Licorice is a glossy candy with firm consistency that can have different flavors, like chocolate, cherry and strawberry. With the right licorice making equipment, start by making a paste from the licorice roots, mixing them with sugar, flour and sweeteners. Extrude it with a nuzzle, allowing to cool, then cut and package it.
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Importance of quality assurance checks in licorice production
One of the methods of making licorice is cooking the sugar and licorice extract together and pouring it into molds full of cornstarch. There is also the licorice extrusion process, in which licorice root extract boils at 220-270 °C. After that, you add the colors and flavors. The mixture then cooks slowly until it is thick like a dough. Finally, you cut it into pieces.
Apart from these general steps, you need to carry quality checks on the licorice to guarantee that it fits the established standards. The quality assessment starts with testing the raw materials you will use for production. Lab technicians evaluate the ingredients and see whether they comply with the specifications. The tests must ensure that viscosity, pH levels and appearance of the licorice are adequate. Also, the color or texture of a sample licorice stick is compared to the standard licorice, to see if the quality matches.
Additionally, check the sensory characteristics, like the odor and flavor of the licorice. You can also examine other characteristics such as moisture content, size of solids and quantity of liquids.
What to consider when cooking and cutting licorice
Licorice is a sticky product, so, to cut it, use machines with stainless steel scraper blades and a heat exchange surface. These blades continuously remove any licorice that sticks to the machine. The non-sticky machine makes the process easier and more efficient. The licorice is pumped to the heat exchange surface for cooking; there, the blades continuously scrape the surface and mixes the licorice. The blades keep turning the licorice to ensure that there is even transfer of heat before moving it to the extruder and the cutting machine. A cutting machine helps you cut the roots into tiny pieces before extracting the paste.
Differences between sweet and salty licorice
Licorice can be salty or sweetened, and it’s in the mixing process that you define your product characteristic. Choosing ingredients carefully helps ensure some licorice’s characteristics, such as appearance and taste. The ingredients include sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup, as well as flour, that binds all the ingredients together. You need to add colorants, flavorings and preservatives, and can also use other natural flavors obtained from fruits, honey and berries.
Salty licorice contains both sugar and salt in its composition. The salty versions are more popular in Finland and Swedish while the sweet version is mostly consumed in the United States and Canada.