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Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PREPARING NOODLES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/116543
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for preparing noodles is disclosed. The method comprises receiving liquid and wheat flour; controlling the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature; subsequently, mixing the liquid and the wheat flour; preparing dough by said mixing of the wheat flour and the liquid; and preparing noodles from the dough; wherein the wheat flour comprises gluten and starch, and the first temperature and/or the second temperature are controllable so that said mixture of wheat flour and liquid has a temperature higher than 50 °C. An apparatus for preparing noodles is also disclosed. Using the method and apparatus according to the present disclosure, the texture of noodles is controllable.

Inventors:
KUI, Xiaoyun (5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
SUN, Wen (5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
GAO, Yanling (5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
Application Number:
EP2016/051197
Publication Date:
July 28, 2016
Filing Date:
January 21, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS N.V. (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
International Classes:
A21C1/00; A21D8/02; A23L7/109
Foreign References:
JP2001252035A2001-09-18
CN202603532U2012-12-19
US3846563A1974-11-05
KR100719964B12007-05-14
JP2007097482A2007-04-19
JP2006288301A2006-10-26
JP2004135540A2004-05-13
KR101463969B12014-11-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
UITTENBROEK, Arie Leendert et al. (High Tech Campus 5, 5656 AE Eindhoven, 5656 AE, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A method (300) of preparing noodles, comprising:

- receiving liquid and wheat flour (S301);

- controlling the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature (S303);

- subsequently mixing the liquid and the wheat flour and preparing dough by mixing the wheat flour and the liquid (S304); and

- preparing noodles from the dough (S305);

wherein the wheat flour comprises gluten and starch, and the first temperature and/or the second temperature are controllable so that the mixture of the wheat flour and the liquid has a temperature higher than 50 °C.

2. The method (300) according to Claim 1, further comprising:

- weighing the wheat flour; and

- controlling the weight of the liquid to be mixed with the wheat flour, such that a weight ratio between the liquid and the wheat flour is controllable.

3. The method (300) according to Claim 2, wherein the weight ratio ranges from 38 to 45 %. 4. The method (300) according to Claim 3, wherein the weight ratio ranges from

40 to 45 %.

The method (300) according to Claim 1, wherein the mixture of the wheat the liquid has a temperature higher than 55 °C.

The method (300) according to Claim 5, wherein the mixture of the wheat the liquid has a temperature ranging from 55 to 70 °C.

7. The method (300) according to Claim 2, wherein the first temperature ranges from 60 to 65 °C, the second temperature ranges from 60 to 65 °C, and the weight ratio ranges from 40 to 42 %.

8. The method (300) according to Claim 3, wherein the first temperature ranges from 90 to 100 °C, the second temperature ranges from 10 to 30 °C, and the weight ratio ranges from 40 to 45 %.

9. The method (300) according to Claim 1 or 2, wherein before controlling the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature, the method further comprises:

- receiving a target hardness; and

- defining parameters comprising the weight ratio, the first temperature, the second temperature or any combination of the above according to the target hardness,

wherein the parameters are used to set the predefined first temperature, the predefined second temperature and the weight ratio.

10. A noodle preparing apparatus (400), comprising:

- a chamber (404) adapted to receive a liquid and wheat flour;

- a mixing and dough preparing unit (405) adapted to mix the liquid and the wheat flour and prepare dough by said mixing of the wheat flour and the liquid;

- a noodle making unit adapted to make noodles from the dough, and

- a temperature control unit adapted to control the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature so that the mixture of the wheat flour and the liquid has a temperature higher than 50 °C.

1 1. The apparatus (400) according to Claim 10, further comprising:

- a flour weight control unit (407) adapted to control the weight of the wheat flour; and

- a liquid weight control unit (403) adapted to control the weight of the liquid, such that the weight ratio between the liquid and the wheat flour is controllable.

