Methylcellulose as a coating
Ingredients such as methylcellulose
are being investigated for use in
fried products as an edible coating.
Methylcellulose is an odorless and
tasteless food grade gum, which has
very good film-forming qualities and
is resistant to fat and oil transmission
as well as oxygen transmission. These
properties help to reduce the final oil
uptake of fried foods.
Current research at Texas Tech
University and Texas A&M University
are exploring methylcellulose uses
in other fried food items such as
chicken nuggets. The objective of
this research was to evaluate the
effect of methylcellulose added in
the pre-dust on the yield and texture
of the chicken nuggets.
Increased pickup of pre-dust,
batter and breading
The results from this study indicate
that methylcellulose added in the
pre-dust was effective at increasing
the percentage of pre-dust, batter and
breading pick up by 4% to 5%.
Methylcellulose coated nuggets
also had a lower moisture loss and
lower fat uptake in both the core
(meat only) and crust (batter and
breading only) samples.
There is always a net
loss in yield during par-
frying, mainly during
the moisture flash off
from the crust.
During the cooking or frying
process, methylcellulose coagulates
and forms a protective layer or barrier
between the batter and breading
and the meat. This coagulation effect
binds the meat and the batter during
frying and can explain the higher
percentage of moisture retained in
the interior meat sample.
Additionally, methylcellulose has
the ability to bind up to 40 times
its weight in water. Therefore, this
methylcellulose layer helps prevent
moisture loss from the meat and helps
to prevent excess uptake of the oil.
These are very positive results
indicating that methylcellulose, when
added to the pre-dust, can improve
yield, decrease moisture loss and
decrease fat uptake.
In addition to the yield studies,
texture analyses were also conducted
to determine if differences existed
with consumer acceptability. Creep
compliance is a very sensitive test
that determines textural properties
of food in their natural cooking
process. It measures texture under a
slow progressive deformation of the
product under stress (cooking).
In addition, both control and
methylcellulose samples were highly
acceptable to consumers in a taste
panel. Consumers did not detect any
significant difference between the
taste of control and methylcellulose
coated nuggets. □
❯ C.Z. Alvarado, Texas A&M
University and P. Takhar and L.D.
Thompson, Texas Tech University