The most important characteristic of fat used for frying is its ability to withstand the high temperature used, without excessive chemical change. Frying is usually carried out at a temperature of about 180°C. At this temperature, the more unsaturated oils tend to oxidize and either breakdown or polymerize quite rapidly. Oils containing significant levels of linoelic acid are not recommended for frying, unless they have been hydrogenated to reduce the content of these labile components.
It is used domestically, in restaurants, fast food outlets and in large scale preparation of fried potato products and other snack foods in large scale food. The manufacturing process of potato chips involves deep frying followed by rapid cooking and blast freezing. Quick crystallization of the fat used is important and for this reason, a slightly hydrogenated palm oil of melting point 40-42C is preferred.
Palm Oil in Margarine Manufacturing
Palm oil and palm kernel oil are highly suitable components of margarines of the various types because of its higher solids contents. The following advantages can be listed for palm oil:
1. It provides the required solid fat content with little or no hydrogenation.
2. It ensures the stable beta prime crystalline form necessary for a fine structure.
3. It is readily available worldwide at very competitive prices.
Palm kernel oil contains short and medium chain length glycerides similar to those present in butter fat, and therefore helps to give the right mouthfeel and melting characteristics. This effect is particularly marked when it is used in combination with palm oil, because a lower melting eutectic is formed.
Palm Oil in Bakery
Palm oil is used as a minor ingredient in bread manufacturing and in bakery. The addition of about 2% to the dough during mixing keeps the loaf soft. Bread made with shortening that consists of palm oil has a better texture and longer shelf life. Shortening made from palm oil is also preferred over lard, since it is more bland and will not interfere with the taste of the product. Palm oil is used in the manufacture of instant cake mixed because of its vegetable origin and high stability.
The functionality of shortenings to be used in cakes, fillings, biscuits and pastry is dependent on several factors, such as smooth consistency to facilitate mixing; A fine crystal structure in the solid fat phase. This contributes to smoothness, and is essential in cake making and creaming applications. The small fat crystals enable minute air bubbles to be trapped and retained in the cake batter. These air bubbles then act as nuclei for the finished aerated cake structure. As the batter is cooked, steam is evolved, diffuses into the existing air cells, and enlarges them.
Palm Oil in Dairy Products
Palm products are used for creams and confectionary products manufacturing because of its high solid fat content and melting point. Palm oil is often used to replace milk fat in dairy products. These products usually have better keeping properties than those containing butterfat, and that is a obtained with palm oil. Palm oil is also used in coffee whiteners or coffee creamers which provides white powder for coffee viscosity. Palm oil and palm kernel oil are also used for stable foam manufacturing for ice cream due to its solid fat content (palm oil) and its melting characteristic (palm kernel oil). One more palm oil application — prevent peanut butter separation during storage. Palm stearin of high melting point is widely used at level of 2% of this purposes.
Palm Oil in Soap Industry
A combination between palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil is used for soaps manufacturing. The typical mixture is 80% of palm oil and 20 % palm kernel or coconut oil. This proportion provides cleaning, solubility and foaming properties required. The main advantages of soaps made from palm oils are : it provides white high-quality soap and it has heavy consistence.
Palm oil and its products are widely used for confectionary fats production, such as cocoa butter equivalent fats (CBE), cocoa butter replacers (CBR) and cocoa butter substitute (CBS). These fats are specially made for chocolates, coatings, fillings and other confectionary products manufacturing. Products based on the above mentioned fats have smooth texture, excellent butter mouth feel, unique flavour and better keeping properties.
Besides above mentioned, palm oil helps to keep hair and skin healthy, provides body with different vitamins, which is essential to good health. And like other vegetable oils, it is cholesterol free. Like other common edible fats and oils, palm oil is easily digested, absorbed and utilized for the support of healthy growth and plays a critical role in providing nutrition worldwide. Results from human studies show that a palm oil-enriched diet does not raise blood cholesterol and even leads to lower plasma cholesterol in some studies.