kettle not only promotes uniform cooking, but is a self-cleaning, self-steaming system. After the last batch of product has been produced, the user adds water to a hot kettle and puts the cover on. The residual heat inside the kettle causes the water to bubble and steam, melting the rest of the sugar off the kettle. Once the operator empties out the water, the unit is ready to go for the next batch.
In addition to popping popcorn, ‘Nuts on Clark’ manufactures sweet and savory popcorn snacks. To provide their customers, who are often rushing to catch a flight or a train, with a fresh and tasty produced snack, ‘Nuts on Clark’ also needs to be able to quickly turn around its candy coated products. In producing candy coated snacks, a sizable percentage of time is dedicated to cooling the final mixed product so that the coating sets and the finished product does not stick together. Adding a cooling table to the caramelizer speeds the cooling and drying process, and subsequently, the production process. The Cretors’ system incorporates built-in blowers that blow cool air through the perforated steel tray bottom and has reduced cooling and drying time by about one-third, from about 5-7 minutes down to 2-3 minutes.
Welcome to the machine
In accommodating a large volume of customers, snack food producers must churn out a large volume of coated popcorn treats, and thus require reliable and durable machines. The Kenneys have employed Cretors CMD 100 machines, workhorse caramelizers that are also feature an intelligent design that allows them to concentrate on their innovations and business. The stainless-steel caramelizers, which are combination cookers and mixers, allow ‘Nuts on Clark’ to quickly and easily cook and mix its wide variety of sweet and savory popcorn.
The innovative design of the machine has virtually eliminated the learning curve commonly associated with a company’s new employees and franchises, and as a result it increases the manufacturer’s efficiency and productivity. Unique to caramelizing equipment, the CMD line features a 3-blade system and a digital temperature control.
The 3-blade system refers to the actual mixing blades, or baffles, that stir up the ingredients inside the kettle. The first blade is a stirrer blade that rests near the bottom of the kettle and prevents product from sticking to the pan. The next two blades direct the corn during mixing to the center of the kettle in a folding action that prevents the corn from rising too high in the kettle and overflowing. The action is similar to that of folding egg whites versus beating them with a wooden spoon; it is a system that encourages better coverage while greatly reducing breakage.
As is true with most candy cooking, the candy coatings that are mixed into popcorn must be cooked at an exact temperature. In a busy shop or warehouse, temperature monitoring might not be as fastidious as it should be. Completely eliminating the guess work associated with a typical thermostat, the CMD line features a digital temperature control that allows the user to keep constant track of the cooking temperature. This system works on a thermal couple, monitoring both the temperature of the kettle as well as the temperature of the product. Not only is the temperature control more accurate than a conventional thermostat, it includes a sensing element that will shut down the heat if it detects a thermocouple malfunction.