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Brownie Freshness

Situation

fudge brownie samples ready for testing

You can break a fudge brownie in your hands, and if you are expert, judge its texture in terms of hardness through the way it breaks. But how well can you judge freshness, sample after sample? Or whether a different formulation improves the product or its shelf life? Can you measure the end consumer’s texture preference? Ideally, you need to be able to place regular production line samples into a food texture analyzer and achieve accurate and repeatable results against clear criteria of quality.

 

Method

Fudge brownie freshness testing

In this test example we compared fresh and stale samples of fudge brownies, in order to illustrate the detectable differences. Fresh sample brownies were taken from a sealed packet, and compared with brownies simply left out overnight.

A Food Technology Corporation TMS-Pro texture analyzer was used for the tests, with a 500 N intelligent loadcell and a lightweight three-point bend fixture. Each sample was placed centrally on the lower supports, under the upper anvil edge. The program moved the upper anvil down to meet the top of the sample, and then down a further 15 mm at a speed of 100mm/min. This was far enough to ensure a break. After each test, the TL-Pro software calculated the maximum force applied, and revealed the trace of force applied against displacement, from touch to break.

 

Results

The graphical representation from TL-Pro, of the test results for the four samples, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement).

Graph of fudge brownie freshness comparison

Two groups of traces are clearly distinguishable, showing that freshness (softness) is being detected in the test. There is greater variability in the stale samples than the fresh, and shorter intervals since unwrapping could be tested and still be distinguishable.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here. Hardness is the peak force applied before breaking.

Brownie sample testing data tables

  • Average = arithmetic mean
  • SD = standard deviation
  • CV = coefficient of variation: (SD/Mean) x 100

 

Significance

From the results, standard deviation and coefficient of variation are both well within the accepted range for test method validation. As a test for freshness, this form of testing is both detailed and repeatable, with a high degree of accuracy. Data gathered in this way, from samples that have been subjectively judged to be desirable, can be used to create tolerance levels for instant pass/fail quality assessment. This method can also be used to assess rate of staleness over time, both after unwrapping, and after extended wrapped storage. Formulations with different amounts of preservatives can also be objectively compared, which is a vast improvement on purely subjective manual judgment.

Trusted by customers across the world

Our experience with FTC has been more than satisfactory, not only for the quality of the equipment you’ve got but for the post selling service that has proved to be excellent.

Any problem that we had, it took nothing more than a simple mail or phone call to have your immediate answer. We want to thank you very much for the quality of service provided.

 

 

Gonzalo Moraes, Arrozur S.A. Montevideo – Uruguay

The University of Arizona’s Nutritional Sciences Food Lab acquired a Texture Analyzer from Food Technologies about 5 years ago. The company has a great product, which is tailored to food needs. 

We have used the Texture Analyzer for both research projects and as a tool to demonstrate to students how food manufacturers can employ objective testing in product evaluation to show how differing ingredients in the same product can affect quality attributes. Its use adds another dimension to the foods labs.

Drew Lambert has been instrumental in helping with set up for testing and providing support whenever there’s a question. He has been a pleasure to work with and is always accommodating with our needs and schedules.  He has even sent us special attachments for special projects.  We couldn’t ask for a better technical support.  Thanks for a great product and great service.

Patricia Sparks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice
https://www.arizona.edu

Service, equipment and people are all first class with Food Technology Corporation.

Questions and problems are handled quickly, which is something that is hard to find in today’s business environment.

 

 

 

David Smith, Riviana Foods Inc.
http://www.riviana.com/