Our manufacturing process is experiencing extensive puffing and hard texture of cookies/crackers when a particular's flour is used.
I am seeking knowledgeable expertise along with outside the box information as to this issue affecting our process. Also if persons could pose possible root cause questions to help investigate causes never thought about, that would be appreciated.
The situation is we were introduced to a new supplier of flour. Whenever that flour is run in soft cookies, it leads to puffing of the cookies. When it is used in crackers, there is a detectable crispier or hard-bite to the product requiring more chewing. I am very new (a baby) to the attributes of flour and am learning that protein levels affect the strength of the flour. That it, higher protein level = stronger flour = preferably bread making WHEREAS lower protein level = weak flour = preferably cookies and cracker manufacturing.
The only data I currently have is the Alveograph readings, both from the supplier and internal testing.... and being new, I am trying to interpret how these values affect overall production as well as whether they contribute to the puffing and hardness. When another brand of flour is used, though puffing might take place, it is not as extensive when the new flour is used. The only variance during the manufacturing process is the two different flours. Products are run under the same conditions yet still puffing occurs extensively in 1 and minimal in the other.
Though I am doing my best to read the literatures regarding flour, if persons could assist in answering these questions of mine:
1. What causes the puffing? (Current thoughts are its probably the release of some type of gas from the other ingredients e.g. Ammonium Bicarbonate)
2. What does the Alveograph values (P, L, W, P/L) represent in dummy terms (for me)?
3. Are there production processes (e.g. mixing, rotary, baking) that could be the cause for the puffing and hardness (e.g. uneven heat distribution during baking)?
4. How can I interpret the Alveograph readings to understand the issue I am experiencing (do they even relate?)?
ANY OTHER remarks/questions or curiosity you possess and wish to ask please do so that I can tackle any other underlying issues I am not considering
I APPRECIATE WHATEVER ASSISTANCE I CAN GET (Hopefully I am using the right forum-if not please recommend the correct forum)