12. The apparatus (400) according to Claim 10, wherein the temperature control unit comprises:

- a first temperature control unit (402) adapted to control the temperature of the liquid; and/or

- a second temperature control unit (408) adapted to control the temperature of the wheat flour.

13. The apparatus (400) according to Claim 1 1, wherein

the first temperature ranges from 60 to 65 °C, the second temperature ranges from 60 to 65 °C, and the weight ratio ranges from 40 to 42 %.

14. The apparatus (400) according to Claim 1 1, wherein the first temperature ranges from 90 to 100 °C, the second temperature ranges from 10 to 30 °C, and the weight ratio ranges from 40 to 45 %.

15. The apparatus (400) according to Claim 13, further comprising:

- a target setting unit (410) configured to set a target hardness based on the input by the user; and

- a parameter defining unit (41 1) configured to define parameters comprising the weight ratio, the first temperature, the second temperature or any combination of the above according to the target hardness,

wherein the parameters are used to set the predefined first temperature, the predefined second temperature and the weight ratio.

Description:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PREPARING NOODLES

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present disclosure generally relate to a method and an apparatus for preparing noodles, especially for preparing noodles with controllable hardness from wheat flour.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Wheaten food is widely favored all over the world. Different kinds of flour can be used to produce a variety of wheaten foods such as bread, noodles, etc. These kinds of food are normally produced from dough after particular processes, and the quality of the dough used is vital for the texture, such as hardness, stickiness and elasticity, of the final product.

Wheat flour mainly contains starch and four kinds of proteins, wherein the starch and two kinds of proteins (gliadin and glutenin, collectively referred to below as "gluten proteins") play key roles with respect to the quality of the produced dough. Starch accounts for nearly 75% of the dry weight of wheat flour, but it almost does not absorb water of room temperature (RT, 10-30 °C). Therefore, generally speaking, starch does not react with water at room temperature. The gluten protein content in wheat flour varies according to wheat variety, storage condition, milling process, etc. Based on the gluten content, wheat flour can be roughly classified into three types, which are all commercially available: 1) high- gluten wheat flour, in which the wet gluten content is at least 35% (protein content is normally 12-15%); 2) middle-gluten wheat flour, in which the wet gluten content is 25-35%) (protein content is normally 9-1 1 %); 3) low-gluten wheat flour, in which the wet gluten content is at most 25% (protein content is normally 7-9%).

At room temperature, by interacting with water, gluten proteins will hydrate and restore the viscoelastic properties of gluten, and hydrated flour particles adhere together because of stickiness of gluten proteins and thus create an interconnected three-dimensional network. The network structure is changeable because some connection joints can be opened and re-built by exerting external force thereon. Starch granules are embedded in the protein network. That is how people make dough according to the prior arts. Traditionally, people have been preparing dough for ages from water and wheat flour by kneading. In recent years, food processors, which are able to prepare dough by stirring the mixture of flour and water with a stirrer, have been developed. These dough preparations are all made at room

temperature, i.e. wheat flour of RT being mixed with water of RT. By kneading or stirring repeatedly, gluten proteins can form an interconnected three-dimensional network in which starch granules are embedded.

US6743007B2 discloses an automatic noodle maker preparing noodles from flour and water. A stirring and extruding shaft is arranged in a chamber, which can rotate along two opposite directions. Along one direction, the shaft stirs the materials to form the dough or "dough crumbs" and along the opposite direction, the shaft extrudes the mixture through an extrusion head containing some extrusion channels to form noodles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Nowadays, consumers have more and more requirements in respect of dough food. In one important aspect, it is desired to adjust the hardness of the food produced, based on different needs. For example, for babies, the elderly or certaingroups of patients, it would be desirable that the resulting dough food, like noodles, could be softer.

