Wheat flour doughs are nonlinear viscoelastic materials, and as such there is a complicated relationship between the strains imparted during mixing (stretching, shearing, compression and relaxation) and dough resistance. A number of factors related to processing conditions and flour type will also have a large effect on how the dough behaves. Variations in water and protein content, changes in the fibrillar structure of the protein, starch, starch damage, pentosans, gluten strength and the actions of enzymes on the dough components all affect dough behaviour. Due to the complex nature of dough behaviour an empirical instrument test is desirable.

The two key pieces of information required by millers and bakers are the absorption (amount of water required for a dough to reach a definite consistency) and the mixing profile of the dough (development time, stability and softening) which are indicative of the suitability of the flour for different applications. Other parameters may also be measured.

doughLAB information will be useful to:

  • Milling, baking (bread, cake, pastry, biscuit), pasta and Asian products (eg steam bread, noodles and flat bread) laboratories who need to test wheat flour quality and processing characteristics.
  • Specific applications include the study of gluten and carbohydrate functionality, enzyme activities in flour, functions and effects of dough ingredients (dried dairy ingredients, organic acids, salt, emulsifiers, antioxidants, yeast , sugar, improvers and enzymes), properties of composite flours, effects of special flour treatments and emulation of commercial processes.
  • There are also applications for the testing of cereal grains other than wheat such as rye, triticale and durum. doughLAB can be used to study the mixing characteristics of vital gluten which is added when the flour has insufficient quantity or quality of gluten and is often used in specialty breads (eg those made with rice flour), bread manufactured at high altitude and for many brown and grain breads.