How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Toast your Roast with Texture Analysis

Variations on ‘Roast Dinner’ are eaten for different occasions all over the world – a roast joint of meat, potatoes, vegetables and gravy, often followed by a stodgy pudding such as an apple pie.

This is a meal that consumers look forward to so it is important that the texture of each component is no less than perfect. This analysis would be carried out for the purpose of calculating ideal cooking times, in the case of a supermarket or a chain restaurant, or to test the quality of supplied ingredients.

The centrepiece is the joint of meat – in this case, a chicken. Desirable characteristics are crisp, brittle skin and tender, juicy meat that falls off the bone. If detachable, the skin can be tested by puncture in a film support rig. A meat sample is well-suited to assessment with a Warner-Bratzler Blade, which should show low, uniform forces while passing through the sample.

• Warner Bratzler blade • Craft Knife test • Multiple Pea Rig • Cylinder Probe compression
• Warner Bratzler blade • Craft Knife test
• Multiple Pea Rig • Cylinder Probe compression
Next up are roast potatoes, which should have a hard, jagged, crispy exterior that gives multiple fracture events when bitten into, and a soft, fluffy centre. These are suited to a cutting test using a Craft Knife, and the collection of audio data is invaluable. Vegetables are an essential side dish.  For example, boiled peas must be of the optimum hardness. Too hard and they taste raw and undercooked – too soft and they seem old or overcooked.

Stable Micro Systems have developed a rig specifically for the purpose of testing small items such as peas – the Multiple Pea Test Rig. This is a way of testing 18 samples simultaneously, giving an average force value. This saves the time it would take to align and test each sample individually, increases the measured force (which would be very low for a single pea) and increases the repeatability when testing many samples within one test.

A stock cube is often used to make gravy. This is crumbled in by the chef, an action that can be mimicked by compression under a flat Cylinder Probe. Forces too high and the chef will struggle to break the cube up. If the cube crumbles under low forces, it would not survive transport.

• Small Cylinder Probe • Powder Flow Analyser
• Small Cylinder Probe • Powder Flow Analyser
As for the pudding, an apple pie must have a crisp exterior with soft apples inside. A penetration test using a small Cylinder Probe would provide the detail of the force to penetrate the crispy crust followed by the firmness of the pie filling.

If served with custard, this may be made from custard powder. This must have low caking tendencies or the tin of custard powder will be full of lumps and not look appealing. A caking test using a Powder Flow Analyser developed by Stable Micro Systems is helpful for monitoring this behaviour.

We can design and manufacture probes or fixtures for the TA.XTplus texture analyser that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can also prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

For more information on how to measure texture, please visit the Texture Analysis Properties section on our website.

TA.XTplus texture analyser with bloom jar The
TA.XTplus texture analyser is part of a family of texture analysis instruments and equipment from Stable Micro Systems. An extensive portfolio of specialist attachments is available to measure and analyse the textural properties of a huge range of food products. Our technical experts can also custom design instrument fixtures according to individual specifications.

No-one understands texture analysis like we do!

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Watch our video about texture analysis Replicating Consumer Preferences

 Texture Analysis applications

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