Creating a Crust on Bread



Colin Please, University of Southampton.


Student Team:

Adith Venkiteshwaran, RPI

Hatesh Radia, University of Mass, Lowell

Andrew Mykrantz, University of Akron

Juan Latorre, RPI

Simon Gemmrich, McGill University

Matthew Demers, RPI

Daniel Callahan, Wichita State University

Andrew Ball, University of Delaware.





The objective of this project is to determine how the various production processes can be used to affect the quality, size, and consistency of the crust on bread. The group studied mathematically the processes occurring in the baking stage of bread in order to model the crust formation. The first step that the group took was a phenomenological approach. Based on the paper by B. Zanoni, C. Peri and S. Pierucci, A study of the bread-baking process. I: A phenomenological model, it was possible to establish the main mechanisms that take place in the bread baking process. In order to differentiate crust from the soft center, the so-called crumb, it was decided to model crust as the region of the bread that has lost all its moisture content. Heat conduction and energy conservation are the main physical laws that were considered. This led to a Stephan problem in the dough, which uses the heat equation to model the temperature distribution in the crust and the crumb.  The moving boundary separating the crust and crumb models the evaporation front. The temperature distribution before the evaporation front appears was found using an asymptotic analysis.  This exact solution was used as an initial condition to solve the Stephan problem numerically. This numerical solution showed that the evaporation front evolves almost linearly in time, which agreed with the experimental data found in the paper by Zanoni et al. Finally, the group discussed other mechanisms that could make the model more realistic.