What Is Ex­tru­sion Cook­ing?

Consumer Voice - - Extruded Snacks -

Ex­tru­sion tech­nol­ogy, well known in the plas­tics in­dus­try, has now be­come a widely used tech­nol­ogy in the food pro­cess­ing in­dus­try, where it is re­ferred to as ex­tru­sion cook­ing. It has been em­ployed for the pro­duc­tion of so-called en­gi­neered food. Ex­tru­sion cook­ing is a process by which a set of mixed in­gre­di­ents are forced through an open­ing in a per­fo­rated plate or die with a de­sign spe­cific to the food, and is then cut to a spec­i­fied size by blades. The ma­chine which forces the mix through the die is an ex­truder. The ex­truder con­sists of a large, ro­tat­ing screw tightly fit­ting within a sta­tion­ary bar­rel, at the end of which is the die. The prod­uct ex­its the ex­truder through a die where it usu­ally puffs and changes tex­ture from the re­lease of steam and nor­mal forces. The ex­tru­sion is a high-tem­per­a­ture, short-time process that min­imises losses in vi­ta­mins and amino acids. Colour, flavour and prod­uct shape and tex­ture are also af­fected by the ex­tru­sion process. One of the ad­van­tages of ex­tru­sion cook­ing is ver­sa­til­ity with re­gard to in­gre­di­ents se­lec­tion and the shapes and tex­tures of prod­ucts that can be pro­duced. Ex­tru­sion also has the fol­low­ing ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects: a) de­struc­tion of cer­tain nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring tox­ins, b) re­duc­tion of micro­organ­isms in the fi­nal prod­uct, c) im­prove­ment of pro­tein qual­ity and di­gestibil­ity, and d) re­duc­tion of mois­ture con­tent in the fi­nal prod­uct.

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