However, this is difficult to be achieved by traditional noodle-making methods. By adjusting the weight ratio of liquid/flour (the weight ratio is defined herein as the weight of the liquid relative to the weight of the wheat flour), the hardness of the resulting noodles can be adjusted, but the range for hardness adjustment is very limited. The range of adjustment of the weight ratio is very limited in order to preserve the quality of the resulting noodles. Normally, the weight ratio can be adjusted in a very small range from 32 to 35%. If the weight ratio exceeds the upper boundary of this range (i.e., 35%), for example when the weight ratio increases to 38%), the resulting dough will be too sticky when the dough is made by a machine, which is undesirable to most consumers and not suitable if the noodles are made using extrusion. As a result of the small range of allowable adjustment of the weight ratio, the change in hardness by the weight ratio adjustment is not obvious. As shown in Fig. 5 (will be described below in detail), the hardness curve of a noodle sample made with a 32% weight ratio overlaps with that of the noodle sample made with a 35% weight ratio, which indicates that the hardness difference resulting from solely adjusting the weight ratio at room temperature is not significant.

In view of the above, it is desired to introduce a method and an apparatus for adjusting the hardness of the resulting noodles in a larger range to meet different needs in different situations.

According to one aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a method of preparing noodles. The method comprises receiving a liquid and wheat flour; controlling the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature; subsequently, mixing (a portion of) the liquid and (a portion of) the wheat flour and, after that, preparing dough by said mixing of (the portion of) the wheat flour and (the portion of) the liquid; and preparing noodles from the dough; wherein the wheat flour comprises gluten and starch, and the first temperature and/or the second temperature are controllable so that the mixture of the wheat flour and the liquid has a temperature higher than 50 °C.

Using the proposed method, the mixture of wheat flour and water may be heated to a higher temperature and thus trigger starch gelatinization, which increases the water absorption ability of starch and consequently reduces the hardness of the resulting dough. The gelatinization temperature depends on type of starch, granule size, water content, pH, presence of other components in the flour, etc. In general, starch gelatinization occurs above 50°C. However, the temperature of dough (or "dough crumbs") is difficult to sense accurately. Generally, when gelatinization happens, it can be considered that the temperature has already been above 50 °C. In addition, as the temperature rises, denaturation of gluten proteins also occurs, which inhibits the formation of gluten network more or less and decreases the extensibility and cohesion of the formed gluten network. The weakened gluten network will result in a further decrease of the hardness of the dough. In general, the effect of protein denaturation starts at a low temperature and peaks at 80-90°C. However, fully denatured proteins cannot get cross-linked to form the network, and the produced dough food will be very prone to breaking down into pieces, which is undesirable. As a result, by controlling the temperature of the liquid and/or the temperature of the wheat flour, the temperature of the resulting mixture is also controllable, which can in turn control the hardness of the resulting noodles.

According to the present disclosure, wheat flour stands for the product prepared from grain of common wheat, triticum aestivum L., or club wheat, Triticum compactum Host., or a mixture thereof, by grinding or milling processes in which the bran and germ are partly removed and the remainder is comminuted to a suitable degree of fineness, including all three types of wheat flour mentioned above. For the definition of wheat flour refererence is made to Codex Standard 152- 1985.

(http:/ r v r vv.codexalimentarius.org/codex-home/zh/)

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the method may further comprise: weighing out (the portion of) the wheat flour; and controlling the weight of (the portion of) the liquid to be mixed with (the portion of) the wheat flour, such that a weight ratio between (the portion of) the liquid and (the portion of) the wheat flour is controllable. By enabling the mixture temperature and the weight ratio both to be adjustable, the hardness of the resulting noodles can be adjusted in an extended range.

