Optimize Your Product with Thermal Profiling

Running a thermal profile for product optimization with the Breadometer.

Product optimization is very important to commercial bakeries. It imparts low scrap rate high-yield quality that improves margins for higher profitability to the business.

To optimize bakery products, a clear understanding of the baking process and how it affects the product are key. One way to optimize products is the thermal profiling of the baking operation.

How does thermal profiling help?

The baking step is a complex operation, and especially for yeasted goods, bakers do not particularly know what is happening with their dough goods inside the oven nor when. Control settings made on different shifts, oven-to oven and plant-to-plant inconsistencies compound process differentials which require balancing every oven and scheduling the appropriate maintenance. This work sets the stage for product optimization, and thermal profiling becomes a very important tool to understand how the baking process works to produce the finished product consistently.

Thermal profiling is the measurement of the internal product temperature over baking time. A BakeWATCH® kit from ECD, a leader in thermal profiling for the baking industry, comes ready to use, and includes:

  • Programmable electronic data recording device (M.O.L.E.® thermal profiler – 3, 6 or 20-input channel models)
  • Insulation box for thermal protection
  • Set of Thermocouple sensors for dough insertion and ambient measurements in tunnel and rack ovens.
  • Software for data analysis and recordkeeping

Once data has been collected and processed by the thermal profiling software, it is displayed as a temperature/time plot known as the S-curve that shows how the formulated dough or batter respond to oven settings.

The S curve of a thermal profile provides the answers to over baking.

The fundamental principle of thermal profiling lies in the fact that physical, microbiological and chemical changes in the product during baking occur as a function of temperature. These changes include:

  • Yeast kill or deactivation point: 140°F/60°C, should occur at 50–55% of total bake time.
  • Gluten proteins denaturing point: Beginning at 165°F/74°C and finishing at 180°F/82°C.
  • Starch gelatinization point: Beginning at 170°F/77°C and finishing at 180°F/82°C, should occur at 60–65% of total bake time.
  • Arrival to baking temperature: Final product temperature of 200°F/93°C. Arrival should occur at 85–88%% of total bake time.
  • Crumb Set Zone: The final 10 to 15% of Bake time which provides optimum crumb

The timing or percent of bake time at which these changes take place is very important. The point at which yeast is killed demarks the end of the oven spring stage. Starch gelatinization and protein denaturing both occur at very similar temperature ranges and are responsible for the set of crumb (transition from a visco-elastic raw dough or liquid batter into a firm, porous and resilient product). And Arrival needs to occur with enough time remaining in the oven to ensure optimum crumb, texture and moisture content and packaging size and weight to the finished goods.

TIP: Utilizing the Breadometer® sensor takes the operator out of the data for repeatable data that can be trusted. The software automatically calculates these critical S-Curve events as percentages of bake times for fast analysis and performance data over time.

6 ways thermal profiling optimizes baked goods

Thermal profiling of the baking step helps:

  1. Improve crust color
  2. Identify formulation issues
  3. Obtain the optimum bread texture and shelf-life
  4. Extend mold-free shelf life
  5. Obtain proper bread structure and resiliency for slicing and bagging operations
  6. Reduce risk of product collapse due to under-baking

Take the guesswork out of baking! Learn more about our thermal profiling equipment here.

2019-02-05T14:43:26-07:00

About the Author:

Ray Pearce
Ray has worked with countless bakers and ingredients suppliers as well as electronics manufacturing; curing and heat treat customers, helping to solve conveyorized thermal processing quality issues with thermal profiling solutions, online & onsite. Ray studied Engineering and Communications at the University of Washington and has served as Technical Director and currently as BakeWATCH product manager at Electronic Controls Design, Inc. in Portland, Oregon.

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