Machines lend a helping hand in making pastries

Good pastries need the meticulous touches that can be done only by hand but chef Gwen Lim now has machines that help her out with some of the more mundane tasks.

The machines slice frozen cakes and coat baked products with chocolate and also keep employees happy because they allow them to turn their skills to more interesting jobs, she told The Straits Times.

Ms Lim owns Patisserie G, which has two retail outlets.

She says: "We used to have to manually slice frozen cakes and thaw them off and on, but there were issues such as human error that resulted in cakes not being evenly sliced."

Staff even had to use a ruler to measure each cake slice. They took about 15 minutes to slice one slab. But the automated slicer takes just a couple of minutes.

Ms Lim said another process that took about 15 minutes was the tempering of chocolate, which means bringing it to various temperatures so it can be used.

But her chocolate tempering machine means she can just put the chocolate into the device and collect it later at the right temperature.


Another machine helps to coat products with chocolate.

"It is about how we reduce man hours in the kitchen and make the process easier for staff. That is key," adds Ms Lim, 45.

"Whenever we feel we are churning enough bulk to make it worth it, we can invest in forms of technology to help us."

Her tempering chocolate machine cost about $30,000 while the cake slicer was around $38,000.

"As with implementing any new processes, the entire process of setting up the technology, training, and implementation was challenging," Ms Lim notes.

"It took several sessions for us to finally get the processes down pat. But we believe in short-term pain, long-term gain."