Since the process of gelatinization of starch involves absorption of water, more water is used during the dough making according to this disclosure. Optionally, the weight ratio may range from 38 to 45%, while excessive stickiness can be prevented.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the mixture of the wheat flour and the liquid has a temperature higher than 55 °C. Preferably, the mixture of the wheat flour and the liquid has a temperature ranging from 55 to 70 °C. The first temperature may be at least 55 °C, and the second temperature may be at least 55 °C. As described above, gelatinization of starch starts above 50 °C, and becomes obvious above 55 °C. Preferably, the first temperature may range from 55 to 70 °C, and the second temperature may range from 55 to 70 °C. In this range, proteins are denatured at a very slow rate so that the gluten proteins will not be fully denatured. By virtue thereof, the quality of the resulting dough is satisfactory. In this embodiment, the temperature of both wheat flour and liquid may be controlled, so the degree of freedom of control is sufficient.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the first temperature may range from 60 to 65 °C, the second temperature may range from 60 to 65 °C, and the weight ratio may range from 40 to 42 %. In this range, an even better noodle quality can be obtained.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the first temperature may range from 90 to 100 °C, the second temperature may range from 10 to 30 °C, and the weight ratio may range from 40 to 45%. Herein, the wheat flour is at room temperature, and thus only the liquid is heated. This can shorten the time necessary for heating because flour is more difficult to heat than a liquid. In addition, this can simplify the structure of the dough making device.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, before controlling the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature, the method may further comprise: receiving a target hardness; and defining parameters comprising the weight ratio, the first temperature, the second temperature or any combination of the above, wherein the parameters are used to set the predefined first temperature, the predefined second temperature and the weight ratio.

By applying this embodiment, the user only needs to select or input some information relating to hardness, and the noodle making process can be automatically completed.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a noodle making apparatus. The apparatus comprises: a chamber adapted to receive liquid and wheat flour; a mixing and dough preparing unit adapted to mix (a portion of) the liquid and (a portion of) the wheat flour and prepare dough from the mixture of (a portion of) the wheat flour and (a portion of) the liquid; a noodle making unit adapted to make noodles from the dough; and a temperature control unit adapted to control the temperature of the liquid to a predefined first temperature and/or the temperature of the wheat flour to a predefined second temperature so that the mixture of the wheat flour and the liquid has a temperature higher than 50 °C.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the apparatus may further comprise: a flour weighing control unit adapted to control the weight of (the portion of) the wheat; and a liquid weight controlling unit adapted to control the weight of (the portion of) the liquid, such that the weight ratio between (the portion of) the liquid and (the portion of) the wheat flour is controllable. Optionally, the first temperature may range from 60 to 65 °C, the second temperature may range from 60 to 65 °C, and the weight ratio may range from 40 to 42%. Alternatively, the first temperature may range from 90 to 100 °C, the second temperature may range from 10 to 30 °C, and the weight ratio may range from 40 to 45%.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the temperature control unit may comprise a first temperature control unit adapted to control the temperature of the liquid; and/or a second temperature control unit adapted to control the temperature of the wheat flour.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, the apparatus may further comprise a target setting unit configured to set a target hardness based on the input by the user; and a parameter defining unit configured to define parameters comprising the weight ratio, the first temperature, the second temperature or any combination of the above according to the target hardness, wherein the parameters are used to set the predefined first temperature, the predefined second temperature and the weight ratio .

Advantages brought about by embodiments of the present disclosure in general are that it enables the control of the hardness of the prepared noodles either in a semiautomatic manner (e.g., the users may need to prepare an amount of wheat flour based on their consumption, and set the amount of liquid as well as the temperature to be maintained before the mixing step) or in an automatic manner (e.g., the users may simply need to introduce enough wheat flour and liquid in the apparatus and set a preferred hardness, with the apparatus finishing the noodle making process automatically).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Through the following detailed descriptions with reference to the accompanying drawings, the above and other objectives, features and advantages of the embodiments of the present invention will become more comprehensible. In the drawings, several embodiments of the present invention will be illustrated in an example and in a non- limiting manner, wherein:

Fig. 1 illustrates a flowchart of a method for preparing dough in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure; Fig. 2 illustrates a schematic drawing of an apparatus for preparing dough in accordance with the embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 3 illustrates a flowchart of a method for preparing noodles in accordance with a further embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 4 illustrates a schematic drawing of an apparatus for preparing noodles in accordance with the embodiment of the present disclosure; and

Fig. 5 illustrates the experimental results for different preset conditions in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Principles of the present invention will now be described with reference to various example embodiments illustrated in the drawings. It should be appreciated that the depiction of these embodiments is only to enable those skilled in the art to better understand and further implement the present invention, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention in any manner. It is noted that wherever practicable similar or like reference numbers may be used in the figures, and may indicate similar or like functionality. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following description that alternative embodiments of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed without departing from the principles of the present disclosure described therein.

