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    • Profile PhotoJanie
      Participant
      @jgikegami
      Post count: 7

      Hello Dr. Lin and Bakers

      Just a brief introduction about myself.  I’m an apple grower in Japan, and I have a small factory that processes the apples into applesauce and apple butter.

      I have a home recipe for carrot cake that uses apple sauce and I want to develop it for a commercial canned product.  I have found a cannery that will do a very small test run but they have no experience with baking cake in a can so they want me to tell them how to do it.  Not being myself a baker, I’ve been searching the internet for any and all information about baking cake in a tin can but find nothing. Then I found Bakerpedia and I knew I was in the right place.  Where should I start?  What should I do?  Please help!

    • Profile PhotoZziwa
      Participant
      @kamos-bakehouse-ltd
      Post count: 49

      if you don’t mind Sharing  the recipe with us mrs @jgikegami different recipes and formulations require different procedures

    • Profile PhotoJanie
      Participant
      @jgikegami
      Post count: 7

      Zziwa, thank you for taking time to reply.  Here is the recipe that I’ve been using in my home kitchen.  If anything it’s a little too dense so maybe I should reduce the amount of carrots?  I’d appreciate your input on the recipe itself first.

      My plan is to bake in the can (180-200g), seam the can, and do pasteurization.  I spoke to a university extension food specialist and they said to ensure shelf stability it would require 120℃ /4 minutes.  Could you give me some pH and water activity parameters that would allow  lower pasteurization temperatures  or shorter times and still be shelf stable for at least 12 months. I prefer not to use any preservatives.

      Any bit of information or advice that you could give me is greatly appreciated.

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    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello @jgikegami and welcome to the BAKERforum!

      An important part of product development is the research, and that usually means asking questions.  My first question for you is to understand your goal.  Is it to sell more apple sauce in another format or product innovation?  As you are naming this Apple Carrot, perhaps you should consider increasing the Apple and reducing the carrot?

      At first glance I would say the recipe looks more a pudding than a cake.  Do you whip the eggs to make them light and creamy?  Can you give some information in general about the process?

      50 minutes seems like a very long bake time for a cake.  You mentioned that you think the cake is dense.  How dense is it?  Have you calculated the grams per cubic centimeter?

      Preserving in more than just pH and aW.  Cleanliness and minimizing contact points after the kill step are also important.  A pH below 4.0 is considered beneficial in reducing the opportunity for bacterial growth.  Free water is important for bacteria and microbial growth.  At a bare minimum 0.63 aW is considered the goal to limit growth.  Most dry cookies etc. target 0.60 aW.

      The idea of cake in a can is a new concept to me and sounds rather interesting.  The pasteurization temperature and times seem pretty reasonable to me.  Once you seal the can I would think that you create a vacuum and that in itself would provide preservation.  Have you attempted a test of this at all?

      I noticed you equated an egg at 67g.  That seems rather large to me.  On average a large egg in North America and Europe is considered 50g.  How did you come up with 67g?  Do you have a typo in your recipe for the eggs, should this read 3dL (300ml) instead of 3L (3,000ml)?

      do you plan to bake the cake in the can and then seal it, or bake the cake, then transfer in to a can to seal?

      i hope we can help you achieve your goals!

      • Profile PhotoJanie
        Participant
        @jgikegami
        Post count: 7

        Mark,

        thank you for your reply and for your questions that point me to what I don’t know and need to find out.  You are correct: I want to sell more apple sauce in another format.  Apple sauce is almost unheard of in Japan, so I think that now is the right time to introduce it as an ingredient in baking–and hopefully this will lead to increased sales of our apple sauce.  So, yes, your suggestion to increase the apple sauce and decrease the amount of carrots makes so much sense.

        Also, Japan is seeing a rise in natural disasters–earthquakes, typhoons, torrential rains causing landslides.  There are many people who have lost their homes and are in temporary housing or shelters.  Ordinary citizens and municipalities usually stockpile emergency food supplies and RTE meals.  Most of the emergency food is savory, so I think the sweet, moist texture of an apple sauce-carrot cake would be a comforting food item.

