Fat & Oils Used for Bakery Products – Saturated or Unsaturated

What is fat?  What are Fatty Acids? Why we use Fat in Cookies or Biscuits?

Fats are a group of chemical compounds that contain fatty acids. Energy is stored in the body mostly in the form of fat. Fat is also needed in the diet to supply essential fatty acids that are substances essential for growth but not produced by the body itself.

The terms fat and fatty acids are frequently used interchangeably. Fat is a natural oily substance which is occurring in animal bodies under the layer of skin.

What is Vegetable fat?

They are extracted from plant as triglycerides. They are solid at room temperature therefore known as vegetable oils.

What are fatty acids?

A fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long aliphatic chain, which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have an unbranched chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28.

There are three main types of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. All fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon atoms.

Saturated Fatty Acids

A saturated fatty acid has the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms attached to every carbon atom. It is therefore said to be “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, and all of the carbons are attached to each other with single bonds.

Unsaturated fatty acids

In some fatty acids, a pair of hydrogen atoms in the middle of a chain is missing, creating a gap that leaves two carbon atoms connected by a double bond rather than a single bond.

Because the chain has fewer hydrogen atoms, it is said to be “unsaturated.” A fatty acid with one double bond is called “monounsaturated” because it has one gap. Fatty acids having more than one gap are called “polyunsaturated.”

Saturated Fat
(i.e., saturated fatty acid)
Unsaturated Fat
(i.e., unsaturated fatty acid)
H H
| |
-C C-
| |
H H
H H
| |
-C = C-
Carbon-Carbon
Single Bond
Carbon-Carbon
Double Bond

Why we use fats in cookies and biscuits?

Cookies cannot be baked without fat. It is one of the major ingredient in Cookies formation. Fat improves the eating quality of biscuits.

It provides Tenderness, Aeration, better mixing, lubrication prevent sticking, shelf life improvement. Nearly all baked products contain lipids (mainly fats, often in significant quantities (10-50%).

Role of Fats and oils in Biscuit manufacturing

  • Imparting shortening, richness, and tenderness to improve flavor and eating characteristics;
  • Enhancing aeration for leavening and volume;
  • Promoting desirable grain and texture qualities;
  • Providing lubrication to prevent the wheat gluten particles from adhering together to retard staling;
  • Affecting moisture retention for shelf life improvement;

Texture and tenderness of the finished goods are all closely related to the amount of fat/ oil used in the dough, the methods employed in incorporating it and also the inherent characteristics of the fat/oil. It makes the biscuit crispy.

 It contributes to the flavour development in the product. The function of a fat/oil is dependent upon its physio-chemical properties, i.e. its rate of solidification, melting properties and stability.

Tetra Butyl-Hydroxy quinone: Highly effective antioxidant and act as preservative for unsaturated vegetable oil. It also acts as stabilizer to inhibit auto-polymerization of organic peroxides.

Conclusion:  Fat is major ingredient in cookies manufacturing. It is of two type saturated fatty acid and unsaturated fatty.

It simplifies the procedure of baking and enhance the eating quality provides a mouth feel Tenderness, Aeration, better mixing, lubrication prevent sticking, shelf life improvement.

Saturated fatty acid is used in food processing in bakery industry, but a few industry also uses unsaturated fatty acid which is harmful for human health on regular consumption.

Rancidity of fat is a major problem everyone facing in cookies processing which ultimately reduces the shelf life of Biscuits and cookies therefore an anti-oxidant is added in fat which prevents rancidity of fat by acting as stabilizer to inhibit auto-polymerization of organic peroxides.

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