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Texture analyzer (CT3)

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#1 bnue


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Posted 19 February 2014 - 06:49 PM



We have been recently introduced to a texture analyzer (Brookfield CT3). We have been baking cookies (soft and crunchy) since 2001. We do get occaaional complaints from customers that the cookies break during transit or they are hard etc.  So at the moment we have rented out this instrument to see if it can be useful to us in improving the texture (crunch factor) of the cunchy cookies.  


Has anyone out there used an instrument like this before and found it useful especially for cookies? I'm very skeptical abut this as first of all we do not have the right settings. According to the sales person this is something we have to come up with after collecting enough data. Another thing is, say we use this intrument, how can it help us? we will test the texture after it is baked. Once baked if the texture does not meet specs ( crunch factor differs for different individuals) and if the cookie has been baked correctly, is of a good color, and shape we are going to be packing it regardless of it meeting the specification of texture.


This equipment costs > 5 grand and I really dont want to invest in something which might potentially not be useful to us especially as we are not in an R&D phase. Please can any  cookie experts give any suggestion?



#2 ChocolatesMyGame


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Posted 19 February 2014 - 08:27 PM


I used a texture analyzer at my previous job although it was in meat.  We produced sausage patties and used the texture analyzer for quality purposes only.  We did not hold or rework product based on the texture reading.  I had difficulty with the equipment as it didn't seem to produce consistent results.  We would sample products and rate them based on mouth feel first, softest to densest, and then compare on the texture analyzer.  Sometimes the analyzer readings would correlate very well with our on mouth feel testing, but sometimes it would not. The company actually had a "target number" for the analyzer; however, the trained sensory panelists would regularly sample the product and deem product with a significantly lower analyzer reading than the target reading as being target product and product with a target reading as too soft...


My suggestion is to really take time to find out if the machine gives you reliable data.  However, if you aren't going to hold product based on texture alone it may not be worth the investment as maybe mouth feel through sensory analysis may be enough.

#3 LBS


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Posted 19 February 2014 - 08:59 PM

I used this instrument in my previouse job on R & D fro bakeries. it is very helpfull for developping products, can help you to ajust your dosage on softning ingredient that can make your product softer.



#4 mansong


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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

There are so many benefits you can derived from Texture Analyzer (TA), but it is as good as the technician and what you want to get out of it.

I did extensive work with TA using flatbreads(tortilas). I wanted to understand the correlation between the different types of flour(UK, German A/E or Canadian ) , certain added ingredients, mixing times of the dough etc affect the quality of the finished product. We had issues with breaking of tortillas geting to the end of shelf life and also some delicate product with seasoning which I personally think were due to enzymatic reaction with the flour proteins.


I collected a big data and did a thrend analysis, this helped me to come up  with an estimated range of number for both resistance and extensibility for a particular product (obviously added ingredients in the product also have effect on the strength). I could tell an estimated number based on the shelf life of the product even before I test it under the TA.


Enough of what I did, let me try and guide you through.


You have to put on a forensic scientist hat by starting from the flour and the specs you have been receiving from your supplier. Some supliers from my experience will supply you with 'cheap'/low spec flour and take same money from you, so the TA will help you to understand they different typs of flour and its effect on quality of your cookies. Trust me you wil see a big difference from different tyes of flour, especially from different season and harvest times. Some suppliers do mix the flours. Use dough and finished product to get some data and analyse it.


Another area to check is also your softening/relaxing ingredient- if you are using bakery enzymes becareful with the level as it might  destroy all the proteins holding the dough which wil lead to breakage during trasport etc. You can reduce your relaxing agent in different levels and test all levels using dough and finished product with the TA. Get data and analyse the data.


Lastly, check your mixing times (process parameters etc) as this also affect the quality/strength of the cookies.Mix it in varying times , take dough and some finish product out of the varying times and TA the douh and the finished product.


I can go on and on. I wil leave you to think on these 3 sugestions I hope through your thinking you may get a solution. It may even be an abuse of product during transportation.


All the best.

#5 dlpreonas


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Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:07 PM

You have a water activity problem/moisture problem.  If you have the correct formula, managing the bake quality via Aw and moisture will control your breakage.

The Brookfield will only help you zero in on the correct texture target.

#6 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:20 PM

I have used a texture analyzer before in pasta.  We had a hand grading test, calibrated to Italy, to test the firmness of the pasta.  They decided they wanted to go with a piece of equipment instead of the hand grading (bad decision imo) and we did a huge test sample collection activity to correlate the hand grades to the texture analyzer and test the different cuts to see what values they came up with.


It was ok.  I was the main tester of it before I left the company.


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#7 moskito


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Posted 23 February 2014 - 01:31 PM



as a bakery we are using e.g. texture analyzer to solve problems with broken biscuits. But our experience is the success came by using six sigma methodology and analyzing a huge number of data.

Today we have a six sigma team taking over such problems. And we have introduced in the project management education that everybody not only in R&D, QM and production being in charge of... should have at least a yellow belt education (in R&D green belt as minimum). Then all employees involved in a "problem solving group/team" is able to discuss on a certain level.




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