        I did a test at the food science dept. of a university, mainly to see what it would look like to do the whole process in a commercial kitchen.  The food lab had a can seaming machine that could only seam 453ml cans and my intention is to bake in cans of 200ml.  I used the recipe that I posted and the results were like you said, a somewhat stiff pudding. Except for the eggs, which were a smaller size, I’ve tried the same recipe at home with somewhat satisfactory results but there is still room for improvement.

        No, I don’t whip the eggs because most of the recipes for carrot cake that I studied off of the internet just called for mixing/stirring, but now I know that whipping the eggs will result in a lighter, more airy texture.  Just how much whipping is necessary?   This has been my process until now:  Whisk eggs, milk, oil, vinegar, and sugar in that order.  Then I add the sifted dry into the wet and finally stir in the apple sauce and carrots.  At home I bake for 40 minutes but at the lab, because of the depth of the cans, I baked for 50 minutes.  Is there a specific order in which to add the ingredients?  And, if it were you, what changes would you make to the recipe?

        No, I have not measure grams per cubic centimeter.  Is this something as simple as cutting up a cubic centimeter and weighing it?  Is there a number I should be targeting?    About the eggs, the L in my recipe stands for Large.  I weighed the eggs in the shell and the avg was 67.  I guess Japanese eggs are a rare case in which our L is actually larger than US/NA large.   To answer your last question, I plan to bake the cake in the can and then seal it.  There will be no transfer.

        So, as you can see, I am less than a novice baker–with a dream.  Before I found Bakerpedia, I posted my plans in another baking forum and asked for advice.  I was kind of brushed off with “You don’t know what you’re doing.  Give it up!”  So, thank you for taking time to graciously respond.  If the US baking industry is conservative and there is a large gap in information, then Japan is much, much more so.  So thank you for sharing your expertise.

        FYI, there is a New England company, B&M, that makes bread (photos look more like a cake) in a can.   Wish I knew their processes….

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello Janie @jgikegami,

      Thank you for your detailed reply and your candidness.  We hope we can help you find solutions. to your interesting challenge.  We are an open community where I and Dr. Lin and team expect everyone to be treated with respect and dignity.  We are about sharing knowledge and get all giddy when we can share our ideas and experiences that help others.  No one should ever put another person down to attempt to prop themselves up.  It is a false facade that serves no one any good.

      I agree with you that having a sweet RTE item that can serve as an emotional pick-me-up during tough times is an idea worth pursuing.

      Most ingredients in a commercial bakery are going to all be measured by weight.  Even the liquids in most cases, with water perhaps the one exception.  I have taken the liberty to transfer you recipe in to my standard excel template attached, that helps with seeing baker percent ratios to flour, formula percent, and easy to change batch size calculations by entering values in the yellow shaded cells.

      Eggs are not weighed with the shell on.  On average a large egg without the shell is 50 grams.  Now your recipe makes a little more sense to me 🙂  Your recipe is pretty close to what in baking in North America is referred to as a high ratio cake.  This is when the ratio of sugar to flour is close to or more than 100%  Sugar has many different important functionalities.  I used to teach a general interest class on ingredient functionality, and sugar alone we would discuss for about 4 hours, and that is not getting in to all the chemistry and other properties.  The basics of what will help you to know here is that sugar is a humectant.  It traps water so it cannot be used by bacteria to grow.  This is known as free water or water activity, indicated as aW.  If you think more sweetness may be acceptable to your customer base, increasing this could be an opportunity to help preserve the cake naturally.

      If you have some patience, next week I will try testing your recipe with a whipped egg method and report back to you with pictures and details.

      Density is generally expressed as g/cm³.  For batter you take a vessel of known verified volume, 100 ml is ideal, fill it, level it off, and weigh it.  If the 100 ml volume of batter weighs 80 grams, the density is 0.8 g/cm³.  If you know the dimension of your can, for example (diameter or circumference and height), then your volume is (r²*π)*h = the cylinder volume of cake, divided by the weight of the cylinder.  This helps you understand quantitatively how dense or light the cake is, as well as providing you with quality parameters in the future.

      To address the cooking process further; would you be depositing batter into cans, and retorting as part of the cooking process, or bake the cake in the cans, then retort or pasteurize before sealing?  I am wondering that if you are baking in the cans, you have effectively accomplished a full kill step.  If the cans could be sealed hot, soon after coming out of the oven, no retorting or pasteurization would be necessary.  It might be worth testing?  Are you using a pressure cooker at home to do testing?

