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Cookie Hardness

Specification

hardness testing of a cookie

A speciality biscuit and cookie manufacturer wanted to objectively measure biscuit hardness. Three different samples were evaluated representing:

• too soft
• ideal
• too hard

The markers generated were required to monitor and control a baking line; improve production consistency and provide information for the proactive adjustment of formulation and oven profile to maintain an ‘ideal’ texture.

The snap characteristics of hard and brittle cookies were evaluated using a three-point bend assembly as an indicator of bake profile.

The cookie sample is supported at two points. The travelling beam moves down at maximum speed and snaps the sample creating a single massive fracture.

 

Commercial Benefits

cookie samples for hardness and snap testing

Crispness / Brittleness - Break characteristics can be used to optimise product formulation and handling during manufacture e.g.optimised mix times, oven profiles and starting moisture contents.

Hardness / Break Point - Properties evaluated over shelf-life demonstrate the effectiveness of packaging in preventing moisture penetration from atmosphere in brittle products.

Fracture - Break properties can be used to determine sensory preference during development.

 

Method

hardness testing cookies FTC system capability table

Conditions imposed by the TMS-Pro texture analyzer together, with good experimental design accommodated natural variation in the sample set. A snap test was proposed to break the cookies at speed, creating a single massive fracture.

Sample variation was removed from the three sample sets. Each batch was checked for size, surface properties, breaks and presence of large particulates.

 

Significance

The method followed has demonstrated a clear difference between hard and soft cookie samples. The differentiation between soft and ideal product is much smaller and highlights the need for large sample sets.

The deformation to break in the ideal and soft samples is much greater than that of the hard product.

This is also reflected in the work characteristics where the hard and much more brittle samples fractured and failed very quickly in comparison to their soft counterparts. Repeating this technique is dependent on test speed. It is essential to cause a massive fracture and not propagate small breaks if clear differentiation between samples is to be made.

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/

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/

I have been using the TMS-Pro mechanical tester in our undergraduate biological materials property course for the past 3 years. The simple setup and operation of the TMS-Pro allows my students to focus on learning the theoretical underpinnings of mechanical properties instead of fighting with a finicky test system.

An added bonus is working with Shirl and his amazing team at Food Technology Corporation. They respond almost immediately to questions and inquiries and are always friendly and helpful. 

Jennifer (Melander) Keshwani, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
http://www.unl.edu/