Ingredients From June 2013 newsletter

Measurement of ingredient functionality to improve product quality

Optimal quality in bakery products requires a careful balance of ingredients. All have a part to play in providing the appropriate texture and shelf life. It is therefore essential to measure the properties of flour and other ingredients to determine their impact on processing and final product quality. Such an approach can also help in better understanding the role of each ingredient, resulting in better control of processing to achieve optimum performance.

An important approach to understanding ingredient functionality has been to determine bulk and interfacial properties in dough and batter systems. Making baked goods requires a number of steps such as hydration and development of proteins, air incorporation and finally setting of the structure during baking. A single test is unlikely to reveal the functionality of an ingredient that performs a range of roles.

For example, it is known that viscosity is important for trapping air in dough and batter systems. However, bubble air/liquid interfaces also need to be stabilised to prevent their collapse and loss of air. Therefore, properties of the interfaces in such systems are crucial to maintain the integrity of the bubbles throughout the processing stages up to the point where the structure is thermally set in the oven. Research with heat-treated flour has shown that elevated levels of low-molecular-weight water-soluble proteins resulted in lower interfacial tension and more elastic interfacial films. This could explain why heat-treated flours produce lower density batters and soft eating cakes with high volume.

Contact: Sarab Sahi
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