The AlveoPC from Chopin can measure the rheological characteristics of a bubble of dough during deformation. The AlveoPC is composed of two inseparable parts: the kneading machine for dough sample preparation, and the alveograph itself, where the dough putty is deformed into a bubble until it ruptures.
The AlveoPC also comes with all the accessories needed to manage the dough, including the extrusion plate, the steel roller, the cutter, the laminating plate, the resting plates, a knife, a spatula and a dropper for the oil.
It also includes a nozzle to calibrate the airflow, a feeding hopper, a brush and a mini PC, a central unit dedicated to running the AlveoPC.
The AlveoPC Workflow
To activate the AlveoPC, users need to press its power button and turn on the mini PC.
Before running the first test of the day, it is necessary to calibrate the airflow by doing the 90 to 60 procedure using the provided nozzle and activating the cooling system. To run a test, users must configure the test within the software before clicking on ‘Test,’ selecting ‘Start a test,’ and selecting a protocol.
With the protocol selected, users are required to enter the name of the test, select a partner and a product, and indicate the water content of the flour. Clicking on ‘Next’ will open a test window.
With the system prepared, the next step is to weigh out 250 g of flour (plus or minus 0.5 g) before placing the hopper on top of the mixing bowl and inserting the flour.
Next, fill the burette to deliver the appropriate quantity of salted water at 2.5%. This quantity can be read on the burette as the water content of the flour. Mixing can be started by pressing the ‘Mixing’ button, which will also incorporate the salted water using the burette through a hole in the cover.
The burette should be removed once the injection is complete, and the dough should be allowed to form for 1 minute before opening the cover.
Using the plastic spatula provided, the user must reincorporate any flour and dough adhering to the F-register and the corners of the kneading machine. This operation should be repeated two or three times, though this step should take less than 1 minute overall.
Next, the cover should be closed and the dough kneaded for 6 minutes. It is advisable to oil the accessories required for extrusion during this time.
When the mixing stops, the extrusion aperture can be opened by raising the F-register, allowing the dough test pieces to be extruded. The first centimeter of dough is removed using a knife in a clean downward movement. Once the strip of dough has reached sufficient length, it is cut and placed onto the laminating plate.
Dough pieces are sheeted 12 times using the roller before the cutter is used to cut the test piece and remove any surplus dough. The obtained patty is then placed on the resting plate, and the dough piece is transferred to the resting chamber for 20 minutes. This operation is repeated with a total of five dough pieces.
While the dough is resting, it is a good idea to clean the kneader by removing the flange, any remaining dough, the F-register and the blade, then immerse these in water and clean them carefully. A damp cloth should also be used to clean the mixing bowl.
Once the mixer is clean, another test can then start. This is possible even if the previous test is still ongoing. The dough pieces will be inflated 20 minutes after the kneading has begun. At this point, the ring should be unscrewed, the buffer plate turned over and both the fixed plate and the buffer should be oiled.
The user can then slide the dough piece and center it, ensuring that the instrument is acting on its edge. The buffer plate is then replaced, and the ring is replaced to immobilize this before the dough piece is flattened by screwing the upper plate for around 20 seconds until this stops.
The buffer plate and ring are removed and the top closed before the user presses the ‘Start test’ button to inject air into the bubble.
Once the bubble breaks, the user should stop the air supply, loosen the upper plate and remove the dough. A curve appears on the instrument’s screen, confirming the test results.
This operation should be repeated on the four remaining dough pieces in order of extrusion. The results are acquired from the average of the five curves obtained - this is called an ‘alveogram.’
Once all tests are completed, the user can clean the instrument using a dry cloth, close the software, and switch off the AlveoPC and the mini PC.
How to Measure the Rheological Properties of Dough and Determine Baking Performance
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KPM Analytics.
For more information on this source, please visit KPM Analytics.