You are here

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

As a seasonal vegetable processor, understanding crop maturity and the accuracy of this measurement is key to staying ahead of crop and knowing when to make the move from value to premium product as harvest time constraints permit.

The TU units provided by FTC give us the accuracy to work to much tighter tolerances, replacing older less accurate analogue equipment which in turn can affect final product grading and profitability.

The units are well designed, very low maintenance and are backed up with a strong support service which will allow them to provide many years of accurate, reliable service.

Colven Wilson
Technical Manager
http://www.eyefreeze.co.uk/

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

I have found FTC to be an excellent partner for our company. In particular, it has been especially gratifying to work with Shirl Lakeway. Both creative and accommodating, he worked very hard with us to develop our projects.

I appreciate his commitment to our joint efforts and his open-minded approach. He and FTC have been exceptionally helpful.

Steve Antonius, Del Monte Foods
http://www.delmonte.com/