To understand how oil breaks down, it is important to understand the frying process. In essence, frying is a way to decrease the natural moisture in uncooked food. Oil in the fryer conducts heat, which in turn causes the moisture in the food to steam. The steam then escapes into the oil, drying and cooking the food.
The key to frying is making sure the oil in the fryer and the water in the food don't mix. It is as if the outside of the food provides an invisible barrier separating the oil from the food. The stronger the barrier, the cleaner tasting the food.
But as oils breaks down, it, in fact, does start to mix with the water, because surfactants inevitably develop. Surfactants are materials that affect the surface relationship between the oil and the product causing a variety of problems: greasy food, burnt crusts, undercooking and taste transfer.
In essence, maintaining your oil is controlling the level of surfactants in it. The following items identify some of the primary causes of surfactants. And highlights many of the simple steps you can take to maintain peak shortening performance.
Inevitably, your oil will break down. Regularly filtering our oil will substantially extend its life. In fact, oil should be filtered daily, even more frequently if your volume merits.
Filtering your oil removes the crumbs and particles that naturally drop off your food when frying. These crumbs contribute to the formation of polymers and surfactants in our oil, increasing the likelihood of off-flavors and taste transfers between products. Forcing your oil through fine paper mesh during filtering separates the solids from the liquids and removes up to 90% of these contaminants.
It is just as important to remove chemical residue, as it is crumbs. To do so, it is useful to incorporate a filtering treatment. These treatments, ranging from diatomaceous earth to various commercial chemical compounds, remove chemical residues in your shortening.
Pitco's filtering systems are designed to give operators maximum flexibility and convenience. This way, you can choose the system that is most appropriate to your needs and volume. Whether you choose a Spacefighter, a built-in, or a portable unit, you will be able to filter quickly, easily and safely.
Whatever system you choose, how often you filter your oil really is a matter of taste. Your taste for savings because regularly filtering your oil reduces both your shortening costs and the cost per serving. And your taste for customer satisfaction. Because there is no doubt that foods fried in filtered oil will taste better.