Liquid oils and fats have their own unique storage requirements.

Beyond the function a fat plays in a formulation, commercial bakers have other aspects of baking to consider: storage and processing. 

“Each baker is working within their equipment constraints,” said Christina Eagan, applications and technical services lead, Bunge Loders Croklaan. “They’re looking for the right solution for their operation, and they don’t want a fat system that can’t be processed within their operations.”

The best performing fat or oil does a baker no good if it cannot be stored properly in a facility or is not easy to process.

“Ease of processing and storage are critical to the success of a bakery operation,” said John Satumba, Ph.D., food ingredients and analytical chemistry director, Global Edible Oil Solutions R.&D., Cargill. “Failure to process results in inconsistent product, excess downtime, waste and increased production costs. For example, a bakery operation needs efficient systems for delivery and handling of the oil, mixing with other ingredients and dough handling.”

Liquid oils and solid fats each have their own storage requirements to maintain their integrity, and a commercial baker’s space and capabilities can have a major say in what fat system is ultimately chosen. Chris Bohm, customer innovation manager, AAK, said bakers need to consider the volume of fat being stored at any given time, the available storage space and environment. Does the bakery have dry storage, totes or larger tanks or silos available?

“If the fat system needs to be in liquid form, then it needs to remain liquid until the point of use,” he said. “If the fat system needs to be in solid form, like a votated cubed shortening, the fat can retain its structure until scaled for use.”

Environment goes a long way toward preserving the integrity of these ingredients. Fats and oils should be stored in dry and cool areas, devoid of any odor-causing substances. There should be minimal surface exposure to air and light. Something as simple as room temperature can impact fat’s functionality.

“The temperature of the bakeries makes a lot of difference in what the product will look like and taste like,” said Frank Filder, oils expert, Qualisoy. “At lower temperatures, icings might tend to be brittle, or at higher temperatures, they might be greasy.”

If a baker has bulk ingredient capabilities, it might be favorable to use liquid oils for a fat source. These ingredients can be stored in tanks and pumped directly into the mixer. With its SweetPro product line of emulsifiers for sweet goods, Corbion brought the same functionality of semi-solid fats to liquid oils. This enables bakers of products like cake, which traditionally needed plastic shortenings, to switch to liquid oils and experience the processing benefits.

“Any bread manufacturer today typically has all the oil pumped directly to the mixer,” Mr. Sieloff said. “Any cake manufacturer can pretty much do the same thing now.”

While functionality is often the most important consideration in choosing a fat system, storage and processing capabilities cannot be ignored. Doing so could jeopardize the functionality — the very thing a baker purchased the ingredient to perform.