The ideal cooking time of the uncooked spaghetti, pasta or noodles that are purchased from the supermarket is often displayed in the packages. It is to ensure an ‘al-dente’ product that is firm to the bite. How do manufacturers and suppliers determine this ideal cooking time?
Towards the end of their production process, the thickness of the manufactured products is measured to calculate physical parameters such as compressibility, recovery and springiness. These data are used to find the ideal cooking time to ensure that the cooked products are ‘al-dente’. A texture analysis equipment from Lloyd Instruments fitted with the appropriate test fixture is used for this application.
This special grips and fixtures are developed solely for testing of cooked pasta, noodles and rice using the TA-1 food texture analyzer from the Lloyd. Initially, the cooked spaghetti is placed on the fixture’s lower compression plate. Force will be applied to the sample and the instrument is set to take three thickness measurement at two specified loads of 0.15N and 51.5N. The measurement results are stored in the machine and analysed with the powerful NEXYGENPlus material testing software to evaluate sample compressibility and other desired parameters.
In addition to calculate the ideal cooking time, the texture analyser is also ideal for R&D testing and quality control during the production. For example, it can assess the effect of mixing various types of ingredient and understand the behavior of the products after freezing. It can also keep the manufacturing costs at the minimum by calculating the optimum mix of ingredients without compromising the product taste and quality.
The applications of TA1 can also be extended into a wide range of food items such as dairy, bread, confectionary, gels and more. Depending on the specific application requirement, there are variety of jigs and fixtures that can be installed into the machine to suit different products.
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