It is also to be understood that although water is used as an example of a liquid herein, the present disclosure does not intend to limit the type of liquid, and any suitable liquid such as vegetable juice, milk, etc. is within the scope of the present disclosure.

Fig. 1 illustrates a flowchart of a method 100 for preparing dough in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure, and Fig. 2 illustrates a schematic drawing of an apparatus 200 for preparing dough in accordance with the embodiment of the present disclosure. In this embodiment, only the temperature of the liquid is controlled for controlling the temperature of the mixture.

According to Fig. 2, an apparatus 200 for preparing dough based on one particular embodiment is shown. The apparatus 200 includes a first temperature control unit 201, a chamber 202 and a dough preparing unit 203. In step SI 01, a liquid and wheat flour are received. It is to be noted that the present disclosure does not intend to limit the way in which the liquid and the wheat flour are received. For example, the liquid may be poured into the chamber 202 by the user, or may be injected into the chamber 202 from a duct (e.g., to directly receive tap water from the duct).

In step S 102, the temperature of the liquid is controlled to a predetermined value, for example, a predefined first temperature set by the user or a program. The first temperature control unit 201 includes a temperature adjusting means, e.g. a heater, and a temperature detecting means, e.g. a temperature sensor. After receiving the liquid, e.g. water of room temperature, the temperature adjusting means is able to heat the water to a desired temperature. The temperature sensor can detect the water temperature in real time, and give feedback to stop heating the water when the desired temperature, for example the predefined first temperature, is reached.

In another embodiment, water may be pre-heated and stored in a separate container (not shown) other than the chamber 202. When dough making is started, the preheated water will be introduced into the chamber 202 for mixing. Alternatively, the water stored in the separate container can be pre-heated to a temperature close to boiling temperature, e.g. above 95 °C. Before mixing it with flour, the stored hot water can be cooled down first by a cooler to the desired temperature. Another option is to mix the heated water with some cool water. This can save the time necessary for cooling water.

In step SI 03, the treated water will be introduced into the chamber 202 to be mixed with a desired quantity of wheat flour . The quantity of wheat flour can be determined by the end user or by a filling unit.

In step SI 04, the dough preparing unit 203, which for example comprises a stirrer, will stir the mixture of the wheat flour and water within the chamber 202 to produce dough .

Finally, the produced dough will be extruded or cut into noodles by an extrusion device or a cutting device. This extrusion device or cutting device could be an independent device from the apparatus 200, or they can be part of an automatic noodle maker.

As discussed above, when the temperature reaches 50 °C, the gelatinization of starch and the denaturation of gluten proteins both begin. As a result, adjustment of the temperature of the mixture can adjust the hardness of the resulting dough. Since only water is heated in this embodiment, the water should be heated to a temperature higher than 90 °C to cause the starch contained in the mixture to gelatinize.

Also as discussed above, by adjusting both the mixture temperature and the weight ratio, the hardness of the final dough can be adjusted in a wider range. In a preferable embodiment, the liquid (water) is heated above 90 °C and the flour is of RT (from 10 to 30 °C), and the weight ratio ranges from 40 to 45 %, which is much larger than the weight ratio in traditional dough making methods.

Fig. 3 illustrates a flowchart of a method 300 for preparing noodles in accordance with a further embodiment of the present disclosure, and Fig. 4 illustrates a schematic drawing of an apparatus 400 for preparing noodles in accordance with the embodiment of the present disclosure. In this embodiment, the temperature of wheat flour is also controllable.

