Solution: Assuming there is no mistake in the formula and the right amount of preservative (sorbic acid or potassium sorbate) was added, the most common reason for mould growth is improper baking. Usually, while conducting trials, the cakes are taken out from the oven based on visual inspection of their brownish color development. However, this parameter is subjective and sometimes it misleads. Accordingly, we strictly recommend in each experiment, to bake the cakes in different times - i.e., while the cakes seem to be ready, to start taking samples from the oven every 3-5 minutes. Then, these samples, which represent different baking times, should be kept for shelf life studies. After several weeks/months, it will be possible to collect the right sample, which is without mould on the one hand (i.e., which is properly baked) and soft and humid on the other hand (i.e., not over-baked). In case that mould appears, we recommend to reduce the amount of glucose or invert sugar in the formula (and to increase the sugar amount accordingly). Thus, the color development during baking will be retarded and the baking time will be elongated accordingly. Needless to indicate that besides the baking conditions, also other aspects might be related to mould growth, including sanitary conditions, method of packaging and type of packing material.
Solution: Tunnel ovens require a full set of trials in order to calibrate them for the PentaCake usages. The cake shape and volume are affected by mainly the following oven parameters: (1) Temperature in each zone in the oven, (2) Up/down heating balance in each zone, (3) Level of the chimneys opening in each zone, (4) Baking time.
The cracks can be minimized mainly by the following adjustments in the baking: (1) Baking in a fully loaded oven, in order to ensure that the oven is humid, (2) Slightly closing the oven chimneys in order to make the oven atmosphere more humid, (3) Reducing the baking temperature, mainly in the entrance zone, and elongating the baking time accordingly, (4) In some cases, slightly increasing the bottom heat and decreasing the upper heat.
Solution: The reason for that is probably too short baking, which may also cause to the occurrence of molds. It seems that the baking time was "cut" too early, because of the color development. In order to "enforce" the user to bake longer time, it is needed to reduce the invert sugar amount (and to increase the sugar accordingly). That will make the color of the cakes brighter and accordingly the baking time will be elongated and the cakes will be dryer.
Solution: First, it should be verified that the package is of acceptable quality and that its permeability is low. Assuming the package is proper and the cake structure is fine (i.e., the texture is not too open/coarse - a problem to be discussed separately), the reason for the dryness might be too long baking time. It mostly occurs in small size cakes (e.g., muffins/cupcakes) or in sponge cakes. Let's assume that the original baking time has been determined according to the required cake color. The way to shorten the baking time, without influencing the color, is to increase the level of the mono-sugars (invert sugar, glucose and so on), on the account of the sugar. Then, the golden color is being developed earlier and it is possible to shorten the baking time accordingly. Any change in the baking conditions may affect the cake microbial stability.
The reason for that phenomenon might be unbalanced leavening, causing to the appearance of large air bubbles, which are trapped in the cake surface skin. Possible ways for the elimination of the said phenomenon:
Solution: There are two main different parameters to adjust in terms of cake color - the baking time and the amount of the mono-sugars (e.g., invert sugar, glucose, glucose-fructose, milk solids, etc.). Higher mono-sugars level gives darker color and less (or none) gives brighter color. The decision which parameter should be adjusted (baking time or mono-sugar levels) depends also on the required cake humidity. Examples: (1) If the cake is too pale and too dry, mono-sugars should be added, in order to darken the color, without baking time elongation. (2) If the cake is too pale and too wet/doughy, baking time elongation should be considered. (3) If the cake is too dark and too dry, the baking time should be shortened. (4) If the cake is too dark, but still very humid and with central white area, the mono-sugars level should be reduced. Note that any change in the baking conditions may affect the cake microbial stability.
