The term Hot Break means that the fresh tomato is chopped when heated, at temperatures ranging from 85 to 100°C, while Cold Break means that the fresh tomato is chopped at lower temperatures, ranging from 65 to 75°C. The difference between the two products lies in the apparent viscosity, measured in Bostwick centimeters. The Hot Break product is more viscous and therefore denser, and has an average Bostwick viscosity ranging between 3.5 and 6 centimeters, while the Cold Break product is less viscous, therefore less dense, and normally measures from 9 to 16 Bostwick centimeters in viscosity. The HB product is usually used for ketchup and different sauces requiring a 28-30° Brix, while the CB is mainly used for triple concentrate paste at 36-38° Brix, packaged in 500 or 1000 gr cans for domestic use.
A brief outline of the viscosity problem from a chemical point of view is provided below: this procedure, which increases the viscosity in the tomato paste by using heat, is technically identified as the enzymatic inactivation procedure. This process, not only increase the consistency of the finished product, but it decreases consistently the serum separation (the separation of the liquid from the fibrous parts), a phenomenon which is not at all appreciated by the end user. It has been demonstrated that if pectolytic enzymes, naturally present in tomatoes and fruit, are exposed to oxygen during the chopping process, they are revitalized and begin to destroy pectin. Pectin is the substance which gives consistency to the tomato paste. It has also been observed that the pectolytic enzymes can be deactivated at temperatures exceeding 85°C. Therefore, all enzyme deactivation systems, known as Hot Break Units, raise the product’s temperature up to 85° C and over so as to deactivate the enzymes as quickly as possible and therefore preserve the product’s natural viscosity.
(From Fenco company)
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