According to Fig. 4, an apparatus 400 for preparing noodles based on the embodiment is shown. A liquid container 401 is arranged for receiving the liquid from a liquid inlet and a flour container 406 is arranged for receiving the wheat flour from a flour inlet or opening. A first temperature control unit 402 is provided for controlling the temperature of the liquid and a liquid weight control unit 403 is provided for controlling the amount of the liquid to be used for mixing. Meanwhile, a second temperature control unit 408 is provided for controlling the temperature of the wheat flour and a flour weight control unit 407 is provided for controlling the amount of the flour to be used for mixing.

In addition, the apparatus 400 comprises a chamber 404, a dough preparation unit 405, a target setting unit 410 and a parameter defining unit 41 1. The chamber 404 is adapted for receiving the flour and liquid, respectively, from the flour container 406 and the liquid container 401. The dough preparation unit 405 is adapted for making dough from the mixture of flour and liquid for example by stirring. The target setting unit 410 is used by the end user to input the desired hardness or dough type, like hard, medium, soft, or dough for children, dough for adult, etc. When an automatic noodle maker is used, the target setting unit can also set the parameters of the noodles.

The parameter defining unit 41 1 includes a database which builds up connections between hardness and various parameters of the mixture, like weight ratio, the first temperature and the second temperature, which as discussed above can be used as bases to adjust the hardness of the dough. By means of the parameter defining unit 41 1, a set or several sets of control parameters of the mixture can be determined for each desired hardness as set by the target setting unit 410. These parameters will be sent to the first temperature control unit 402, the liquid weight control unit 403, the second temperature control unit 408 and the flour weight control unit 407 to adjust the temperature of water and flour and their weight ratio, so as to adjust the hardness of the produced dough. In an alternative

embodiment, the parameter defining unit 41 1 could also obtain the relevant parameters from a remote Internet server.

In step S301, a liquid and wheat flour are received. In this embodiment, the users may not need to weigh out the liquid or wheat flour before adding them. They may only need to fill the containers with enough liquid and wheat flour .

In step S302, the user selects the desired type of noodles and the amount through the target setting unit 410, like "a kilo"and "for children". Then, the inputs will be sent to the parameter defining unit 41 1, which will search in the built-in database or access the remote Internet server to determine a set of parameters to be controlled for the desired hardness. In this embodiment, the parameters include water temperature, flour temperature, water amount and flour amount.

In step S303, the determined parameters will be sent to the first temperature control unit 402, the liquid weight control unit 403, the second temperature control unit 408 and the flour weight control unit 407, which will weigh out the desired amount of water and flour and adjust their temperature to the desired values. By virtue of this, the weight ratio and the temperature of the mixture can be controlled, such that the hardness of the produced noodles can be controlled, too.

In step S304, the water and flour of the desired temperature and in the desired amount will be respectively introduced into the chamber 404, and mixed and prepared into dough by the dough preparing unit 405. Any common dough preparing device can be used here, for example a stirrer. Preferably, a heater could be arranged in or around the chamber 404 to maintain the temperature of the dough at a desired level during the entire stirring process. In step S305, the produced dough will be extruded or cut into noodles. The extrusion unit or the cutting unit is not shown in the drawings.

With the configuration of this embodiment, the user may only need to fill sufficient materials (liquid and wheat flour) into the containers, and select a desired hardness or noodle type and the amount of noodles . Then the noodles can be produced automatically.

In this embodiment, since the temperature of the liquid (water) and wheat flour are both controllable, there is more freedom to adjust the temperature of the mixture of flour and water to enable the starch present therein to gelatinize. For example, flour and water can be heated to the same temperature within the range of 55 to 70 °C. Preferably, the adjustment of the mixture temperature can be carried out along with the adjustment of the weight ratio, enabling the adjustment of the hardness of the produced noodles to be achieved more conveniently and in a wider range. In a preferable embodiment, wherein the liquid (water) and flour are both heated to 60 - 65 °C, the weight ratio ranges from 40 to 42 %.

