News flash! fried food is delicious. If you have ever tasted something delicious, once it has been fried its deliciousness increases by a factor of 10. That’s a scientific fact, even though I made that science up its still science nonetheless. All cliches about fried food aside, adding a crispy, savory, crunch to any food is a plus. With fat being scientifically identified as the sixth taste (actual science not made up like above) and crispiness being associated with freshness. It is no wonder people love fried foods the world around. With all this being said there is one issue that can quickly turn you off to the enticing scent of fried crunchiness. Sinking your teeth into a crispy fried treat that smelled delicious with a GBD (golden brown and delicious) crust only to find out that it is completely soaked with grease. I’m not talking about the pleasant amount of fat that brings joy to 7 billion people each year. I’m talking about a lingering mouth coating oil slick, that not only ruins your treat but ruins your day. There must be something we can add that repels this fatty foe.
“How do I prevent oil absorption in fried foods?”
Decrease the Grease
It’s hard to believe that when you plunge something into a vat of oil that it will come out as anything other than greasy. The majority of the time if the temperature of the oil hot enough it will cook the crust so quickly that the oil won’t have time to intrude on the food. But this is not a cure all. There are many ingredients that just love oil and will absorb it quickly. Flour happens to be one of those ingredients. Flour also happens to be the backbone of just about any batter or breading. Even ingredients like cornstarch and other gluten free flours will absorb some oil. Thankfully there is an ingredient that will help repel oil.
Methylcellulose is an ingredient that gels as it is heated and melts as its cooled. What this means is that it creates a barrier that can help prevent the oil from penetrating into the food. This will work in any breading procedure. In standard breading procedure (flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs) a 2% solution of methylcellulose F50 can be used to replace the egg wash. This will work just like a traditional breading, but the oil will not make it past the methylcellulose barrier. If you are using a batter make sure to not add methylcellulose directly to the batter as the batter will hold on to its moisture and not maintain that signature crisp you are looking for. For batters use the same 2% methylcellulose F50 solution, then coat the food in flour before coating with batter. This way you maintain the crispiness of the batter without all the oil seepage. For brined foods like fried chicken you can add 2% methylcellulose F50 directly into the brine. Once brined go about the frying process as usual. On top of the oil repelling properties methylcellulose F50 also works with adhering the batter to the foods. What about foods that are fried but not a batter or breading? For instance foods like donuts, fritters, and other fried breads. These types of recipes require something with a little more stability. Methylcellulose E4M is much more viscous than F50 and will work harder to prevent oil from entering these types of foods. We found that with our donut recipe (which already had a high fat content) oil was soaking into the donuts even when they were fried at a temperature of 400F. Once we added methylcellulose E4M it reduced the oil absorption by about 70%. Both Methylcellulose F50 and E4M create semi firm gels when heated, this means that they will not add an odd texture to the recipes you are adding them to. Try adding them to any of your recipes in a ratio of 2% and see the difference for yourself.
Ready to get Cooking?
Give our Slam Dunk Donuts recipe a try! Psst… there’s a better way to donut! We’ve tested and tested until we came up with the perfect tender and light fried confection that will leave you sated but not weighted. Love mornings again by trying one of our glazes and pair it with a mug of hot strong coffee.