Almond Roasting Machine
Before forming, the masa leaving the grinding process must be kneaded into a more plastic dough. This operation is usually performed in mixers, although extruders can be successfully used. The plastic masa is sheeted into a thin layer, which is then cut. On commercial productions, the masa is fed onto a pair of smooth rollers, which are usually coated with Teflon and rotate in different directions, forcing the dough towards the gap between them. This gap is adjustable, so that products of different thicknesses can be produced. The thickness of the sheet determines the final product weight. Table tortillas of 15 cm diameter generally weigh 28-30g.
During sheeting process, the masa is forced between the rolls and is separated by wires located on the front and back rolls The back wire cleans the sheeted masa from the back roll and allows it to adhere to the front roll, and the front wire strips the masa pieces from the roll. The cutter rotates underneath the front roll.
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Different cutter configurations are used for various products. Heads that cut single, double, or even quadruple rows of tortillas exist in the market. Copper or plastic bands surround the end of the first roll and help recycle excess masa. The shaped masa pieces leaving the front roller are ready for baking. Gas-fired ovens are normally used to bake shaped masa into tortillas, although the selection of an oven depends upon the capacity of the tortilla head. Generally, tortillas are baked at temperatures ranging from 280 to 315ºC, and the baking time varies from 20 to 40 sec. Baked tortillas may be placed on cooling racks, or move through a series of open tiers, for cooling. The shelf life of tortillas greatly depends on the effectiveness of this step. Tortillas are cooled for about 3-5 min, to decrease the temperature from 94-100ºC to 25ºC.