Consumers at fast food chains or the smaller cafes will consider a burger as delicious and wholesome if the bun is equally good in look, taste and texture.
Indeed, quality fluctuations are a ‘no-go’ for burger buns. International fast-food chains expect their suppliers to maintain strict production standards. In western countries like the US, hamburgers have cult status and consumers expect stores to maintain quality and consistency of their burgers from buns to its sandwiched contents.
According to Pong Tip Keng, Regional Director R&D and TCS of Stern Ingredients Asia-Pacific, the production of burger buns is no easy matter. There must be no noticeable deviations from the characteristics and appearance as specified by the fast-food restaurant chains.
Consistency in Volume, Texture, Colour and Taste
Burger buns are soft rolls with a high sugar and fat content. It should have an extremely soft, fluffy crumb and a fine texture. The whole bun should have a golden colour with very little white at the side. The crust must not have any cracks or blisters and should be evenly browned. In spite of their soft consistency, the buns have to be very stable. The shape must be right. The height of a standard bun should be between 4.6 and 4.9cm. This means a minimum margin of error/deviation of 3mm.
The bun flour should have good viscoelastic properties and a high gas retention capacity. A high protein content, soft gluten – is ideal. While the strong gluten flour tends to be a disadvantage. To deal with this, one has to work with special proteases to achieve a soft, supple dough structure.
In Asia, flours differ greatly in terms of their protein content and gluten quality. Weak flours can result in blistering and a coarse crumb, whereas flours that are too strong can cause a brittle structure. It is crucial to avoid faults of that kind in the products, otherwise it would result in a lot of costly rejects.
One of the main task is to strengthen the structure of the dough and improve its fermentation tolerance. Some bakeries work with 70% sponge. Although that is good for water binding, it can cause problems with stability, especially in relation with long fermentation periods during preparation of the dough. Then the degradation processes take place, which can have a negative effect on the quality of the buns.
In cases when the dough sticks to the fermentation tray, this would result in uneven patches and pits on the underside of the buns. Moreover, doughs of that kind often have too little resistance to mechanical stress.
The dough should have a flowing consistency. If the structure is too firm, the dough will not fill the baking pan properly. The dough will have poor pan flow which will result in buns having different heights. Emulsifiers or emulsifying enzyme systems are important, too, in order to make the dough more supple and ensure a fine crumb texture.
Fine crumb is important
The crumb must have a fine, even texture so that the bun does not become saturated when filled. When the bun is toasted, the sugar in it caramelises and closes the pores on the cut surfaces. If the texture is too coarse, the crumb could soak up the meat juice from the hamburger or the sauce. That is a totally undesirable effect.
Another crucial point is reached just after baking. The products are cooled down quickly – then it may happen that the buns might shrink and bend. Stern Ingredients’ DeutscheBack TopBake Bun Improver has dough relaxing enzymes to prevent this from happening.
Shelf life is one of the most important aspect
The stability of the baked products is important as buns are packed on top of each other during packing.
This can easily result in breakage. Also, under humid conditions, we often need preservatives to delay microbiological spoilage. Maltogenic amylases and emulsifiers help to keep the buns fresh for up to 6 weeks.
DeutscheBack, part of the German owner-managed Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, offers solutions to not only improve the quality of the buns to produce consistent volume with a fine texture and optimal crumb properties; the international team is well-equipped with local knowledge and offers a wide range of solutions to assist customers in producing high quality baked goods for your consumers.
Find out more about DeutscheBack’s range of functional baking ingredients, visit www.sterningredients.com.sg.
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Stern Ingredients Asia Pacific Pte Ltd