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

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Noodle quality testing: a range of texture analysis methods for a wide variety of noodle types – Part 3


It is generally accepted that the main criterion for assessing overall quality of cooked noodles is based on evaluation of texture. 

Noodle texture can vary greatly from hard bite to soft bite depending upon the noodle type. In general, Udon noodles are usually softer and more elastic whilst other noodles are harder and chewier in bite. Taste panels can be used to estimate texture/noodle cooking quality, but they are time-consuming and impractical when sample size is limited or large numbers of samples are to be evaluated.

Rapid instrumental methods are therefore welcomed which consider a number of textural factors including elasticity, firmness, surface stickiness, and cooking tolerances. A number of instrumental methods have been developed that successfully estimate cooked noodle texture parameters. The different methods are based around measurement of specific textural properties and suitable measurement solutions for different noodle types and forms.

Most Asian noodles are rinsed with cold water and drained after cooking to remove the starch. Apart from those already discussed, many other variables can influence cooking tests, such as type of water, use of salt, ratio of water to noodle, cooking temperature and time and method of draining cooked noodles. Sample preparation is critical for repeatability of results. Usually the samples are cooked in boiling water for a fixed period of time and then immersed in cold water for a fixed period of time before draining and placing in a covered vessel until tested.

Objective measurement of noodle cooking quality in this instance is focused on four main textural parameters: Firmness, Stickiness, Elasticity and Tensile Strength.

Cooked Noodle Firmness Determination – Straight Noodles – 3 strand approach

Suitable for: Straight Noodle forms of uniform width and thickness that are able to lie flat to be tested – not suited to thin noodles due to sample fragility on handling, for example: Canton, Chinese/Italian Egg Noodle, Kuk Soo, Harusame, Hiyamugi, Hokkien, Naeng Myun, Shanghai Noodles, Soba, Somen, Tofu Noodles, Udon

Asian Noodle Blade test
The 3-strand Noodle Firmness method is presented by Dr Gary Hou at The Wheat Marketing Centre on this video link:

It presents the method for noodle sample preparation of dry and cooked noodles and its testing using the TA.XT2/TA.XTplus Texture Analyser. This method is currently under consideration by the Asian Product Technical Committee of AACC International

For dried noodles the samples are cut into 8cm long strands and 8g of noodles are weighed. 250ml/250g of distilled/deionised water is measured. For fresh noodles, 100g are weighed along with 1000g of water.

In some cases each noodle type is cooked for a fixed time rather than an optimised cook time for each noodle type. Once cooked the noodles are transferred into a drainer and then immersed in a large volume of cold water for 2 minutes. The noodles are drained for 1 minute, tipped into a bowl and then covered with a lid to prevent from drying.

The Asian Noodle Blade is calibrated to start the test 10mm above the testing platform. Three strands of cooked noodle are laid down next to each other on the plate, perpendicular to the blade. Once commenced the blade moves down at 2mm/sec to a distance of 0.1mm above the platform during which time the noodles are cut and the firmness measured from the peak force. 

Cooked Noodle Firmness Determination – Straight Noodles – 5 strand TPA approach

Suitable for: Straight Noodle forms of uniform width and thickness that are able to lie flat to be tested – not suited to thin noodles due to sample fragility on handling, for example: Canton, Chinese/Italian Egg Noodle, Kuk Soo, Harusame, Hiyamugi, Hokkien, Naeng Myun, Shanghai Noodles, Soba, Somen, Tofu Noodles, Udon

The Wheat Marketing Center also have another method for the testing of cooked straight noodles which uses the TPA approach (see ‘Asian Noodle Texture’ – This is a 2 bite compression test that employs the same Asian Noodle blade as shown above. Whilst the above firmness method may be the most popular texture analysis test for QC purposes, the TPA method can give a wider texture assessment that may be necessary when targeting varieties to certain countries and their specific desired mouthfeel attributes.

A 100g sample of noodles is cooked in 1 litre of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. The noodles are rinsed with cool tap water and drained. A sample of 5 noodle strands are randomly selected and laid side by side on the Texture Analyser test platform. The test compresses the sample to 70% of the noodle thickness and from the range of parameters that are automatically calculated from TPA tests the hardness, springiness, cohesiveness, and chewiness are reported.

According to the Wheat Marketing Centre:

• Hardness indicates noodle bite and is expressed as hard bite or soft bite
• Springiness indicates the degree of recovery after the first bite
• Cohesiveness is a measure of noodle structure
• Chewiness is a single parameter that incorporates firmness, cohesiveness, and springiness
• A typical Chinese raw noodle has the following measurements: springiness 0.96, hardness 1200g, cohesiveness 0.66, and chewiness 750g.

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!

To discuss your specific test requirements click here...

Watch our video about testing of pasta productsDownload a published article covering methods for the testing of pasta products

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