Everyone wants to live long, but not old age. This is especially true for snack makers looking for ways to get the most out of their soybean, palm, canola, sunflower and other cooking oils, the cost of which may have doubled or even tripled due to global weather, geopolitical and supply chain issues.
While large food manufacturers can rely on hedging to control commodity costs, small and medium-sized makers of donuts, chips and other popular treats often have to eat into profits, pass costs on to consumers or find other ways to fry elsewhere. day.
Cutting corners, however, may not be the best idea, as tempting as it may sound.
“One of the biggest mistakes is choosing inexpensive oils in an attempt to improve the bottom line,” said Don Giles, snack specialist, Heat and Control. “For the consistency of the product, maintaining the quality of the oil is a key element, a crucial component of which is the turnover rate of the cooking oil. As the oil is absorbed into the product, it is important that it is of high quality for taste, product appearance and shelf life.”
Alan Craker, international sales manager for Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group, emphasized focusing on basics such as daily filtration and cleaning the fryer if continuous filtration is not an option.
“If there are long interruptions in production, the fryer temperature should be lowered to extend the life of the oil,” he advised. “Fryers have more precise controls that help maintain a constant oil temperature.”
Another hot tip is to make sure the oil doesn’t heat above the recommended temperature, said Patricia Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of WP Bakery Group USA. For standard palm oil, for example, the temperature should not exceed 363°F (184°C), as this is when the oil is prone to cracking. However, the maximum heat is different from other oils.
“If you exceed the maximum oil temperature, you need to develop a process to keep the temperature below that temperature and ensure that your fryer’s heating system is gentle and accurate,” she said.
The solution for one type of fryer, as Ms. Kennedy recommends, involves passing the thermal oil through a heat exchanger, where the large surface area of the tubes eliminates hot spots while providing precise temperature control.
Snack manufacturers should also avoid operating fryers below 80% of rated capacity, which increases oil turnover time and results in lower oil quality, noted Dan Luna, Processing Solutions Specialist, TNA North America.
If a switchover or unexpected downtime interrupts the process and production stops for more than 30 minutes, he suggested draining the fryer and cooling the oil before pumping it into the tank.
“Circulating the oil for a long period of time while maintaining the frying temperature at a nominal level will inevitably lead to air entering the fryer lid as no steam is generated,” Mr Luna explained. “This could lead to a deterioration in the quality of the oil.”
Various filtering options are available from batch to continuous. Mr. Cracker noted that batch filtering is typically used for operations that run 8 to 16 hours a day and have interruptions in production. Continuous filtration, he added, is most practical in a 24-hour operation and can use a paper filtration system, a centrifuge or other means of cleaning the oil.
Ms. Kennedy noted that some processes, such as modern heat exchanger thermal systems, constantly pump and filter the frying oil before it is heated to the desired temperature.
According to Mr Giles, filtering the fine particles out of the oil will help maintain good oil quality.
“A properly designed deep fryer system with the proper oil rotation speed can eliminate the need to throw away the oil entirely,” he explained. “It saves money and time because the oil doesn’t have to be changed and the production line doesn’t have to be interrupted to change the oil.”
Mr. Giles added that the most effective oil cleaning systems include both full-flow filtration, which captures larger particles by filtering the volume of oil in the fryer once per minute, and partial oil filtration, which removes smaller particles at a rate of about five to six times per hour.
“This helps maintain the quality of the oil by preventing oil breakdown and small ‘peppers’ — or tiny particles — that leave black spots on the finished product,” he said.
Heat and Control recently introduced the NIA OilSaver filtration system, which is a partial flow filter that uses vacuum technology to remove fine particles down to 10 microns from oil.
Mr. Giles stated that this partial-flow filter can be used with a full-flow oil filtration system to preserve the quality of the cooking oil and extend its shelf life. In most cases, OilSaver can be added to existing systems.
Mr. Luna noted that new online filtration methods remove particles that remain after sliced foods, especially low-oil foods, during fryer operation. New stand-alone chemical filtration can also help snack manufacturers extend oil life with some stand-alone chemical oil treatments that completely eliminate oil waste.
“It’s important for snack manufacturers to evaluate their oil costs versus their processing costs to determine the best solution for them,” he said.
In addition to filtration, snack makers must monitor the oil turnover rate, which controls the amount of oil used in the frying process. This rate is calculated by determining the time required for oil usage to equal the total volume of oil in the fryer.
“The product itself plays the biggest role in determining oil consumption, so one type of fryer does not inherently use more oil than another type,” said James Padilla, General Fryers and Filters, Heat and Control. “However, different types of fryers have different total system oil volumes, which will result in different oil rotation speeds. Therefore, it is always important to choose a fryer with the smallest practical volume of system oil. The main thing is to operate the fryer at the given productivity to ensure optimization of oil consumption.”
In general, a faster oil rotation speed contributes to good oil quality and should always be looked at carefully.
“Choosing fryer systems with low oil volume and high-efficiency frying oil filtration is very important,” said Mr. Padilla. “A small oil volume helps the oil rotate faster, and good filtration keeps the oil cleaner, which helps maintain good oil quality. These two aspects should always be carefully studied.”
When it comes to increasingly expensive cooking oil, the secret to longevity lies in investing in technology that prevents it from aging and in following best practices that continue with the inevitable.
This article is excerpted from the August 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full Frying information, click here.