Analysis Solutions for Bun Producers

The burger bun manufacturing process comprises the mixing of flour, water, salt and yeast (at times with a little sugar or fat), which is then followed by a division in the form of balls of dough which will further be deposited in a mold.

Furthermore, these operations are then followed by a fermentation and baking step. Altering periods of the rest of the dough are common.

Since the recipe is comparatively straightforward, the quality of the finished product relies significantly on the flour’s characteristics. It is particularly important to have good water absorption capacity, while not giving allowing for the development of stickiness issues.

The dough can be divided up by volumetric dosers that tend to pump the dough. At this stage, viscosity and consistency must be ideal. While the dough is subjected to cutting, it must possess good extensibility, and dough that is highly elastic will not be involved as it will have a negative impact on the size of the finished product.

While the fermentation process is ongoing, the gluten network used should be of an ideal quality to guarantee the dough’s stability (CO2 retention) and development (after the production of CO2) which, jointly, will help boost the volume of the finished product.

Furthermore, the finished product must consist of a color that is in line with the consumers’ choices. Eventually, to maintain the bread’s freshness, there is a restriction on the starch retrogradation.

Determining the primary elements that tend to impact the final quality of the product is crucial to ensuring effective quality control.

There is a general knowledge base that can be employed, however, the mechanics of every production line influences the outcomes. A more modern approach is for a company to objectively quantify what works on its lines, and to concentrate its quality control on the most significant elements.

It is common to make use of the vital wheat gluten (to reinforce the “hinge”) and also a high amount of sugar in bun production.

Master the Key Points of the Process

Water Absorption

The right amount of water should be added to the flour to give it the required plasticity (elasticity, extensibility, and firmness). If users do not add enough water, the dough will be dry, fragile and tough and if too much is added, it becomes sticky and soft. For burger buns, the essential level of hydration is high (nearly around 60%).

The amount of water that could be absorbed by any flour increases with high levels of protein, pentosans, or damaged starch (particle size). With the help of Mixolab 2, the Alveolab, and the SRC-CHOPIN 2, it is easy to directly quantify water absorption.

A good evaluation could be achieved by quantifying protein levels (NIR: InfraCheck, SpectraStar), pentosans (SRC-CHOPIN 2), and starch damage (SDmatic, SRC-CHOPIN 2).

Stickiness

When water is added to flour and it is not absorbed correctly or retained, stickiness tends to appear in the dough. Frequently, this phenomenon takes place while protein levels are too low and starch damage or pentosan levels are too high.

Sticky dough drives process machine problems, primarily when being subjected to mixing and cutting. Starch damage could be quantified directly with the SDmatic, and protein levels are quantified with NIR devices. The SRC-CHOPIN 2 could concurrently quantify the quality of damaged starch, pentosans and proteins.

Dough Consistency

The consistency of dough depends heavily on the amount of water added and the potential of the flour to absorb it. This consistency can be altered at the time of mixing, thereby leaving a reflection in the formation of the gluten network. For any provided level of hydration, the dough’s consistency represents its hardness and firmness.

This relies on the proteins’ quality and quantity, the pentosans, and the starch damage. Mixing consistency might be quantified by either the Mixolab 2 or, following rolling, by the Alveolab.

Also, it is possible to separately quantify the factors accountable for consistency: proteins (SRC-CHOPIN 2, NIR), pentosans (SRC-CHOPIN 2), and damaged starch (SDmatic, SRC-CHOPIN 2).

Extensibility

Extensibility refers to the dough’s capacity to be expanded without breaking. For a provided consistency, it relies primarily on the quality of the protein network. Dough that is not highly extensible will not spread at the time of rolling; contrarily, dough that is highly extensible will not hold its shape. Extensibility is directly quantified while testing with the Alveolab.

Analysis Solutions for Bun Producers

Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Elasticity

Elasticity is known to be the tendency of the dough to revert back to its initial position following distortion, like rolling. A certain level of elasticity is required for the dough to be machinable.

If the elasticity is very low, the dough will not hold its shape; if it is too high, the dough will retract. This affects the size of the finished product. With the Alveolab, elasticity is measured exclusively and directly.

Volume

The volume of the burger buns is mainly impacted by the volume of CO2 generated by the yeast at the time of fermentation. This volume is measured directly by the Rheo F4. The amount of CO2 produced relies on the intrinsic activity of the yeast and also the number of simple sugars available.

The latter has been impacted directly by the activity of the amylase present in or added to the flour. This degrades a portion of the starch into simple sugars, which can be the yeast. 

Damaged starch, quantified by the SDmatic, is more easily attacked by amylases. Thus, it positively affects the volume. Also, the volume is based on the quality of the gluten network, quantified with the Mixolab 2 and Alveolab. This identifies the potential of the dough to develop at the time of fermentation and to maintain the CO2 produced, quantified with the Rheo F4.

Color

Burger buns are judged as more or less appetizing by consumers based on their color. This parameter is necessarily regulated by the Maillard reaction, which occurs during baking, and pertains to the action of sugars on proteins.

The more free sugars, the darker the burger buns will appear to be. The color, as with the volume, is related to amylase enzyme activity, and indirectly by the level of damaged starch.

Retrogradation

Once baking is complete, the starch will tend to recrystallize in a partial manner. This phenomenon is known as retrogradation and describes why the products eventually become hard (stale).

The quicker the starch retrogradation, the more rapid the burger buns will lose their freshness. Consequently, flours with slow retrogradation are preferred. The starting of retrogradation is very easily quantified with the Mixolab 2. Damaged starch consists of the effect of decreasing the speed of retrogradation. This is quantified with the SDmatic.

Source: KPM Analytics

Key Point Solutions  NIR AMYLAB FN SDMATIC SRC-CHOPIN ALVEOLAB MIXOLAB 2 RHEO F4
Water absorption X   X X X X  
Stickiness (X)   X X      
Dough consistency (X)   (X) (X) X X  
Extensibility         X    
Elasticity         X    
Volume   X X   X X X
Color   X X        
Retrogradation     (X)     X  

X: direct measurement. (X): indirect measurement

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KPM Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit KPM Analytics.

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