In order to show the hardness adjustment results according to the present disclosure, some experimental results will be introduced in the following. During the experiments, noodle samples made according to some embodiments of the present disclosure will be compared with noodle samples made by traditional methods.

In the experiments, some noodle samples are prepared first. To prepare noodle samples representing this invention, a volume of wheat flour and a volume of water are respectively heated to the same temperature. After being heated, a selected amount of water and a selected amount of wheat flour are introduced into a noodle maker (Philips HR2355, the die head with thin, round noodle outlets of 2.0mm diameter is selected) for mixing, and then dough is prepared by stirring for a fixed period of time. Some traditional noodle samples are also made for comparison by means of a similar method. The only difference is that those traditional noodle samples are prepared from flour and water of RT (during the experiment about 20-25 °C).

Then, the prepared noodle samples are cooked in boiling water until the noodles are ready to be served as cooked food. Specifically, 600 mL of distilled water is heated to the boil in a stainless pot by a heater (POVOS induction cooker) . Then, the power supply of the cooker is maintained at 800W. Before cooking the noodle samples, they are each cut to a length of around 30 cm. To show the trend of the hardness change, for each group of noodle samples, several batches of samples (each batch is around 40g) are cooked for a different period of time. After being cooked well, the noodle samples are taken out of the pot and cooled for 20 seconds by running tap water, and then immersed into tap water for 1 minute before the test starts.

Hardness of the cooked noodle samples will be tested by a Texture Analyzer (Stable Micro System, TA-XT plus) with a cutting tool (TA7 light knife). Other detailed parameters are listed below in table 1. The Max Cutting Force (MCF) during the cutting will be used as the indicator to reflect the hardness of the noodle. For each batch, four strands of noodle samples are randomly picked out for testing. The test is repeated 3 times and the average and relative standard deviation of the measurements are calculated. For general tests, results where the relative standard deviation is smaller than 10% among measurements can be regarded as reliable.

Table 1

Fig. 5 shows the test results for several groups of different noodle samples based on the embodiments of the present disclosure or prior arts.

From Fig. 5, it is observed that the whole cooking procedure can be roughly divided into two stages: in the first stage, by prolonging the cooking time, the MCF decreases quickly, but in the second stage, the decrease of the MCF is not obvious. As a result, the MCF of the transition points will be used to indicate the hardness of the noodle samples.

The information of the noodle samples and their test results are shown in the below table 2:

Table 2

It can be observed that the hardness of Groups 2 and 3 (prepared according to the present disclosure) decreases significantly compared with the hardness of Group 1

(prepared according to prior arts). Furthermore, by comparing Groups 2 and 3, it can be found that the increase of the temperature of the mixture and the weight ratio causes the hardness of the resulting noodles to further decrease.

It should be noted that although in this disclosure it is mentioned that starch starts to gelatinize above 50 °C, this temperature is not obtained by measuring the mixture of flour and water. This mixture is in the form of "dough crumbs" , whose temperature is very difficult to measure accurately because of the natural non-homogeneous property. However, by inserting a thermocouple into the mixture, the obtained data can be used to estimate the temperature roughly. In the experiment, after introducing the prepared flour and water into the noodle maker and starting the stirring operation, a thermocouple is inserted deep into the mixture so as to achieve maximum probe - dough contact. The ranges of the measured data are shown in the below table 3. The measured temperature ranges for dough crumbs prepared in different conditions prove that flour and water may be initialized with various temperature values before they are mixed together, and these conditions all result in qualified temperatures which are high enough to start starch gelatinization. Sample Group Test sample Weight Ratio Measured Temperature

2 60 °C for both flour and 38% Around 48-58°C

water

3 65 °C for both flour and 45% Around 50-60°C

water

92°C for water and RT 42% Around 44-61°C for flour

Table 3