Bread evaluation is a systematic, subjective and semi-quantitative method for scoring bread products relative to a standard.

Bread Evaluation

What is Bread Evaluation?

Bread evaluation is a systematic, subjective and semi-quantitative method for scoring bread products relative to a standard which is usually defined by the bakery’s R&D and QC departments.

  • It is different from objective product evaluation, which is based on the measurement of variables and analysis of factual data.
  • Bread scoring is based on sensory evaluation of its internal and external characteristics.

How does it work?

The first step the bakery should work on is having a standard as the base for bread evaluation if proper bread evaluation is to be done. Setting a standard of what is an ideal bread can be done by:

  • Benchmarking best production practices
  • Looking at competitor’s bread and finding improvement opportunities
  • Carrying out consumer research and receiving feedback from customers
  • Performing bake tests or lab trials (looking for perfection)

The characteristics of bread are divided into internal (related to the crumb) and external (outside surface of baked loaf including caramelization or dehydration during baking).

Internal External
  • Grain
  • Crumb color
  • Flavor
  • Aroma
  • Tactile crumb texture
  • Mouthfeel
  • Loaf volume
  • Break and shred
  • Symmetry (uniformity of shape)
  • Crust color
  • Crust surface

A “standard bread” product that has an optimum combination of volume, external and internal characteristics should be the base for comparison when performing bread scoring.

Procedure for bread evaluation1

When to score Sample selection Sample preparation Method and order of evaluation Who scores

Bread evaluation should be done at least once per shift (per variety).

Bread can be scored the same day of production or within 2 days of baking.

Samples should be selected randomly from each production run of each variety, ideally on a daily basis.

Selected samples should be representative of the batch.

Samples can also be taken from the market.

Loaves must be completely cool before scoring. A warm crumb can tear or collapse during slicing.

Once properly cooled, the loaves should be sealed in plastic bags and kept at room temperature in a storage cabinet until scoring.

  1. First assess the external loaf characteristics and crust color of whole loaves under appropriate lighting.
  2. Cut the loaves vertically in half across the middle with a sharp knife or into slices using a bread slicer. If using sliced bread, evaluate a slice from the center of the loaf.
  3. Place the half loaves or slices under light, and evaluate the internal loaf characteristics.

Properly trained personnel and may include:

  • Production managers
  • Department heads
  • Supervisors


Every bread has its own requirements and quality characteristics. The quality of bread is a function of its ingredients, yeast activity and processing conditions. The soft and resilient texture and fine cell structure (grain) of a slice of white pan or whole wheat bread, are features that consumers expect when purchasing these breads.

An “ideal” or high-quality loaf of white pan bread should have the following characteristics:

Internal External
  • Grain: small (tight) cells, very thin cell walls, fine and uniform cell size distribution in center, elongated and fine cells around perimeter.
  • Crumb color: bright white or slightly creamy.
  • Flavor: slightly sweet, yeasty and aromatic flavor of baker’s yeast mixed in flour-and-water dough. Strong and sharp fermentation flavors are not desired.
  • Aroma: when bread is smelled, close to the nose, while inhaling deeply, the aromatic sensation experienced is described as bread aroma.
  • Tactile crumb texture: smooth and silky feel. Crumb should be resilient when pressing lightly with the fingers.
  • Mouthfeel: moist and soft (dry or gummy mouthfeel are not desired).
  • Loaf volume: good loaf volume with optimum oven spring. Sufficient rise renders proper break and shred.
  • Break and shred: break and shred should be high and fairly smooth, not excessive or rough or bulging.
  • Uniformity of shape: symmetrical with a rounded top (flat top and irregular shape are not desired). Loaf should retain a straight and upright position. Keyholing, collapsing, flat top and uneven shape are considered defects.
  • Crust color: well-developed golden-brown color, smooth and even.
  • Crust surface: side walls and top crust should be smooth and should not contain holes or pits.

The following scoring model can be used to compare bread samples against the standard. Any deviations from optimal characteristics, either insufficient or excessive, should be penalized with a lower score.

Highest score Average score Lowest score
Bread characteristic (internal or external) 10 5 1
Relation to standard Closest Half-way Farthest


A score sheet form is usually filled out during a bread evaluation process. Such form can look like this:

Sample or dough No.
1 2 3
Loaf volume
Break and shred
Crust color
Crust surface
Comments external characteristics
Subtotal external score (E)
Crumb color
Tactile crumb texture
Comments internal characteristics
Subtotal internal score (I)
Total (E + I)



  1. AACC International. Approved Methods of Analysis, 11th Ed. Method 10–12.01. Guidelines for Scoring Experimental Bread. Final approval September, 2012. Cereals & Grains Association, St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.

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