Solution: Mostly, it can happen due to insufficient mixing or due to improper batter aeration. Note that these causatives are not the same. If the structure is very coarse and followed by a brownish interior color or brown spots, it probably relates to improper mixing of the batter. Then, the mixing time should be elongated, mainly in the last stages. In case that the structure is quiet open (but not extremely open) and still uniform, and the internal color is bright, it is probably related to improper batter aeration. In any case, the specific gravity of the batter (SG) should be monitored, before consultation the issue with us. The aeration can be improved by the usage of refrigerated ingredients and/or replacement of the water with fine ice flakes. Also adjustment of the mixing time should be done. Frequently, too short or too long mixing increases the batter specific gravity (i.e., pooper aeration).
Solution: There are several possible reasons for that. The two main ones are insufficient baking (while the cake interior is still raw and accordingly the cake doesn't have its proper physical strength) or insufficient mixing of the batter (causing to improper incorporation of the raw materials in the batter and accordingly the leavening is unbalanced).
Solution: The issue might be related to the mixer geometry, but not for sure only to that. A certain mixing time in laboratory mixer is not necessarily the same in an industrial mixer. It is required to learn the dynamics of the mixing in the industrial mixer by measuring the SG after every minute of mixing in every mixing stage and to find the "pick" (i.e., the point with the lowest SG but with proper mixing). It should be noted that excess mixing also increases the SG.
Solution: In order to give a deep solution, we should examine samples of the cakes. However, generally, it should be first checked that there is no mistake in the formula (e.g., excess of sorbate, etc.) or that excess baking powder was not added (in the PentaCake formulas, baking powder addition is not required). Bitterness can also appear due to improper mixing of the batter ingredients - mainly improper dispersion of the PentaCake or the sorbates. If Potassium sorbate is used, it is recommended to dissolve it in water before addition. It might be also considered to use Sorbic acid instead. There is also need to verify that the glycerol which is used is not bitter. In case that the bitterness appears only after several weeks, it might be related to oil/fat oxidation (then, other fat types should be examined).
Solution: The two main reasons for off-flavors are fat oxidation or microbial spoilage. The microbial spoilage issue has been already discussed. If the off-flavor is due to fat oxidation (including oil, shortening, margarine, etc.), the first thing to be done is to check for alternative fats. This examination should be done in two levels: checking different types of fats and oils (e.g., palm, corn, sunflower, cotton, rapeseed, etc.) and checking different brands of the same type. The simplest way to analyze the quality of the fats is by baking cakes with different types of fats and after several weeks, analyzing the taste of each cake.
Solution: Most probably that it relates to improper mixing of the batter. Thus, longer mixing should be considered. It should be verified that the sugar is fully dissolved in the batter (sugar granules may cause to the black dots on the surface) and that the PentaCake is fully dispersed in the batter (the leavening agents in the PentaCake may lead to brownish spots in the cake interior, if they are not mixed well in the batter).
Solution: It is probably related to direct contact between the flour and the water during the mixing. The flour and the water should not be added to the mixer bowl one after the other. It can also be considered to add half of the water in the last mixing stage. Then, during the main mixing stage, the batter would be thicker and consequently the flour lumps would be broken.
Solution: Naturally, first it should be verified that the trays are properly coated, with suitable silicone or Teflon coatings. Then, the greasing oil should be examined. We offer our customers recommended formulas for greasing oils for cakes, or alternatively, we refer to manufacturers of commercial items which are destined for this purpose (e.g., the releasing agents of Dubor).
Solution: Part of the oil in the formula can be substituted by semi solid fat or melted fat. Then, the migration of the oil to the cake surface would be lesser.
Solution: It is needed to substitute about 1/4 of the sugar content with Sorbitol (dry matter basis). If liquid Sorbitol is being used, the water balance calculation should be done (i.e., the water amount should be reduced as well).
Solution: The brownie manufacturing involves two "tricks". The brownie rises well in the oven and collapses while chilling. This is a desirable collapse, giving the brownie a dense texture, which is followed by its authentic wrinkled surface. Besides the syrup addition, the brownie humidity is achieved by finding the right baking time. It is needed to bake the brownies much shorter time than regular cakes and muffins. Trials are needed in order to find the right baking time enabling the humidity migration to the brownie surface on the one hand, and eliminating microbial spoilage on the other hand.