Problems with Product Consistency? Check the Heat Flux

Problems with product consistency could be linked to the oven heat flux.

You’re trying to produce the same product on two different lines, or transfer a product to a new line. You stick to the same process and formula. But when you take it out of the oven, something is…off.

It could be the hardness, chewiness, gumminess, color, but it’s not right. Like most consistency issues, the answer is your oven. Specifically, the heat flux.

Oven heat flux = the amount of energy transferred per unit area per unit time from or to a surface.

Heat transfer and heat flux both follow three mechanisms during baking:

  1. Radiation
  2. Convection
  3. Conduction

When you run a heat flux profile, you can measure these energies that have an effect on your product. Then, you find the difference in these components between lines and boom! You know why one oven is baking a product differently than another one.

THEN you can analyze, adjust and control to optimize your product lines.

How is it measured?

The heat flux sensor is designed to measure convective and radiant heat fluxes at the product level, and to identify which modes of heat transfer are predominant. Profiles are often used when trying to produce the same product on two different lines, or when trying to transfer product from one line to another. When the heat flux component profiles are matched, the two lines will produce the same product.

The ratio of components is an important factor for baked product quality. Even if the same amount is delivered to a given product, the convective heat transfer may vary. The variation could affect energy consumption as well as the appearance and quality of the baked product.

2018-12-19T12:59:38-07:00

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.

2 Comments

  1. Ara SALKHANIAN January 11, 2019 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Lin,
    is there any heat flux measuring device on the market to integrate it in the oven?

  2. Richard Starke
    Richard Starke January 16, 2019 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Hello Ara,

    When you say “integrate it in the oven” I believe you are referring to a sensor that is fixed in the oven providing a continuous Heat Flux reading. To the best of my knowledge this does not exist. More importantly the most interesting part to heat flux measurements is understanding how heat flux builds from start-to-finish in a baking process. Understanding the total amount of energy and the percentage mix between radiant and convective energy, explains the oven / product baking profile.
    To learn more check out this link (https://www.readingthermal.com/equipment/heat-flux-sensor-commercial-baking-oven.html) and feel free to contact me any time.

    Regards,
    Richard Starke
    Director
    Reading Thermal
    [email protected]

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