Firms use loaf in sticky situation

Stable Micro Systems and UK bakery brand Warburtons have announced the launch of new testing equipment for the bakery industry.

Called the Warburtons Dough Stickiness System, the testing rig enables ‘more realistic assessment of dough stickiness’ as it minimises the dough’s exposure to atmospheric variables by testing under controlled conditions, according to a spokesman for Stable Micro Systems, a manufacturer of texture analysis equipment.

“Sticky dough is problematic in bakeries as it causes progressive build-up of dough smears on equipment, necessitating extra cleaning and leading to waste and unplanned stoppages,” adds the spokesman. “Previous test methods for quantifying dough stickiness normally required manipulation of the dough sample immediately prior to testing. This, and exposure to drier atmospheres common in QC labs, introduce rheological changes which reduce stickiness and therefore distort test results.

“As stickiness is most commonly evident when dough is subjected to shear, tests should ideally be performed immediately after mixing or processing. The research, development and engineering team at Warburtons has worked with Stable Micro Systems to develop a sample testing box into which dough samples can be placed quickly and with minimum exposure of the cut surface to the atmosphere.”

A retaining plate is placed on top of the dough, applying slight compression to the sample. A narrow blade is then driven through a slot in the retaining plate, to a defined distance.

“This action provides bakers with an accurate assessment of the compression peak and compression area of the dough, indicators of its consistency,” explains the spokesman. “As the blade is withdrawn upwards, software calculates the adhesion peak and adhesion area. The higher the peak, and/or larger the area, the stickier the dough.”

The Warburtons Dough Stickiness System is available in two sizes, to accommodate samples of 500g or 900-1000g.

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