Establishing and running a small business as a dog treats manufacturer, while incredibly rewarding, has its share of pitfalls and traps along the way. We consider ourselves very blessed to have met some great people along the way! Not only are they concerned about the health and well being of their customer's pets, they also have the same attitude towards us!
That type of feedback, along with numerous comments from our customer's keeps us focused. To keep up with the increased demand we've just invested in new equipment for our in-house bakery that will result in a quadrupling of our production. We must admit that the pressure to "outsource" production of our product has been very tempting, but we choose to keep the production method and recipes unchanged.
Cookies or Biscuits
There are three primary methods of mass producing treats today: wire cut, depositor and extruder:
- The wire cut method basically forces the dough through a shaped die, with a wire sweeping underneath cutting the cookie. Up until now we have been using a 30 year old machine that was made in Portland Oregon. We now a brand new Kook-e-king machine to replace the old. Wire cut machines are inherently limited in output - think cookies or biscotti
- Depositors on the other hand forces the dough into pockets embedded on a large drum, then drop out as the drum rotates. Depositors are picky about the dough used - think shortbread
- Extruders offer the highest possible output, exact proportion of ingredients is completely dependent on passing through the extreme pressures of the machine - think kibble
How can you Tell?
The shape of the treat is your best clue, high volume machines are extremely expensive to retool. The same basic shape over and over...
Why should you care about this?
Our recipes result in a very sticky, heavy (and yummy) dough; it is simply not compatible with high volume depositor or extruder methods. If we were to outsource production, our recipes would have to be heavily modified (more filler). We decided to stay with the lower volume wire cut method - choosing an automated machine that has been modified to use the same tooling (dies) that our trusty old hand crank and air stroke machines used. We now use high volume rack ovens to gently bake them to perfection.
Result? more cookies! and most importantly - same cookies! Smell the difference!!!