      I hope you understand that the questions and dialogue are the foundation of researching how best to reach your goals.  With some patience I am optimistic you will develop something workable.

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    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      P.S. I found the canned bread you mentioned on line: https://www.famousfoods.com/bmbrbrp.html

    • Profile PhotoJanie
      Participant
      @jgikegami
      Post count: 7

      Hi Mark,

      I can’t thank you enough for your detailed explanations.  I’m starting to see baking through a whole different lens.

      If you have some patience, next week I will try testing your recipe with a whipped egg method and report back to you with pictures and details.            Yes, yes! I’ve got patience!

      Yesterday, I was in a hurry to give my cake to an elderly couple who was visiting (I’m trying to get feedback from all age groups) so I halved the recipe I posted earlier but this time I reduced the grated carrots to 100g as per your suggestion to decrease the carrots to fittingly name it apple-carrot cake.  I weighed the eggs (2) and sure enough they were about 50g each without the shell.  I beat the eggs more than I usually do. I had intended to do the batter density test as you explained but in my haste, by the time I realized it I had already poured the batter into the molds. The results were a much lighter cake than usual.

      I’m all for natural preservation by increasing sugar content but then it would probably be too sweet for my customer base,not that I’ve done any official taste preference monitoring, though.

      About the cooking process, I intend to deposit batter into can, bake in can, seal it, and then do retort sterilization.  My understanding is that the baking itself is a kill step for pathogens, but not of spores that could potentially grow in sealed cans devoid of any oxygen.  So even after baking and seaming the can as soon as it is out of the oven, the only way to make it commercially shelf stable is by sterilizing it at 120℃ for a minimum of 4 minutes.   Under Japanese food laws anything with pH of less than 4.6 and  aW of less than 0.94 can be pasteurized at regular temperatures.

      As per your suggestion, my next test will be to deposit the batter into the cans, skip the baking part, and go directly into retort.  I’ll be shopping online for a pressure cooker so I can do testing at home.  My nearest university extension lab is a one-way 3 hour drive from where I live and when I calculate gasoline and highway tolls and lab fees, it’s just cheaper to invest in a good pressure cooker so I can do tests at home.

      Thank you for the spreadsheet!

      Janie

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello @jgikegami : I am planning to fit in a test bake of your formula as discussed tomorrow.  I will comment back to you on this here, Friday or Saturday.  Thanks.

       

    • Profile PhotoJanie
      Participant
      @jgikegami
      Post count: 7

      Hello Mark,

      I was hoping around on Bakerpedia and I just discovered the podcast you did last week and was happy to hear you bring up my cake in a can project and invite others to join in the conversation!

      I came here to thank you for that and noticed your post above.  Were you able to do a test?  Can’t wait to hear your feedback.

      I’m also looking forward to the live stream 8/13 about extending shelf life. Thank you.

       

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello @jgikegami,

      Sorry for keeping you waiting!  I made up about a 1/2 recipe of your apple-carrot cake.
      The main suggestion I have for you is to use a whisk attachment and whip the eggs and sugar, adding the oil, and then the milk to create an emulsion.  It takes about 6-8 minutes of whipping in the small quantity I made.  This provides more aeration and makes for good batter flow for depositing.
      For apples sauce I cooked some apples in the microwave with a little water and vanilla, and then pureed them.  I would say it was a slightly thick apple sauce.  For the carrot I grated the carrots on a food processor, and then copped them briefly with the food processor blade on pulse a few times.
      I used four 3-inch (7.5 cm) stainless steel rings and one 7-inch cake pan for depositing the batter.  I did not weigh them before baking, and just filled the rings 3/4 full and the rest in the cake pan. After baking the average weight was 94g each, average height was 30mm.  Density is about 0.7.
      This makes for a tasty and very moist product, that is like a light pudding.
      You can see the adjustments I made in the attached recipe.
      I would also suggest to reduce the amount of apple and carrot to obtain a more cake-like texture.
      Here is a link to a Google Drive Folder with photos for you.  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/148LRcX0Shn_oD7CmuoqMsoiqGt1-71ey?usp=sharing

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    • Profile PhotoJanie
      Participant
      @jgikegami
      Post count: 7

      Hello Mark and Dr. Lin

      A belated thank you, Mark, for the photos of the cake you tested for me and the details.  I was happy to hear Dr. Lin weigh in on your Forum Friday (8/14 I think) live stream where she said cake in a can would be good for camping.  I hadn’t thought of that myself but come to think of it, especially during this pandemic a lot of big city families have taken to camping.  It’s not as risky as staying in a hotel but still allows them to get away from the city.  So I think marketing to campers is a great idea.   Anyway, I’ve been busy baking my apple carrot cake and giving it away for people to taste and give me feedback.

