How do butter blocks fit into your food production?

Butter blocks food production

How do bulk fats like 25 kg / 55 lb butter blocks fit into your food production processes?

First off, you unload the boxed butter blocks from the pallet. Then you open and remove the cartons and unwrap the plastic liner.

What you do next has a huge impact on your production costs.

Butter blocks in food production
25 kg (55 lb) butter blocks in food production can be a challenge to work with

Do you throw chilled bulk butter blocks into the mixer?

Butter block into an industrial mixer
Industrial Mixing of Butter

When 25 kg (or 55 lbs) of cold, hard butter is dropped into a mixer, what happens?

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the mixer will have to work pretty hard for an extended time to convert a chilled solid block of butter into a soft, smooth consistency that is ready for the next stage of production.

After a while, the mixer begins to fail as bearings suffer and mixer blades bend. Ultimately, the mixer breaks down because it simply wasn’t designed for such heavy duty work.

Even after all that, there may still be lumps and corners in the mix which leads to inconsistent results and waste product batches.

Do you melt 25 kg butter blocks prior to mixing in food production?

Butter block being melted before mixing in food production processes
Melting butter prior to mixing

It can take up to 45 minutes for a single cold 25kg block of butter to melt. That’s a lot of time and power used up.

After melting, you may need a pump in order to transfer the liquid butter from your melter to your mixer – even more expense.

Does melted butter produce the results demanded by your quality department? We’ve seen recipes such as Welsh Cakes that need butter to be in a solid form so melted butter is no good.

We’ve heard of food production areas that store butter at +3° to +5°C. They heat the cold butter to soften it. When soft enough, they manually cut the block into small pieces in order to weigh out portions to suit the recipe. Next, they use expensive nitrogen systems to take the butter back down to the temperature they started at!

Lots of manual labour, lots of energy usage, lots of expense for cooling equipment and lots of unnecessary production costs.

Do you temper the butter blocks in temperature controlled storage areas?

Butter blocks being tempered prior to food production processes
Tempering butter blocks before production

Another common practice is for food manufacturers to source chilled butter blocks and store them prior to production.

Typically, blocks are supplied at temperatures around +3°C or +37°F but that needs to be raised before the butter is ready for use.

From experience, Operators know that they can only use the butter when it is at manageable temperatures like +10°C / +50°F for example. So, the butter is moved and stored in temperature controlled areas for several days to get the blocks up to a temperature that suits production.

Think of the space, energy and time savings that could be made by processing the butter blocks straight from the chill.

Do you chop butter blocks with food production cutting equipment?

Blocks of fat sliced into portions
Block of fat sliced into portions

The bravest of customers will use knives, machetes or block slicing contraptions on cold, butter blocks. Manually cutting a large 25kg butter block into portions for weighing before loading into the mixer is a common method. The obvious problem is the health and safety risks such as:

  • Risk of injury when working with sharp blades and slicing equipment
  • Risk of slips and falls with slippery surfaces as the butter gets everywhere – floors, handles, hand tools etc.

Or…do you simply load the fat blocks into a butter pump system that delivers consistently ready-to-mix butter on-demand?

Butter pump producing smooth, ready-to-mix butter in food production
Butter blocks reworked and pumped into mixer

The BestPump ‘BlockBuster’ systems streamline the process of breaking down awkward blocks or chunks and pumps them out in a form that is ideal for mixing.

Products can be loaded into the system manually or automatically by a conveyor where stainless-steel augers force-feed the material into a positive displacement pump.

The result is a smooth and ready-to-mix consistency that can be accurately batched via a suitable length of pipework..

Contact us via this site or call our UK office on +44 (0) 1236 433799 to discover how the ‘BlockBuster’ system can improve your food production process.