Batter is typically made using modified starches or high-amylose starches, which produced the crispiness required for tempura meat, fish and vegetables. However the trend towards clean label foods, without artificial additives, means modified starches are no longer welcome in many formulations.
While high-amylose starches also produce crispiness, they are relatively expensive, co-director Andrew Ulrick told FoodNavigator.com.
Ulrick & Short’s new solution, called Solartex, is produced using a centrifuge process. The carbohydrate fraction of wheat is made up of two starch granules, known as A granules and B granules. B granules are about a tenth of the size of A granules and two have quite different properties.
Using equipment“like a spin dryer”, Ulrick explained that the starch is spun to separate out the A from the B “as far as commercially possible”. He added that absolute separation may be possible in a laboratory, but not on a commercial scale.
Solartex is made up mainly of B starch particles, which have good retrogradation properties. When water and heat are added they swell up and absorb the water; on cooling, however, they shrink back more than the A particles.
“This is what gives the crispiness.”
The batter colour is said to be light golden, and it retains the expected light ‘melt in the mouth’ texture.
Although the company has so far only used the centrifuge technique to develop Solartex, there is potential to explore its use for other ingredients.
The UK-based company, which specialises in clean label ingredients, has been working with flours and starches for batters and coatings throughout its ten year history. Other ingredients for this category include Supadust for pre-coating and Adhere, a premium adhesion coating.