Brought to you by MECATHERM
When buying cakes and patisserie, consumers are looking for a flavor and texture experience that is unique and exceptionally delicious. Therefore, bakers have the opportunity to make their brand stand out with quality taste and texture. While the formula plays an important role in this, so does the baking process. With the right oven technology and baking parameters, you can create a number of innovative cake products and profiles.
How baking parameters impact cake texture
To enhance the texture and taste of products, the production process has to be precise. The first step is understanding the 3 different steps that occur during baking, and how they influence your product:
- The expansion step starts as soon as the product enters the oven, and is the origin of the final product volume.
- The stabilization step, from 60°C (140°F), creates the final crumb structure and product shape (like the cracks on a muffin, or the form of a loaf cake).
- The browning step, from 100°C (212°F), gives the crust color and thickness. It also plays a role in the product taste, softness and shelf life as the water evaporates.
During each of these 3 steps, the way heat is transferred to the product also influences the final characteristics. There are 3 heat transfer modes:
- Conductive energy: transmitted to the product by contact. Energy is either transmitted immediately to the product bottom when baking on a belt, or delayed when baking on a support. This delay depends on the material and thickness of the support.
- Convective energy: transmitted between hot air and the product and pan surfaces. Convection facilitates heat transfer to the product and gives an even coloring. It is especially effective with bake tins that are close to each other. It can also have a drying effect, depending on the humidity rate.
- Radiant energy: transmitted through electromagnetic waves, heat is released after impacting a contact surface. The impact is similar to the effect of tan marks: only the surfaces in contact with the rays absorb heat. It allows color contrast according to the geometry of the product and its support. This baking mode also preserves product softness.
Learn more in the webinar: How to Innovate with Cake Texture
The role of water loss
Water loss is related to several parameters: baking time, temperature, heat transfer mode and intensity, and the hygrometry of the baking chamber. So, the faster you can bake a product, the lower the water loss will be. Depending on the end product, you will have to find a compromise between product moistness, which provides softness and a higher final product weight, and the water activity—a major factor in product shelf-life. To achieve this balance, you need to master the precision of the baking curve.
What about steam injection?
While most cake and patisserie products don’t require steam injection, some do such as cheesecake and pudding cake. The addition of steam will help increase the hygrometry inside the baking chamber, which is necessary to avoid the surface dryness and cracks.
Oven technology for a precise bake
The M-TA oven from MECATHERM provides flexibility for a more diversified product supply, including breads, sweet goods, and snacks. In order to bring maximum flexibility, it is a completely modular oven equipped with compact heating modules reaching 25m² at maximum and operating in full independence.
One of the major strengths of this oven is its baking precision, thanks to a new aeraulic concept. Specially developed by our R&D experts, this aeraulic concept stems from the base of a simulation model for the computer and assists flow simulation. This results in defined and redimensioned air flow that creates a precise and homogeneous flow within the oven’s width.
Moreover, the oven is highly efficient with a fast change-over time. MECATHERMs R&D teams have worked on the oven’s reactivity so its temperature adapts rapidly and precisely when change-overs happen. The use of a specially created, highly modulating burner, as well as a high air renewal rate, allows rapid raises and drops in temperature. This solution allows products to bake on any kind of material or directly on the hearth. The precision of this oven results in high quality and uniform products, ensuring a no-loss production.
Learn more about how to innovate with cake texture and flavor! Watch a recording of a MECATHERM seminar that dives into ingredient and oven technology, plus download a review!