Great bakers know the importance of correct moisture content in each individual ingredient as well as how the moisture in a dough can alter the baking time, texture, and overall success of the baked good. With incorrect measurements, you can end up with a poor final result, leaving your customers wanting a better product, whether it be brownies, muffins, or bagels.
Here at Kett, we are scientists— and we believe baking is a science, too. It’s more like chemistry than art, requiring precision at every step, and the key to achieving this precision is to have the correct tools and take accurate measurements.
Using a moisture meter throughout the baking and packaging process will provide a tastier, more consistent product. Here’s how a moisture meter can impact baking at every step.
Whether you are preparing baking mixes or creating a large dough mixture, having the correct measurements is vital for baking success. Imagine using a flour with too much or too little moisture: the moisture content affects the weight of the flour, and using an incorrect amount of flour can result in a finished product that is too moist or too dry.
In this experiment, flour lost 8% of its weight with only a small increase in heat and lack of humidity. With such a loss in weight, it can be easy to use too much, or too little flour, greatly affecting the consistency.
With a accurate, instant moisture meter, you can be sure that your ingredients are being stored at the correct level of moisture, for more consistent measurements and more consistent final results.
If you’re manufacturing baking mixes, you know how important moisture content can be, and a moisture meter can make sure you’re consistently in the right moisture zone. Any extra moisture in the mix can cause clumping, which will only increase as the baking mix is stored, deteriorating the overall quality of the product as it remains in storage.
Another important use for a moisture meter? Ensuring that the packing for your company’s baked goods or baking mixes do not contain an excess amount of moisture, which can wreak havoc on the quality of the product. No matter how airtight a seal may seem to be, storing a baking mix in a cardboard box with too much moisture is certain to alter the quality, taste, and texture of the box’s contents.
Once you’ve created and stored your product, the correct amount of moisture in both the product and the packaging play a role its shelf life. The texture, taste, appearance, and stability, not to mention safety of the baked goods is all affected by its moisture content.
With the too little moisture, baking times can be off and final products end up being crumbly or chalky instead of moist and delicious. Too much moisture can mean curling of the packing, clumping of baking mixes, and can actually make for a dangerous product, resulting in mold and foodborne illness.
Loss on Drying Method versus Moisture Meters
One way to determine moisture is the loss-on-drying method, which involves total dehydration of a sample then comparing the weight before the dehydration to its new weight. Using the loss-on-drying method to determine moisture content is time consuming, forcing you to wait to use, for example, a shipment of flour until its moisture levels have been properly checked.
In addition to taking a great deal of time, this process can be inaccurate. Because the test process is destructive—say, for example, the product is heated and dehydrated— the sample cannot be used, wasting your ingredients.
Instead of relying on old fashioned methods, we think the best method to determine moisture and ensure accuracy and consistency in baking is to rely on a moisture meter, specifically a near-infrared (NIR) meter, which requires little-to-no calibration, and provides instant, non-destructive readings, which means production can begin almost immediately, saving you time, product, and allowing you to check the ingredients at every turn. An NIR meter can also provide continuous moisture measurements, allowing you to automate mixing, blending and drying to ultimately optimize your yields, throughput, and quality levels.
Want to achieve a better, tastier bake? Moisture meters are the way to go. Let us help you find the perfect moisture meter for your bakery or manufacturing plant. Contact us today to see how something as simple as a moisture meter can make for a more delicious cookie, a crustier baguette, and a fluffier cake, with one very simple solution.