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Venkata R. Sundara - Articles and news items

The science behind the flat wafer baking process

Issue 4 2012  •  5 September 2012  •  Venkata R. Sundara, Group Leader for Aerated and Filled Confectionery, Nestlé Product Technology Centre

Wafers offer a unique sensorial experience to consumers. Driven by consumer trends towards products which are lighter but still indulgent, the wafer category is expected to grow further. Wafers are seldom eaten alone and are often combined with components with a contrasting texture, such as chocolate or ice cream. Wafers are intermediate components used in the manufacture of several top-selling confectionery products. The crispness and lightness contrasts well with soft cream or chocolate. The level of crispness and its retention over shelf life are critical parameters for the quality of wafer based confectionery products.

Wafers have been manufactured and marketed successfully for decades. During this time, minor additions/modifications have been made to suit local requirements. Much literature relates to bread or biscuit baking which has little relevance to wafer1. The architecture of a flat wafer shows gas bubbles dispersed in a solid phase (Figure 2). The nonhomogeneity of gas cell size, shape and distribution suggests that a wafer can be considered as ‘anisotropic foam’. The arrange – ment of solids and gas cells in solid foam such as a wafer determines its mechanical properties and can therefore influence sensory perception2. In order to vary and control wafer texture, it is important to understand the science behind the structure formation during the baking process.

Chocolate aeration – Art or science?

Issue 4 2011  •  6 September 2011  •  Josélio Vieira, Principal Research Scientist, Nestlé Product Technology Centre and Venkata R. Sundara, Group Leader for Aerated and Filled Confectionery, Nestlé Product Technology Centre

Bubble inclusion into chocolate results in a foam in which the gas is dispersed in the continuous fat phase of mainly cocoa butter, which also contains sugar, cocoa and milk powder particles. Aeration allows chocolate products to have a low weight in relation to volume, thereby reducing the calories in a portion (albeit not by weight). It also imparts a unique texture on the final product. A vast array of different aerated chocolate products can be found worldwide (Figure 1).

Aeration of chocolate has been widely used commercially since the patenting of an aerated product in 19351. Since then, several methods to introduce bubbles into chocolate have been developed2. Despite the various methods of including bubbles in chocolate, the science of bubble formation and stabilisation is still poorly understood.

 

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