Products covered by a layer of breading or bread crumbs are extremely popular worldwide. The range of possible breaded products is all but unlimited. The art of breading is even applied to confectionery goods – the latest trend in the U.S. is “deep-fried bars” – deep-fried chocolate bars covered with breading. But thanks to its outstanding swelling properties, breading can serve not only as a crunchy coating, but is also excellently suited as a filler and binder, for example for making filled pasta such as tortellini.
High quality requirements
In order to offer consumers a visually appealing product, bread crumbs must satisfy stringent requirements in terms of their quality features. Beside their organoleptic characteristics such as shape, color, and texture, other parameters such as bulk density and product moisture also have a crucial influence on the usability of breading, depending on the specific requirements of the end product involved. In the preparation of a breading-coated product in the pan or deep fryer, the browning rate and oil absorption rate are important criteria. For deep-frozen products, a low water absorption rate of the panada is equally important, since the bread crumbs are not supposed to become soaked and soft during preparation, but should remain crisp.
If breading is used in fillings, as a binder, or for increasing the viscosity of a food, its swelling and water absorption capacities are especially important.
Alternative process technology
The production of bread crumbs by the traditional method is a well-known process: A specific type of bread is baked, dried, and then ground and screened.
The increase in demand for breadings is also steadily boosting demand for new, more flexible, time-saving, and continuous processes. Extrusion technology is a suitable alternative to the conventional production method. As a leading provider of extrusion technology, Buhler offers an ideal solution. What especially distinguishes this continuous process from the traditional production method are the energy savings of 30 to 50 percent and the reduction of the process times by 80 to 90 percent. In addition, the extruder takes up 30 to 50 percent less space than a conventional breading production system. Following mixing, the ingredients are kneaded into a dough by the extruder’s two co-rotating screws. The input of mechanical and thermal energy and the temperature and pressure conditions inside the extruder modify the starch particles in the dough. Finally, the product undergoes expansion when it is discharged from the die. Unlike the traditional production process, this means that extrusion combines kneading and baking in a single process operation, with the dough fermentation phase (floor time) being completely -eliminated. The extruded product is dried in the same way as in conventional bread crumb pro¬duction to the required final moisture content and then ground and screened.
Made of a wide variety of raw materials
Extrusion technology enables breadings to be made on the basis of a wide variety of raw materials. Whereas the traditional production method requires high-protein flours for creating the gluten framework, any starch containing products can basically be used in the extrusion process. Dough rise is achieved on the one hand through expansion at the die, and on the other hand by adding chemical or physical dough raising agents. Fluctuations in the raw materials quality are easier to smoothen out in the extru¬sion process. In the quest for an energy efficient process, extrusion will also be found to be an ideal solution, for the low water content of the product formulation reduces the time and energy requirements during drying.
By Christopher Rubin
Head of Product Marketing at Buhler in Switzerland
(FOODREVIEW INDONESIA Edisi Juli 2011)