spiral vs planetary mixer

I have a planetary mixer want to compare a spiral mixer.
I am looking to mix about 23 pounds of flour at around 55% water absorbtion, in a pizza concession trailer.

Am looking for shorter mixing time and improved gluten development.
Have to eliminate VCM because I will not have 3 phase electric available at all locations.

Anybody with experience with spiral and planetary mixer ?

hope to hear from you Tom Lehmann !

Hi Otis,

Based on your needs, I would go with a planetary mixer.

Spiral mixers are wonderful machines depending upon the application. Generally, spiral mixers work best with higher moisture formulations 60% plus, and they knead the dough in a slower more gentle way. They are the preferred mixers of bread bakers and pizza makers in Europe.

That being said, they do have their drawbacks. First of all, they are a lot more expensive than a regular planetary mixer and they take up a lot more floor space. Their mixing bowls are stationary and are not removable for easy cleaning. They do not have an all purpose hub for attachments like many planetary mixers do, so you would not be able to slice, grind or grate. (although I have heard that a spiral mixer with a hub type attachment is being developed for the American pizza market–it is not yet available)

You might tryLess mixing time on your dough. Often, doughs are over-mixed. You didn’t say how much mixing time you are currently using. Dough only needs to be mixed until it is smooth and a small sample can be stretched over the knuckles of your fingers without tearing.

If you have any more questions,

Please feel free to contact me here or at my PMQ e-mail address

Evelyne Slomon
Culinary and Technical Editor, PMQ

Evelyne, that was some great information. I thought that spirals were cheaper (then again, I was looking at Doyon spirals vs Hobart planetary mixers). One question I have about VCMs is whether they can handle very thick dough (40-50% AR)? I know once you stop a VCM after mixing dough, it may not restart because of the sheer mass of the dough, but if the timing is right, can it handle a thick dough?

Hey Snowman,

Glad you found the info useful. I do not have tons of experience on VCM cutters, but I from what I know, I think that they do better with lower moisture dough formulas, so that 50% moisture or less, should work better. The other problem with VCMs is that because the friction is so high, the dough comes out pretty darn warm. In some cases, this is not a problem though. It depends how fast you need the dough to rise.

I covet and desire spiral mixers–but, I have a good old P660 in my store and it works so well. I had originally looked into spiral mixers, but they took up too much floor space in my kitchen and didn’t give me the versatility that the Hobart does. I use the hub for slicing mozzarella, grating Parmesan and for grinding my own sausage, so I really do get the use out of it. I tend to favor giving the barely combined dough an autoleyse period before I finish it up. The dough finishes really quickly and without all of the excess mixing. If I can’t use a spiral, I try to cut the mixing time down and to use only low speed mixing when I do finish it. I might add, that I am working with a very wet dough 65% plus and this treatment works nicely.

Evelyn and Michael,

  thanks for the spiral/planetary information.

My interest for my mobile pizzeria is speed, size and weight.
I found an American Eagle AE-1220 that is rated for only 25 pounds of flour that I will check into.
I already have a Berkel(Thunderbird) 10 qt. planetary mixer, so the spiral is appealing from diversity standpoint. I plan to go by American Eagle in Chicago tomorrow. The AE-1220 only weigh about 300 pounds, a real plus on a trailer.