Exploration of an innovative miniature bread baking approach

Although bread baking has been practiced for very long time, comprehensive understanding of the baking processes is still lacking. Physical phenomena such as heat and mass mtransfer, ingredient conversions, textural development, and crust formation are coupled and these complex interactions strongly affect final quality of the bread product. Previous scientific studies carried out baking experiments with regular sized breads, which is 

labour intensive and does not allow generation of large data sets. In this work, inspired by a Chinese snack food among children (Figure 1A), the conception of making miniature breads is put forward in order to explore an economical and time-saving experimental approach to study the bread baking process in depth (Figure 1B). It will be employed to systematically investigate transport phenomena during baking and how these interact to bread quality development. Specifically, the miniature bread baking system will be evaluated for studying the influence of baking on the added functionality of heat and moist sensitive components such as probiotic bacteria and enzymes. Experimental data can be obtained under very well-defined conditions and will provide a basis to calibrate existing mathematical baking models and inactivation kinetics that describe loss of bio-active components. Generated experimental data and modelling will be used to design baking procedures that better retain functionality of components.


Figure 1. A: A popular snack food among Children in China: Want-Want® Mantou. B: Schematic diagram of 1.00 g dough before and after baking at 205 oC for 8 min in an electric oven. The vertical section of the baked miniature bread is also shown. The crispy crust with a brown colour and the soft crumb with porous structure can be observed.

This project is a collaboration between Soochow University (Prof. X.D. Chen) and Wageningen Unversity (Dr. M.A.I. Schutyser & Prof. R.M. Boom)