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Crumpet structures: experimental and modelling studies

Pyle, D.L. (2005) Crumpet structures: experimental and modelling studies. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 83 (2). pp. 81-88. ISSN 0960-3085

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1205/fbp.04405

Abstract/Summary

Crumpets are made by heating fermented batter on a hot plate at around 230°C. The characteristic structure dominated by vertical pores develops rapidly: structure has developed throughout around 75% of the product height within 30s, which is far faster than might be expected from transient heat conduction through the batter. Cooking is complete within around 3 min. Image analysis based on results from X-ray tomography shows that the voidage fraction is approximately constant and that there is continual coalescence between the larger pores throughout the product although there is also a steady level of small bubbles trapped within the solidified batter. We report here experimental studies which shed light on some of the mechanisms responsible for this structure, together with some models of key phenomena.Three aspects are discussed here: the role of gas (carbon dioxide and nitrogen) nuclei in initiating structure development; convective heat transfer inside the developing pores; and the kinetics of setting the batter into an elastic solid structure. It is shown conclusively that the small bubbles of carbon dioxide resulting from the fermentation stage play a crucial role as nuclei for pore development: without these nuclei, the result is not a porous structure, but rather a solid, elastic, inedible, gelatinized product. These nuclei are also responsible for the tiny bubbles which are set in the final product. The nuclei form the source of the dominant pore structure which is largely driven by the, initially explosive, release of water vapour from the batter together with the desorption of dissolved carbon dioxide. It is argued that the rapid evaporation, transport and condensation of steam within the growing pores provides an important mechanism, as in a heat pipe, for rapid heat transfer, and models for this process are developed and tested. The setting of the continuous batter phase is essential for final product quality: studies using differential scanning calorimetry and on the kinetics of change in the visco-elastic properties of the batter suggest that this process is driven by the kinetics of gelatinization. Unlike many thermally driven food processes the rates of heating are such that gelatinization kinetics cannot be neglected. The implications of these results for modelling and for the development of novel structures are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences
ID Code:13063
Uncontrolled Keywords:crumpets, structure development, heat transfer, gelatinization, rheology

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