Were gearing up to buy a mixer and were just looking at your typical planetary mixers as I have several years experience with a Hobart H600 along with its cheese grating attachment. Just wondering if anyone is using a VCM such as a Hobart 450? More curious than anything… as it would seem to be lovely for doubling as a fresh sauce mixer.
This question has been raised and answered numerous times on the board. Do a search for VCM and there are 100+ posts I’m sure one of these will help. So are about using a VCM for cheese but there are quite a few about using it for dough.
I used to make dough in a VCM back in my college days. It had a special “blade” - same shape as the knives but much thicker and with rounded edges. The dough would ball up quickly and then we would count how many times the doughball rolled around the bowl (it think it was 30 rotations) and it was done - all about one minute of time.
The dough came out very silky and we used it to make pan-style pizza. I always assumed the gluten bonds were chopped to pieces as the machine blended the dough by cutting it together thousands of times instead of truly mixing it. I’m not sure how a VCM would do making hand-tossed dough - I’d ask Tom Lehmann about that one.
We use a Stefan VCM for dough making and our dough and pizza making method is hand tossed. I don’t think the machine “cuts” the dough. The attachment used is not sharp. It quickly mixes and balls the dough and then as posted above, rolls it around the bowl. It more beating than cutting. In any case, it finishes a batch in 150 seconds and yes, when done right is “silky”.
The same machine dices up 20 lbs of cheese in 25 seconds.
Thanks for the replies. I did read several replies from the search results. Thanks. It’s a consideration.
We have been using the 450’s for 20 years. Very fast, but you have to use a slightly lower protein dough. The max flour weight is 25lb bags, any more and your repair cost will out weigh any other benefits. The biggest down fall of these mixers are the repair cost.
Dough blades are $250
Cheese blades are $175 and that is 1 blade. If you need the whole assembly you are looking at $1000
Plastic lids $200
Break assembly $600
This is for the parts only, and it goes on and on. Hobart carries very few parts in stock for this machine so if something goes out you are looking at 1 to to weeks to get the parts in. And don’t be shocked if the repair bill is $2000 to $3000 if you can’t fix it yourself. I have 3 stores but always have 4 working machines so if 1 goes out I can swap it out and I’m still in business.
Other than that they’re great. Haha My main reason for using this machine is so we can dice our own cheese. In the near future I hope to set up dual mixers at each location 1 80 quart hobart and 1 450 cutter mixer so we can have the best of both worlds, but I’ve been saying that for 15 years.
Almost none of our clients use VCMs for mixing dough.
I know of no major chain except Little Caesar’s using VCMs for mixing dough.
I do not think it a secret That Caesar’s would like to slow down the speed of their VCMs substantially but there is no remedy available.
I do not believe any professional baker would use a VCM for mixing dough.
After a bunch of research online, I can completely understand. I agree, stick to a nice strong, slow and steady Planetary Thanks again.
The VCM’s have been around for a very long time, and with the correct mixing attachment (flat and dull for dough and curved and sharp for cutting veggies or cheese) they will serve you well. As indicated, the average mixing time with these mixers in in the 70 to 90-second range. If you need to mix multiple doughs back to back, temperature build up in the bowl can be a problem, but this is easily addressed by pouring a couple gallons of ice water into the bowl to cool it between doughs. The more common version of a VCM is the Robot Coupe Mixers. I was at a large pizza commissary in Latin America some time back, and they were using their VCM’s to mix everything from dough to sauce (made from fresh, whole tomatoes) to cutting the cheese that was sent out to the stores. As for the quality of the dough made on a VCM, it’s as good as any other dough, but be aware, it is very possible to over mix a dough using the VCM, seconds count! Also, due to the very short mixing time, fresh yeast should be suspended in the water, and IDY should be pre-hydrated like ADY, except in 95F water, before adding it to the bowl.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Thanks Tom. I appreciate the additional info and advise.
Ditto what Tom said about suspending the yeast. We use fresh yeast and put it into the water and whisk it before adding the to the bowl.
Regarding the timing, the Stefan machine has a digital timer, so our mix time is exactly the same every batch.
We have been very happy with this solution now for a decade.
I should also add that the Hobart, VCM is really made by Stephan Mixer Company (Germany) and is part of a family of mixers. They have their large, industrial size mixers with the bowl mounted horizontally, rather than in the vertical position. With these mixers, the mixing time is still measured in seconds. They are used, or have been used by a large pizza chain to mix dough in their commissaries. Like all things, once you get familiar with them, the mystery goes away, and they’re really pretty straight forward to use. Not nearly as many moving parts as there are in a planetary mixer either, so there are fewer things to go wrong with them. Direct drive is hard to beat.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
We have a planetary in one store and started using a VCM in our second. There was definitely a learning curve and our recipe and procedures had to be tweaked a bit, but I can’t say there have been any huge differences in the dough coming out of the VCM vs. the planetary. If there is any difference the trade off of being able to do dice 100lbs of cheese in 10 minutes is worth it.