Hydrogenation is an invaluable tool for improving the stability, durability and flavor profiles of oils. Your prepared foods just wouldn’t be the same without it.
The vital role of hydrogenation.
Hydrogenation is an essential step in producing a variety of cooking oils. It is a controlled batch process in which oil chemically reacts with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst to transform it from a liquid to a semi-solid or solid. That’s the technical explanation. The practical result is a more stable, durable and versatile cooking medium with a longer shelf and fry life.
Extending fry life.
While hydrogenation increases saturated fatty acid content along with the solid fat index, it also raises the melting point to produce a much longer fry life. It achieves this in two ways. First, the oxidative stability of oil improves, so it doesn’t break down as easily through oxidation during high-heat cooking. This also allows you to store it much longer without decomposition or rancidity. Second, the iodine value decreases, which is a measure of double bonds in the oil. The fewer the bonds, the more stable the oil, and the longer it fries.
Creating food appeal.
Hydrogenation changes the properties of the fat in oil, which in turn influences the look, taste and appeal of the finished product. Factors such as the amount of solid fat, its hardness and its flavor all contribute to the quality of the cuisine. To a great degree, fried foods are only as good as the oil they’re cooked in.
The amount of solid fat can greatly influence both the visual appeal and eating quality of the food, and not everyone wants the same characteristics. Potato chip manufacturers, for instance, believe the appearance of a dry surface is important, while makers of some breaded or battered foods would argue that a shiny look is more desirable. The degree of fat hardness created by hydrogenation can also affect the mouth feel and overall enjoyment of the fried food. If the level of solid fat is too high, the food can leave an undesirable fatty cling in the pallet.
In other applications, such as donut manufacture, the solid fat content can be critical. If it’s too hard at the temperature at which sugar is applied, the sugar will not adhere; too soft and the oil will penetrate the sugar layers, making a poor appearance.
Hydrogenation just tastes good.
Another factor to consider is the flavor imparted to the food by the frying oil. Although most refined oils are referred too as bland, certain oils can give characteristic flavor notes. XTREME® offers a high smoke point for longer fry life without flavor transfer from food to food. It also has the advantages of being low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, and packaged in an easy-pour bottle that keeps the kitchen clean and safe.
For you, convenience, ease of pouring, storing and fry-life are very important. To your customers, however, food quality, taste, and nutritional characteristics are key. The use of hydrogenation is essential to both. Ask your Jensen Foods sales representative about the complete line of hydrogenated oil products for longer fry life and optimum flavor. Check out our Aspen Gold XTREME® products by clicking here.