Optimize Icings by Measuring Viscosity

Optimize your icings by measuring viscosity.

Today, we get to talk about where science and baking meet—one of my favorite things! On the baking side, we have icings and glazes: a crucial finishing touch. On the science side, viscosity: the measure of the thickness or resistance to flow of a fluid.

Why measure viscosity?

Because it will help you know how to handle and adjust your process and equipment. A thicker icing will be more difficult to handle. If it’s too thin, it won’t stay on or properly cover your product.

So how do I measure it?

This is where the science comes in! Viscosity is the measure of shear stress/shear rate. Shear stress is the force per unit area used to move a material.  Shear rate is a measure of the change in speed at which the intermediate layers of a fluid move with respect to each other.

But don’t worry, there are tools to help:

  • Viscometers
  • Rheometers
  • Plastometers

 Samples may be gathered during processing and lab tested by QA staff. Another option is an inline system allowing constant monitoring during production. It is important to remember a material’s viscosity is not a single point measurement, but often depends on a number of factors, like time and temperature. Small variations of processing conditions and raw materials can affect flow behavior and final viscosity.


About the Author:

Lin Carson, PhD
Dr. Lin Carson’s love affair with baking started over 25 years ago when she earned her BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University. She went on to earn her MSc then PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. Seeing that technical information was not freely shared in the baking industry, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. Today, as the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the commercial baking industry, BAKERpedia is used by over half a million commercial bakers, ingredient sellers, equipment suppliers and baking entrepreneurs annually. You can catch Dr. Lin regularly on the BAKED In Science podcast solving baking problems. For more information on Dr. Lin, subscribe to her "Ask Dr. Lin" YouTube Channel, or follow her on LinkedIn.

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