Testing your ingredients is a critical component of producing quality baked goods. But understanding the reports produced by testing equipment is not always simple. We’d like to introduce you to the Farinogram and help you grasp what it’s trying to tell you.
What is a Farinogram?
Farinograms are produced by a Farinograph, a torque-measuring, recording dough mixer. The Farinograph mixes flour and water into a dough, develops it, and then overmixes it. It acts as a sensing element measuring resistance to mixing during successive stages of dough development. Changes in resistance are recorded, and the resulting graph is called a Farinogram.
Characteristics of the Farinogram
A Farinogram tells you 7 key things about your dough’s properties.
Dough Development (Peak) Time measures the time required for flour to absorb water and form dough under standardized conditions. In general, soft wheat flours have a shorter development time than hard wheat flours.
Absorption shows the percent of water, based on the flour, required for optimal consistency. Bake shop absorption will usually be higher, because of the inclusion in the dough of ingredients other than flour. Absorption of hard wheat flours will generally be above 60% and soft wheat flours will generally be between 50% and 60%.
Arrival Time indicates the rate of flour hydration, or the rate at which water is taken up by the flour. It notes the amount of time for the dough to reach optimal consistency.
Departure Time indicates when the dough begins to break down. It measure the amount of time before optimal consistency is lost once achieved.
Stability Time estimates the time the dough maintains consistency, and is one indication of dough strength. It is calculated as departure time minus arrival time.
Time to Breakdown is another estimate of the time the dough maintains consistency, and is an indication of dough strength. It is calculated by finding when the dough falls a certain amount below its optimal consistency.
Mixing Tolerance Index (MTI) is an estimation of dough strength or degree of softening after optimum mix; in other words, the ability to withstand over-work. The larger the MTI, the weaker the dough after over-working.
Beyond the Farinogram
Want to learn more about ingredient testing equipment, techniques, and results? Join us in Manhattan, KS at the end of January for our once-a-year Foundations: Ingredient Testing Techniques seminar. Don’t miss your one shot in 2016 to perfect your techniques!