Oat milks and other plant-based milks have become increasingly popular over the past few years and as a result Silverson has been seeing more enquiries from manufacturers of these products seeking process solutions. In response, Silverson have released a new ‘How to’ video on the manufacture of Oat Milks, showing how a Silverson mixer can be beneficial in this application. The processes shown in this latest video can be applied to the manufacture of other plant based/non-dairy milks.
Oat milks can be manufactured from whole, cut or rolled oats, or from oat flour. To achieve the correct mouthfeel and product consistency, the oats must be reduced down into a fine particle size. Many manufacturers require the oats to be ground as finely as possible to minimise the amount of waste generated and save on processing costs. But equipment used for grinding may not be suitable for creating emulsions or dispersing gums and thickeners which are also required as part of the manufacturing process.
The manufacture of Oat milks and other types of non-dairy milks therefore incorporates lots of different mixing processes, but these can be handled by one Silverson high shear mixer rather than several pieces of processing equipment. The interchangeable workheads available for all Silverson rotor/stator mixers ensure that full dispersion of all ingredients, including thickeners and stabilisers is possible. It also helps to future proof the production process as raw materials can be changed and blends of different plant-based ingredients can be introduced. Dairy/non-dairy blends can also easily be produced with a Silverson mixer.
With a fine stator screen, as shown in the ‘How to’ video, a Silverson mixer is able to disperse any type of oats into water while reducing the particles down to a fine, uniform size. How is the Silverson mixer able to do this? The high-speed rotation of the rotor blades within the workhead, draws the oats and surrounding liquid into the workhead. Once in the workhead the oats are subjected to a milling action between the ends of the rotor blades and the inner wall of the stator, reducing them down. The oats are then forced, at high velocity, out through the perforations in the stator, in this case a fine stator screen, and back into the mix. This sets up a circulatory pattern of mixing which ensures the oats will pass through the workhead many times until the desired particle size is achieved.
The way in which a Silverson mixer works allows the same machines to be used for subsequent steps in the manufacturing process, such as liquid/liquid blending when enzymes are added to the liquified oats, or when plant oils are added to the aqueous phase.
The same mixer can also be used for powder/liquid mixing. As Oat milks are not naturally shelf stable, many formulations include stabilisers such as locust bean gum to help improve stability. But these powdered ingredients are difficult to disperse and hydrate with conventional mixing equipment such as stirrers and agitators which are unable to break agglomerates down once they have formed. A Silverson mixer can rapidly incorporate the powder, with the gums begin drawn into the workhead before agglomerates are able to form. This ensures an agglomerate-free dispersion and maximised yield.
After mixing has been completed and the mixture has passed through a filtration stage, final processing through a High Pressure Homogeniser may be carried out. This is to ensure that the fat droplets are finely dispersed so as to be undetectable in the mouthfeel. Where a Silverson mixer is used as a preliminary processing step, this ensures that particles are uniformly and finely dispersed. This enables the High Pressure Homogeniser to process the mixture at a much faster rate, reducing processing times and saving on costs.
There are a number of Silverson mixers suitable for the manufacture of Oat milks. The batch size, raw materials and formulation dictate which would be most suitable for each individual customer.
As shown in the ‘How to’ video a Batch mixer can carry out all of the previously mention mixing processes. But for larger batches, an In-Line mixer may be more suitable.
Silverson In-Line mixers can be used in conjunction with Batch Mixers, Duplex Disintegrators and Bottom Entry mixers where whole nuts, seeds or oats are used; the In-tank mixer provides the initial particle size reduction and the In-Line mixer further refines the product to obtain the desired finished texture.
For even larger batches, the Silverson Pilot Disintegrator Plant works in a similar way and comprises a Bottom Entry Disintegrator and an In-Line mixer/homogeniser.
If you’d like to find out more watch the ‘How to’ video, read the application report on the Silverson website or contact Silverson today.