The record

It is common for the manufacture of bakery products to be based on some starting formulation and formal method of processing the ingredients into the finished product. This will require some form of recorded details of the ingredients to use, their quantities, equipment, process settings and timings involved. Consult any standard recipe or baking book for food preparation and you will find such details recorded for use by others. In almost all modern bakeries a formal production record will be set up for each of the product types and used by the manufacturing operatives to prepare the various items.

Invaluable in problem solving is the formal record of what was actually carried out on a particular occasion. While many operatives will keep to the prescribed formulation and processing recipe, small variations about a given value can occur and lack of information of what the actual values were for a given mix makes problem solving more difficult. It is normal for standard production specifications to allow a degree of tolerance for weights and operating conditions. For example, a temperature specification for a cake batter may be stated as 20 ± 2 °C. However, such a specification allows for replicate batters to be 18 or 22 °C and a 4 °C variation coupled with other small changes may have a larger effect of final product quality than normally considered.

A formal record of production can encompass many aspects including the following:

• Any variations in the source of the raw materials. For example, changes in flour or whole egg batches, or a new supplier of a particular ingredient.

• Changes in analytical data even where these are still within acceptable limits because the cumulative effect of small changes in a number of individual parameters can have a large effect on final product quality.

• The actual quantities of ingredients used compared with the standard values. For example, in breadmaking it is common to adjust the water level added in order to maintain a standard dough rheology for subsequent processing. In other cases deliberate changes from the standard formulation may have been introduced in order to compensate for some process change. For example, in bread dough the yeast level may be adjusted to compensate for a change in prover temperature so that final proving times do not vary.

• The processing conditions, such as mixing times, energies, ingredients and batter or dough temperatures. Once again the values may fall within acceptable ranges but still have a cumulative effect.

• Process equipment settings which may vary according to 'operator preference' or because of other variations in other factors. For example, an unavoidably higher laminated paste temperature may result in greater damage to the laminated structure which may require a compensatory adjustment to roll gap settings during sheeting.

• Process timings, such as baking or cooling times.

• Changes in packaging materials.

The record may be simplified by using the standard recipe as a pro forma against which to record variations. Such techniques have been commonly used to record dough divider weights (see Fig. 1) and can be readily adapted for any aspect of bakery production. The record may be on paper or by input to suitable computer-based programs.

In addition to the recipe and process records it is very important to have a formal record of finished product quality. Once again it will be common to have some form of product specification with appropriate tolerances against which to make an assessment. Such techniques are commonly the province of the Quality Control Department. The degree of detail recorded will vary.

Product unit weight (g)

Dough temperature


Time to divider

Dough consistency*


Divider setting

* Dough consistency codes:

S = softer than normal

SS = slightly softer than normal

N = normal consistency

SF = slightly firmer than normal

F = firmer than normal

* Dough consistency codes:

S = softer than normal

SS = slightly softer than normal

N = normal consistency

SF = slightly firmer than normal

F = firmer than normal

Fig. 1 Example of divider record sheet.

For use in problem solving the formal product specification or quality control record may require some adaptation and enlargement since small, but commonly accepted, variations may hold the vital clue to the cause of a particular problem. In both the quality control and problem solving contexts relevant data on the finished product may include the following:

• Product size based on height or volume. Devices for measuring product dimensions may be used off- or on-line. They may be as simple as using a rule to measure loaf height or measuring product volume by seed displacement in a suitable apparatus (Cauvain, 1998).

• Shape may be assessed subjectively and compared with an accepted standard. The introduction of image analysis offers new opportunities for recording product shape.

• The external appearance of the product and the recording of any special features that may be present or indeed the absence of expected features, e.g. lack of oven spring in bread.

• Surface blemishes, their size and location on the product.

• The coloration of all surfaces. Descriptive techniques, comparison with standard colour charts, e.g. Munsell or tristimulus instruments (Anderson, 1995) may be used. Deviations from the norm should be clearly noted.

• The appearance of the internal structure, if there is one. Most baked products have some form of internal structure that is an intrinsic component of product quality. Assessment of that internal structure may be subjective and describe the size, numbers and distributions of the cells which go to make the internal structure. Cell structures may be unevenly distributed in the product cross-section or form a 'pattern' that is characteristic of such products. Deviations from the norm may be noted. Image analysis offers new opportunities for objectively assessing internal cell structures but has yet to be fully exploited in the baking industry.

• The internal colour may be assessed using techniques described above for surface colour.

• The physical characteristics that contribute to eating quality may be assessed subjectively with ad hoc or trained panels. Alternatively some form of objective test designed to mimic aspect of taste panel assessments may be employed, e.g. texture profile analysis (Cauvain, 1991).

• Product odour and flavour may be assessed subjectively on an ad hoc basis or with trained panels. The development of the so-called 'electronic nose' may offer a more objective measure but has yet to approach human sensitivity.

Whatever details are considered to be appropriate for the record it is important to have a standardised format for recording the details. This usually takes the form of a standardised record sheet, paper or electronic, with blank spaces in which to enter the appropriate data or comments. Where a product attribute cannot be measured, an attribute ' scoring' system might be used to provide a more objective basis for analysis of the problem. Any number of scoring systems may be employed. One example is given in Fig. 2 and others are given in the literature (e.g. Kulp, 1991; Bent, 1997a).


Recipe code

Date manufactured

Date evaluated

Evaluated by

Product weight (g) Notes on key attributes

Product height (mm or max. 10) High Low

External appearance

Uniformity of shape (10 max.) Collapsed Peaked

Crust break (5 max.) Even Uneven

Crust colour (5 max.) Dark Light

Internal appearance

Crumb cell structure (max. 10) Open Close

Crumb uniformity (max. 10) Even Uneven

Sensory qualities

Flavour (max. 10) Off-flavour

Crumb firmness/softness/crispiness (max. 10)

Eating qualities (max. 10)

Additional comments

Fig. 2 Example of product scoring sheet.

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