Martin G Scanlon - Articles and news items
Issue 4 2007 • 16 November 2007 • Martin G Scanlon, John H Page, M Nabil Bassim, Harry D Sapirstein,Guillermo G Bellido, Hussein M Elmehdi, Yuanzhong Fan, Valentin Leroy, Keyur L Mehta, G Moses Owolabi, Food Science, Physics & Astronomy, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering - University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Bread, and the dough from which it is made from, can be viewed as a two-phase system of gas cells and matrix. Both phases ordain the properties of the dough or the bread crumb, and both phases change considerably during the various operations that comprise the breadmaking process. In the history of gas cells, three important stages occur[2,3], namely gas cell nucleation, gas cell growth, and gas cell interconnectivity. But, this history is actually foretold by the numerous physical, chemical and biological events that take place in the dough matrix, one example being the fermentation of sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide by the activities of the yeast.
Every year, in various educational institutions across the globe, students compete to design and build bridges made from spaghetti strands. In most competitions, the winner is that student team whose bridge can sustain the highest load (Johns Hopkins, 2005). Clearly some elaborate design work goes into the creation of these food engineering masterpieces (Figure 1).
However, bridge building is not the only use for pasta! Many nutritious and appetising dishes can be made from various pasta structures, such as spaghetti, lasagna, gnocchetti, manicotti, capellini, fettuccine, etc. For all pasta products, the preferred primary ingredient is semolina – coarse flour made from durum wheat. Pasta can be made from common wheat (bread-making and confectionery wheat), but is perceived as inferior to durum wheat pasta and, in some countries, legislation prohibits the addition of common wheat ingredients beyond a specified small percentage in pasta. Durum wheat was originally cultivated in the Mediterranean where, today, semolina is also used for the manufacture of specialty breads and products such as couscous, bulgar and frekeh. In recent years the proportion of durum wheat used for bread-making has been increasing.
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