapping also protects the waffles from oxygen and light in order to prevent oxidation.
When Aviateur does a job, it does it well
Aviateur Banketbakkerijen B.V. steals market share by focus on food hygiene
More than half a million Dutch short biscuits, almond boats, treacle waffles and almond rounds roll off the production line every hour at the five factories owned by Dutch pastry specialist Aviateur Banketbakkerijen. What started as a small-scale family enterprise in Wogmeer has grown to its current position supplying a long list A-brands in the (inter)national food industry, and as a purveyor to the Royal Household.
Aviateur's head office stands right between two large production units in Broek op Langedijk in the Province of Noord-Holland, looking out onto the Wijde Vaart polder waterway at a particularly pleasant spot on the Spanjaardsdam. Here administration, transport and sales staff work literally side by side with production staff in the factory. The logistics heart of the business is housed in the adjoining distribution centre, where Aviateur trucks are loaded up with the daily production yield from the 6000m2 workfloor of the industrial bakery. The twelve ten-tonners operated by Aviateur distribute the produce and come back fully laden with packaging materials and basic ingredients so that production can keep going. The production lines only go quiet during the daily cleaning cycle.
Cake with your coffee
Dutch people enjoy a cake with their coffee, but even beyond our borders Dutch pastries enjoy great popularity. Aviateur currently exports nearly forty percent of all its products. The producer is aiming to grow its exports further in 2018. Aviateur believes this is achievable since demand for Dutch treacle waffles is growing exponentially in the US and China. As part of its strategy, Aviateur is constructing a completely new line for the production of 40,000 treacle waffles per hour in Broek op Langedijk. This is enough capacity to bring the waffles to the (inter)national market at a competitive price.
The new line is a model of modern industrial design, based on the latest developments in food-safe production facilities. Aviateur has considered every angle in its efforts to eliminate all risks of bacterial contamination and foreign objects entering the food chain - from the stainless steel cooling towers and hygienically designed junction boxes to the easy clean cable conduits for the motor drive of the transport and handling systems. The company is willing to innovate and is not afraid to play an active role by investing in new solutions. Aviateur uses the freedom of choice it has as a family-owned enterprise to focus in on sustainability, user friendliness and food hygiene without compromise.
Safe Food Factory
As Technical Facilities Manager, Jaap Jonk has had charge of the technical facilities at the Aviateur production locations for many years now, including in Broek op Langedijk. He brings a down-to-earth Noord-Holland outlook to his role. According to Jonk, "The best way to ensure maximum food safety is by eliminating all risks of bacterial infection in your production environment. To be able to do this, you first need to identify the risks. Two years ago, I attended a seminar run by SafeFoodFactory on the subject of hygienic cabling which made me look at open cable conduit systems in a new light. Many of the cable conduits, that were previously covered, we have now made more accessible and so easier to clean." 'Less is more' seems to be the guiding principle for Jonk when it comes to maximising food safety. He was guided by the same principle in the standardisation of the production facilities. Jonk explains, "In the past, we would build the production space first and then put the production line in the available space. When we were constructing our new treacle waffle line, we did it the other way round. The internal walls of the production unit were only put in place after the production line had been installed. This will allow us to increase production capacity with a second line at a later stage. We wanted to define a new standard through the new waffle line and to apply all the latest developments and understanding in the area of sustainability, hygiene and user friendliness."
Minimising existing risks
As part of the efforts to minimise food hygiene risks, all fluorescent lamps and all plastic cable ties were removed in succession from the production environments. Jonk: "The presence of breakable glass bulbs in the production environment is a risk factor, so we got rid of them. The same went for tie-wraps. They can break off and their use simply cannot be justified in terms of hygiene, so these had to go too.
All kinds of nasties can accumulate in closed cable conduit systems, so we wanted to find a different hygienic solution for the cable conduits for our new waffle line. We found the answer in Streamline HD cable conduits from Gouda Holland (part of the Niedax Group): they are easy to clean and do not need any cable ties."
Michael Evers - Business Development Manager at Niedax Group - explains, "Not only can cable ties break and get into the food chain; because, by definition, they can't be cleaned they pose a potential risk of contamination. If cable ties are not properly tied off, they also have the potential to cause physical injuries. Hundreds or even thousands of cable ties are used in many production environments. By removing them you remove thousands of risk factors at a stroke." Jonk continues,"In the same way, we looked at the housings used for the machine controls. We consistently opted for Rittal HD housings, which have a sloping roof and effective silicone seals."
Freddy van de Kolk, Account Manager Rittal Hygienic Design: "In the period in which hygienic design products came into common use among food producers working primarily with wet processes, Aviateur was one of the first industrial bakeries to install our Rittal HD housings. Others followed their example and HD products are now used in other dry environments too. This is partly because everyone started to look more closely at and became more aware of the role of peripheral equipment in production environments. No one can or wants to run the risk of a nidus of bacteria in a switch box or cable conduit leading to contamination and the recall of products. The hygienically designed products from Rittal and Niedax minimise the risk of anything like that happening."
Evers, "Through the application of Rittal HD housing and the Niedax Streamline HD cable conduit system, Aviateur can now have greater certainty about the hygienic status of the housings and cables. At Aviateur all employees are involved in the drive for maximum food safety - it's something we go into deeply and because we talk about these issues everyone looks at the processes in their part of the business with a more critical eye. This is the most important step in being able to implement changes and the best guarantee of maximum food safety."
Jonk: "We are happy to research new ways of making our processes even more sustainable and user friendly. The safety of our employees and food hygiene in our products are our most important priorities in this respect. It all starts with maximum hygiene. Eliminating food hygiene risks also makes the work environment more manageable, and we are developing our own construction standards that we can stipulate in specifications for our suppliers. This in its turn delivers savings in time and stock. Investing in hygienic design is not only a given for me – our entire board is of the same persuasion."
Featured expert: Michael Evers