To fry with stability without using partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) requires formula adjustments and processing care. Baking & Snack talked to Michelle Pietz, technical sales representative, ADM Oils, Decatur, IL, about the increasing number of options now available to bakers and snack food manufacturers.

Baking & Snack: Which baked products and/or snacks been most successful in making the switch away from frying fats and liquid oils that contain trans fatty acids? Why?

Michelle Pietz: In general, the snack food industry has been successful in converting from partially hydrogenated oils to low-trans-fat oils that offer similar performance and flavor characteristics. Fried bakery applications, such as donuts, also have been able to convert to palm products and still maintain functionality. One of the biggest hurdles in making the transition to low-trans-fat oils has been matching flavor for brand identity

What must the formulator know about trans-free frying shortenings to ensure their successful use?

It is important to look at all parameters that could affect the end product and understand how changing the oil source will impact the final product. Considering the differences in stability from the trans-fat containing product to the low trans-fat options is important to the oil handling and finished product shelf life. Moving from a solid to a liquid could influence eating characteristics and product handling.

What changes are necessary for handling these fats in production plants? Compared with previous choices, will new trans-free fats require different in-plant storage conditions? Filtering frequency? Turnover rates? Temperature ranges?

There are changes that are necessary when switching from a trans-fat product to a low trans-fat alternative. However, some of these changes can actually benefit a facility. Since many of the conversions to low trans-fat products require a shift from solid shortening to liquid oils, energy can be taken out of the system that was required to melt the shortening or maintain a melted product in storage. It is important to confirm with your oil supplier the optimum storage temperature for the oil. Storing at a temperature that is too high can cause an increase in breakdown reactions and use unnecessary energy.

What does the future hold for continuing improvement in frying fats and liquid oils for bakery and snack use?

There are increasingly more options for high-stability oils for use in frying, spraying and shortening applications. These high stability oils from multiple seed sources, such as soy, canola and sunflower seeds, can be used as is, in blends, or with the addition of antioxidants to satisfy the needs of almost any end application.