Lasagna Stickiness Testing

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

With lasagna such a hugely popular dish as both a supermarket ready meal or as a foodservice staple for pubs and cafes, the texture or stickiness of the final product is extremely important. Lasagna stickiness is directly related to the starch content of the pasta sheet, which in turn is can be related to both cooking temperature and time. By measuring pasta stickiness with the TA1 texture analyzer from Lloyd Instruments, these parameters can be optimized and perfectly cooked lasagna can result each and every time.
 
Firmness, stickiness, elasticity and bending strength all help to define the overall texture of cooked and uncooked pasta and noodles. Pasta stickiness, noodle extensibility, pasta firmness and bending strengths are just a few of the tests that can be performed by the TA1 texture analyzer using specialized grips and fixtures for testing pasta, rice and noodles.

In testing stickiness, a cooked pasta sheet is mounted between the TA1’s base table and a rectangular plate containing a rectangular hole. The force required to withdraw a probe from the cooked pasta is then measured. If required, the probe may be held in contact with the pasta sheet for a predefined time before withdrawal.

In another example, the breaking strength of uncooked spaghetti and lasagna sheets can be measured using a 3-point binding jig. A specially developed spaghetti compression fixture also can be used to measure deflection time, a very effective method for determining the correct cooking time.

All of the tests performed by the TA1 texture analyzer can be fully configured and controlled using the popular NEXYGENPlus texture analysis software. The software incorporates a comprehensive library of industry-standard texture analysis (including stickiness) tests as well as an extensive range of other test facilities. 

Those capabilities include user-defined test creation, data collection, reporting and exploring of test data, video and still picture capture, test data security and audit trails, and test automation and customization.

Along with the broad capabilities of the NEXYGENPlus software, the TA1 texture analyzer features a large working area that can be used to perform testing on  a full range of food packaging and other packaging materials. Test data can then be quickly and easily imported directly into Microsoft, Excel or Word using either standard, pre-loaded NEXYGENPlus or by using custom-developed templates within the software.
 
Multi-lingual and multi-unit display options are supplied as a standard enabling English, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, Russian, German, French, Danish and Chinese users to operate the texture analyzer in their local language.