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

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A Chinese Meal with Texture Fit for an Emperor

Chinese mealChinese food is very varied in terms of texture, colour and flavour, ranging from sweet and sticky dishes to crispy, chewy and very spicy, with golden noodles and vibrant sauces.

Stable Micro Systems can provide a wide range of testing solutions for measuring the texture of every component of a Chinese meal.

A spring roll may be delivered to the table first as a delicious starter, followed by a course of aromatic crispy duck with pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions. 

Kramer Shear Cell
Kramer Shear Cell
Shredded crispy duck firmness can be easily measured in a Kramer Shear Cell, which measures a bulk sample, ideal for such a non-homogeneous product.

The pancakes are delicate and soft, but should not fall apart easily. Their strength and toughness are simply assessed in a Film Support Rig, which allows the puncture of the sample by a 5mm ball probe. The same test applies to the pastry used to wrap a spring roll. The uncooked pastry must be strong enough to hold the contents, particularly if they are to be transported uncooked or partially cooked.

Film Support Rig
Film Support Rig
The hoisin sauce poured on the pancakes should not be too runny (a property measured using a Back Extrusion Cell), and the vegetables must be crisp and not flaccid; both may be cut into long samples and subjected to a Three Point Bend Rig test or cutting test.

A good cooked spring roll constitutes crisp ingredients wrapped in a light pastry that cracks when bitten.

To imitate the work carried out by teeth during this process, a cutting test is very useful. As the blade reaches the sample surface, there should be some resistance before a gentle break (displayed as a fast drop in force) before the force builds up again while the blade pushes into the beansprouts, carrots and chicken inside. These may be mainly crisp or tender, depending on the ratio of ingredients, and as such will show a different force response as the blade moves through. This measurement is very helpful in deciding the composition of the filling.

Asian Noodle Blade
Asian Noodle Blade
A plate of noodles is an excellent accompaniment to a Chinese meal. Stable Micro Systems have a specially-designed rig to test for an optimally soft texture. This will depend on cooking time and method, as well as the composition of the noodles themselves. The Asian Noodle Blade is usually used with a sample of three noodles, cutting through and showing a full characterisation of their properties during the procedure.

Finally, to round off the meal, a banana fritter is a popular choice. A puncture test will show a crisp batter as a resistance to the probe on breaking through the surface, followed by a moderate force plateau. Overcooked banana will be soft, undercooked banana too resistant to the probe.

To find out more about these food testing solutions, and hundreds of others, contact Stable Micro Systems today.

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.

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