Mark DiMaggio, head of food & beverage at Linde, has said cryogenic freezing is improving the handling characteristics of raw cookie dough to speed production and packaging operations.

Linde works with processors to optimise cryogenic solutions, which will either fully freeze or crust freeze cookie dough.

“Whether they’re sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip, the raw cookie dough can be difficult to smoothly process once the dough is made. Handling and forming of cookie doughs can vary with temperature which can affect the repeatability of slicing and stacking operations, especially at higher production volumes,” DiMaggio explains.

In-line cryogenic processing with liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) or liquid nitrogen (N2) can offer significant advantages in speed, space and efficiency over other chilling or freezing methods.

The depth of freeze on the cookie dough will depend on the specific production process. The Linde food team considers dough ingredients and moisture levels, the shape and thickness of raw cookies, and production factors in engineering a system to apply the desired level of freeze while optimizing the use of cryogen.

Crust-Freezing Cookie Dough

For sliced or formed cookie dough packed in boxes, a crust freeze can improve stackability to speed processing, resulting in the ability to increase production. The patented Linde Impingement Freezer uses a proprietary process that is ideal for crust freezing raw formed cookies at high volume. The cryogenic freezer can typically produce three to five times the capacity of a conventional cryogenic or ammonia-based tunnel freezer in the same linear space.

Fully Freezing Cookie Dough

Some production plants are limited by storage space in their blast freezers. By fully freezing raw cookie dough at a controlled rate in-line, the bakery preserves product quality and increases or eliminates freezer storage time prior to shipment. A cryogenic tunnel freezer or spiral freezer can offer an effective solution, with space-saving spiral freezers generally ideal for higher production rates when space is limited. They range from entry-level box spirals up to the state-of-the-art, CRYOLINE® XF cross-flow spiral freezer.

In-Line Flour Chilling, Too

Even before cookie dough is mixed, cryogenic technology can help boost process quality by chilling flour or other dry ingredients as they flow from silo to mixer. The proprietary Linde dry ingredient chilling system controls the injection of CO2 into the transfer line to achieve a consistent flour temperature within +/- 1ºF of the desired setpoint. This can offer dramatic improvements in mixer repeatability especially when compared to the variability associated with traditional water ice or alternative CO2 chilling methods.

In addition to improved process quality, using both cryogenic chilling and cryogenic freezing in the same processing plant can offer further advantages in supply logistics.