Air frying is being projected as an alternative to deep fat frying for producing snacks such as French fries. In air frying, the raw potato sections are essentially heated in hot air containing fine oil droplets, which dehydrates the potato and attempts to impart the characteristics of traditionally produced French fries, but with a substantially lower level of fat absorbed in the product. The aim of this research is to compare: (1) the process dynamics of air frying with conventional deep fat frying under otherwise similar operating conditions, and (2) the products formed by the 2 processes in terms of color, texture, microstructure, calorimetric properties, and sensory characteristics. Although, air frying produced products with a substantially lower fat content but with similar moisture contents and color characteristics, it required much longer processing times, typically 21 min in relation to 9 min in the case of deep fat frying. The slower evolution of temperature also resulted in lower rates of moisture loss and color development reactions. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies revealed that the extent of starch gelatinization was also lower in the case of air fried product. In addition, the 2 types of frying also resulted in products having significantly different texture and sensory characteristics.
Keywords: French fries; air frying; deep fat frying; oil uptake; sensory evaluation.
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