Rheology, in relation to dough making, is affected by water absorption as seen in this Farinograph.


Also Known As Flour and Dough Rheology, Water Absorption

What is Rheology?

Rheology is the study of how materials deform or flow, when a force is applied2. Rheology is a separate field of study that involves stress and strain measurement.  In the field of baking, dough rheology is of particular interest due to the effect of elasticity and extensibility of bread dough on final bread qualities.  Bread dough rheology is mainly affected by water absorption.  In the baking industry, dough rheology and water absorption is frequently studied by the farinograph and mixograph.


Rheology was the name given to the discipline of a society, in 1929, that was engaged in the study of how materials deform in response to forces.  The goal of rheology is to provide quantitative parameters that define how a material will deform as a function of force, time and spatial orientation.1

“Everything flows” – Heraclitus.  However, everything does flow but depending on the force, direction and the length of time.


Dough rheology is studied because it is related to bread making quality.


There are many different ways to measure dough and batter rheology3, and here are some common methods used in the baking industry:

  1. Farinograph
  2. Mixograph4
  3. Extensograph
  4. Alveograph
  5. Rapid Visco Analyzer5
  6. Viscometer


  1. Janmey, Paul A., and Manfred Schliwa. “Rheology.” Current Biology 18.15 (2008): R639-641.
  2. Hardt, N. A., R. M. Boom, and A. J. Van Der Goot. “Wheat Dough Rheology at Low Water Contents and the Influence of Xylanases.” Food Research International 66 (2014): 478-84.
  3. Delcour, Jan A., and R. Carl. Hoseney. “Rheology of Doughs and Batters.” Principles of Cereal Science and Technology. St. Paul, MN: AACC International, 2010. 87-96.
  4. Pyler, E. J. “Physical and Chemical Test Methods.” Baking Science & Technology. Merriam, Kan.: Sosland Pub., 1988. P852.
  5. Cauvain, Stanley P., and Paul Catterall. “Flour Milling.” Technology of Breadmaking. New York: Springer, 2007. P364.