THE PHYSICS OF BAKING: RHEOLOGICAL AND POLYMER MOLECULAR STRUCTURE-FUNCTION RELATIONSHIPS IN BREADMAKING
 
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Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci. 2003;53(Special issue 1s):24–31
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ABSTRACT
Molecular size and structure of the gluten polymers that make up the major structural components of wheat are related to their rheological properties via modern polymer rheology concepts. Interactions between polymer chain entanglements and branching are seen to be the key mechanisms determining the rheology of HMW polymers. Recent work confirms the observation that dynamic shear plateau modulus is essentially independent of variations in MW amongst wheat varieties of varying baking performance and is not related to variations in baking performance, and that it is not the size of the soluble glutenin polymers, but the structural and rheological properties of the insoluble polymer fraction that are mainly responsible for variations in baking performance. The rheological properties of gas cell walls in bread doughs are considered to be important in relation to their stability and gas retention during proof and baking, in particular their extensional strain hardening properties. Large deformation rheological properties of gas cell walls were measured using biaxial extension for a number of doughs of varying breadmaking quality at constant strain rate and elevated temperatures in the range 25oC to 60oC. Strain hardening and failure strain of cell walls were both seen to decrease with temperature, with cell walls in good breadmaking doughs remaining stable and retaining their strain hardening properties to higher temperatures (60oC), whilst the cell walls of poor breadmaking doughs became unstable at lower temperatures (45oC to 50oC) and had lower strain hardening. Strain hardening measured at 50oC gave good correlations with baking volume, with the best correlations achieved between those rheological measurements and baking tests which used similar mixing conditions. As predicted by the Considere failure criterion, a strain hardening value of 1 defines a region below which gas cell walls become unstable, and discriminates well between the baking quality of a range of commercial flour blends of varying quality. This indicates that the stability of gas cell walls during baking is strongly related to their strain hardening properties, and that extensional rheological measurements can be used as predictors of baking quality.
ISSN:1230-0322