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Coating Application Methods to Make Prepared Food Products

Food coating equipment has advanced and improved the way it handles the variety of available coatings and coats all types of products, from fragile to frozen. Food coating application methods vary depending on a variety of factors, and the right machinery will ensure consistent and accurate application for a better product.

Coating Application for Prepared Foods

There are two primary kinds of coating application systems: batter applicators and breading applicators. The desired coating characteristics, such as adhesion, thickness, consistency, texture, and appearance combined with the cooking/freezing process, will influence the application method chosen.

Dip-Type Batter Applicator

In a dip-type batter applicator, product is deposited at the infeed end and conveyed through the batter well. The hold-down conveyor maintains product speed and orientation through the submerged section. The length and depth of the batter pool are controlled by the batter level in the well, which is adjustable. As the product moves out of the batter well, it is conveyed under an adjustable air blow-off manifold to remove excess batter.

Ideal for:

  • All viscosities of non-leavened batters
  • Heavier products and products with irregular surfaces; (the dip ensures full coverage)

Top Curtain Batter Applicator

Curtain-fall Batter ApplicatorIn a top curtain, or weir batter applicator, the stainless steel belt conveys product under a 2-curtain or 4-curtain batter fall and through an adjustable-depth batter puddle. As product moves out of the batter applicator, it is conveyed under an adjustable air blow-off manifold to remove excess coating.

Ideal for:

  • All viscosities of non-leavened batters
  • Products such as onion rings and other light-weight product

Standard Pre-Dust & Breading Applicator

Product is deposited at the infeed onto a bed of breading and conveyed forward through a curtain fall of breading. The volume being deposited is adjustable to ensure adequate and uniform coverage. A removable compression roller gently presses the top layer of breading onto the product. As product continues forward, the bed of breading drops through the stainless-steel belt to be returned through the recirculation system. An air blow-off section with two air knives removes excess coating.

Ideal for:

  • Non free-flowing (flour)
  • Free-flowing (crumb)
  • Japanese crumb
  • Most applications and especially formed or delicate product

Triple-Flip Breading Applicator

Triple-Flip Breading ApplicatorProduct is deposited at the infeed onto a bed of breading and conveyed through a curtain fall of breading. The volume being deposited is adjustable to ensure adequate and uniform coverage. A removable compression roller gently presses the top layer of breading onto the product. Product is then turned over three times, receiving additional applications of breading as it transfers through two intermediate conveyors and onto the main conveyor for discharge. As product is conveyed, the bed of breading drops through the stainless-steel belt to be returned through the recirculation system. An air blow-off section with two air knives removes excess coating.

Ideal for:

  • Non free-flowing (flour)
  • Free-flowing (crumb)
  • Japanese crumb
  • Product such as bone-in chicken pieces that have cavities that need to be covered with breading 

Drum Breader

Product is gently tumbled through flour or breading to uniformly apply a coating. The product is deposited onto an infeed conveyor where it is discharged into the drum opening. The slowly-revolving drum moves the product through the coating and discharges the coated product onto
a discharge conveyor. The coating is fed through a feed hopper and augered into the drum. The coating moves along the inner drum wall with the product and discharges through a perforated section of the drum onto a sifting conveyor where lumps are removed, and the lump-free breading is returned to the drum.

Ideal for:

  • Flour and free-flowing
  • Pre-dust application to whole muscle or bone-in product and for creating a “home-style” appearance as a final coating to various product


Breading Process Options

Breading Process
Single-Pass Line

The processing system where coating is applied only once. Typically, pre-dust, batter, and breading or just batter and breading. 
Single-pass is used when total pick-up desired is less than 35%. A pre-dust is added to a single pass when increased adhesion is desired or required.

Double-Pass

A process where products are coated with a batter and/or breading twice. Normally used where the desired coating pickup exceeds  35%. Coated shrimp is normally processed through a double pass process. A pre-dust is added to a double pass when increased adhesion is desired or required.

Triple-Pass

A process where products are coated with a batter and/or breading three times. Where the desired coating pickup  exceeds 45% to 50%. An example of this thick coating is any fritter-type product.

Batter Process Options

Batter Process
Batter Only

Typically used when the substrate surface is rough and/or dry, which allows the batter to adhere well to the product. Since frozen surfaces are difficult to coat, they do not lend themselves to batter only processes. An example of a suitable product is tempura coated green beans. 

Pre-Dust + Batter

Pre-dusting is used on slick or hard surfaces to increase the pick-up of batter to the substrate. The pre-dust can be flour, dry batter, or other mixes with adhesion agents to better bind the batter to the substrate.

Batter + Bread + Batter 

This process allows for the product to have a finished “batter” coating texture with a minimal amount of dry coating for a unique bite and “mouth feel.”

Apr 03, 2021
Written by:
Doug Kozenski

Processing Industry Manager

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