Baking Made Perfect
EVALUATING BREAD QUALITY
Different consumers have different preferences on bread quality. Some want the crust pale, some want it dark. Some like soft and a little gummy bite but some like a bit chewy. Some looks at the crumb color while others don’t really care about it. But generally, all like to eat fresh, tasty and tender breads.
BREAD PROPERTIES AND SCORING
A. Volume or Height
The size of a baked product relates to its value. A product that is priced high yet small in size turns off a buyer. Sometimes, too large bread is also not normal.
B. Crust characteristics
Crust is the outer covering or skin of bread. It is important because buyers sometimes decide to buy breads based on external appearance. The color of crust indicates evenness of baking. Crust should be an appetizing nut-brown- uniform, without spots or streaks. It may or may not have glaze depending on requirements of various localities. Some breads, however, may be sprinkled on top with seeds or cheese or other garnishing.
C. Symmetry of form
This refers to the uniformity of shape of bread. Ideally, breads should be symmetrical without low ends, protruding crust, sidewall collapse or uneven top.
D. Crumb color
Crumb is the internal part of bread. No definite tint can be established for crumb color. However, it should be bright with some sheen. The surface should present a uniform shade without streaks or dark patches. Crumb color varies depending on product type. For white pan bread, creamy-white crumb indicates good quality ingredients and appropriate processes used. For whole wheat and raisin breads, crumb has normally dark color. Breads with high levels of butter or milk powder have yellowish crumb.
E. Grain structure
Grain is the structure formed by the strands of gluten. The cell structure varies considerably with different types of bread. It should, however, be uniform with thin walled cells. For white pan bread, coarse or non-uniform grain structure as well as presence of holes is sub-standard.
Texture is determined by the sense of touch. It depends on the physical condition of crumb and grain. It indicates pliability and smoothness of crumb. The ideal texture is soft and velvety. Dry and crumbly feel are less acceptable.
Aroma is recognized by the sense of smell. The aroma may be noted as sweet, rich, fresh, malty, musty, metallic, flat or sour. The ideal loaf has pleasant, wheaty or nutty aroma.
The most important attribute of good bread is that it has pleasant and satisfying taste. It varies according to product type and region.
Mastication indicates the chewing qualities of bread. Ideally, bread should not be doughy, tough, dry or crumbly.