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How to measure the colour of bread

Bread, a staple in diets worldwide, is not just judged by its taste and texture – its colour plays a vital role too. The colour of bread is one of the primary factors consumers consider when making a purchase. It signifies the freshness, quality, and even the flavour of the bread. In this article, we explore the fascinating process of measuring bread colour and its importance in quality controls.

Why is Bread Colour Significant?

The colour of bread is a direct reflection of its ingredients and the baking process. The golden-brown hue of a perfectly baked loaf isn’t just appealing to the eye but also indicates that the Maillard reaction (a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars during baking) has occurred, lending the bread its distinctive taste.

Understanding Bread Colour Measurement

Measuring the colour of bread isn’t as simple as it sounds. Human perception of colour is subjective and can lead to inconsistent results. Therefore, the bread-making industry uses scientific devices like colorimeters and spectrophotometers for accurate and objective measurements.

A colorimetric spectrophotometer measures colour based on three parameters – hue, saturation, and brightness, while a spectrophotometer provides more detailed colour data by measuring the spectral reflectance curve. By using these devices, bread manufacturers can ensure the consistency and quality of their product.

Colour Measurement and Quality Control

Quality control in bread production is a meticulous process that involves careful scrutiny at every stage – from ingredient selection and dough preparation to baking and packaging. Colour measurement forms a critical part of this quality control process.

By quantifying the colour of the bread’s crust and crumb, manufacturers can monitor and control the baking process to achieve the optimal colour, thereby ensuring product consistency. This is crucial because any deviation in colour can significantly influence consumer perception and acceptance.

Furthermore, colour measurement can serve as an early warning system for potential issues in the production process. Unusual changes in bread colour could indicate problems such as inappropriate ingredient proportions, variations in baking temperature, or inconsistencies in the dough fermentation process.


The colour of bread is more than just an aesthetic feature. It’s a reliable indicator of quality, freshness, and flavour, and plays a crucial role in consumer choice. By adopting precise colour measurement techniques, bread manufacturers can maintain product consistency, enhance quality controls, and ultimately deliver bread that meets the high expectations of the customer.

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