      Besides spending a lot of time on Bakerpedia , I’ve also been all over the internet trying to find a pressure canner.  Before I started seriously searching, I thought that pressure cookers and pressure canners were the same thing with two different names.  Turns out that they are two different things.  We have pressure cookers in Japan, but not pressure canners.  So I’ve had to turn to Amazon USA, but the pressure canners approved by USDA and still affordable to me are all out of stock.

      ・・・ I think I finally found one on a Japanese site and it let me finish the transaction without getting interrupted with the  “currently unavailable” notice.  It ships from the US and takes 3 weeks! I’ll report back to you after I get the canner and do some tests.

      Thanks for everything.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • Profile PhotoJanie
      Participant
      @jgikegami
      Post count: 7

      Hello Mark, Dr. Lin, and all

      I am sorry for not posting an update much sooner.  I can’t believe that it’s been four months since I was last on here.  Where does time go?  We finally finished picking our last apples off the trees and have started processing them into apple sauce, apple butter, and apple juice.  All the while I have been working on my apple-carrot cake-in-a-can but every turn I take runs me into a brick wall.  But it’s all a chance to learn and grow and add to my skill set so that I can face the next challenge.

      Background:  (If you’re interested, please go back to my initial posts and back and forth with Mark Floerke and see the attached recipe that I’m using now)

      So, in the first test batch we put the baked cakes in desired cans (diameter 74.1mm/height 59mm) and then we put them in the retort pasteurizer.  To make a long story short, 7 out of 10 cans exploded in the retort machine.  We think that it was the reaction of the baking soda and the vinegar, but we are not sure and we have not been able to do any more testing.  We gave up on the 2nd batch which would have been the raw batter/can seaming/cooking-pasteurizing. The test kitchen that agreed to let me use their retort pasteurizer was not equipped with an oven.  They put all raw ingredients into the can and cook and pasteurize at the same time. So they asked me to bake the cakes the day before.  The next day, the  baked cake was put into the can, the lid was seamed onto the can, and the sealed can was put into the retort pasteurizer (120℃・4mins).  The plan was to test 15 cans by this method and then the 2nd batch of 15 cans would be to deposit raw cake batter into can, seal the can,  then cook/pasteurize.

      Apart from this, the can maker will not give the OK for their cans to be used in dry heat oven temperatures (160℃)as I have been planning.  Their cans that can be used for oven heat come in a MOQ of 300,000, which is way beyond what I can afford financially or otherwise.

      So, what is your advice for me?  Should I leave out baking soda and vinegar and switch to baking powder or some other kind of leavener?

      I’m thinking that another option would be to just stick with all other ingredients as is but leave out any leavening agent, and then go for an apple carrot bread pudding.  That way I would still be able to use my applesauce and have the same kind of moist, sweet in-a-can treat.  I want to keep the label as natural and clean as possible.

      I appreciate any and all feedback.  Thanks everybody!

       

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    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello @jgikegami!  We are so glad to hear from you again.

      sorry to hear some of the tests did not go as planned.  Yes, the batter would need to be baked or cooked before sealing, as the leavening produces gas and as the cake rises will displace air.

      Yes, one option might be an apple-carrot pudding.  To test baking in an approved oven use can, try contacting the manufacturer directly and request a sample of 100 stock cans, close to the size you plan to make, for product development testing.  Take it one step at a time.  When you have orders signed for the first 100,000+ cans you can easily risk MOQ.

      in all likelihood my guess is that the can your contact is using has a liner in it that can only tolerate a little over 100° C, or the lining will melt.  What if you tried to bake the cakes in the current cans, using a water bath?  This will prevent the can from getting hotter than the contact water.  Just an idea.

      please do keep us informed of progress and questions!

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