As statistics show, spaghetti – the classic Italian form of pasta – for our fellow citizens, especially pensioners, turned out to be perhaps the most favorite product, and now they occupy about 20% of the market of all pasta in terms of sales.
The editorial office of the newspaper and ANO “Russian System of Quality” (Roskachestvo) conducted a study of 21 samples of this product.
PASTA FROM ROME
The word “spaghetti” in Italian means “small ropes”, which accurately describes their appearance. The inhabitants of Italy are very sensitive to their shape, taste and color, rightly considering spaghetti to be their national product. Although Russian standards set quite strict requirements for the appearance, taste and color of these pasta.
So, a high-quality product should have organoleptic characteristics peculiar only to it. The surface at the break is smooth, glassy, and the shape is strictly in the form of long (more than 200 mm) single threads, having the shape of a circle in cross section. Taste, smell, color must correspond to this product category. In the course of laboratory tests, extraneous tastes and odors were not found in any of the samples. The shape and kink of all pasta were also called characteristic of this type of product.
The only parameter for which deviations were identified was the color of the pasta. branded sample “The Seventh Continent” had a non-uniform color with traces of non-mixing (white blotches), which may indicate either an imperfect technological process when kneading dough, or the use of non-high grade flour.
HISTORY OF THE STICK
Many people are familiar with the difficulties in cooking pasta made from soft wheat flour: they are boiled soft, stick together and do not hold their shape too well. Spaghetti, made from durum wheat flour, is practically devoid of this drawback. However, some manufacturers in the production of pasta add soft flour to durum wheat flour. The proportion of soft wheat flour in the composition can be indirectly judged by two indicators: the content of protein and dry matter that has passed into the water.
Starch in hard varieties of wheat has a crystalline form, while in soft varieties it is viscous. During cooking, solids, including a large amount of starch, pass into the water, making it cloudy. The current GOST allows no more than 6% of the dry matter that has passed into the water. According to this indicator, three samples of spaghetti failed to meet the basic state standard. It should be noted, however, that branded products “The Seventh Continent” and “Granmulino” were declared as corresponding to GOST, which was not confirmed.
The amount of soft wheat flour added by the manufacturer can be estimated by the amount of protein. The more it is, the higher the quality of the pasta and the less likely it is that they contain impurities of another grade of flour. Encouragingly, more than two-thirds of the samples submitted to the study met the protein mass fraction standard.
The highest quality durum wheat spaghetti: Fine Life, Shebekinskie, Genuss PUR Spaghetti, Barilla, De Cecco, Federici.
Each of the presented samples was studied for the content of toxic elements (cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury), pesticides (HCCH, DDT and its metabolites, organomercury pesticides), various types of mold and grain dressings from which the flour was made, and later – pasta. In the course of laboratory tests, it was confirmed that none of the specified parameters exceeded the mandatory standards. Also, laboratory examination did not confirm the presence of any pests in all the products presented in the study.
SPAGHETTI FIRST FRESHNESS
The parameter that determines the freshness of flour is the acid number of fat. In fact, it demonstrates the threshold of freshness, when it is exceeded, pasta may begin to change, which will be reflected in their organoleptic characteristics – taste, smell and color.
As with the peroxide value, which determines the freshness of sunflower oil, the acid value inevitably increases with the shelf life of the product. GOST sets the acidity requirement at 4 points. As laboratory tests showed, all the presented samples can be called fresh: the acid number in the goods turned out to be quite low.
The parameter that directly affects the period and storage conditions of pasta is determined by the moisture content of the product. Like any other product made from flour, spaghetti must be “moisture balanced”. In the event that the sample is too dry, the pasta will break even before it reaches the customer’s kitchen, and if it is wet, the risk of microflora and mold development will increase sharply. The moisture requirements for pasta, laid down in GOST, are 13%. All products presented in the study met the requirements of standards for humidity.
Photo: Adobe Stock