Solving the puzzle: hybrid cooking!

Solving the puzzle: hybrid cooking!

Cooking is the art and technology of preparing food for consumption with or without the use of heat. Preparing food with heat is an activity unique to humans. Cooking techniques are very varied, from grilling food over an open fire to using electric stoves.  New inventions and technologies expand the possibilities.

This multitude of cooking methods use different levels of heat and moisture and vary in cooking time. The method chosen can greatly affect the result, because depending on the food and the desired outcome some methods are more appropriate than others. The challenge is to find the right technique.

All methods have their own characteristics with advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes one technique does not tick all the boxes and a combination of techniques is needed to end up with the desired result. By combining cooking techniques In a well thought-out way it is possible to reduce the disadvantages of the chosen methods and maximize their advantages.

Infrabaker is using infrared technology as a method to cook, bake and color different kinds of food products.  It can be used by itself but lends itself perfectly as well to work in combination with other methods to form a hybrid cooking solution.

A possibility would be a combination of microwave and IR. Just consider some crispy bacon. A technology often used is microwave.  Its benefits are a very short production time and relatively good preservation of size.  The obvious downside is the lack of crispiness and a rather bleak color.  Combining this technique with a short exposure to short wave IR, transforms the microwave result into a very crispy piece of golden bacon in seconds.

When applying breading to frozen products, it is important to get a good stickiness on the product so the crumbs will not fall off during packaging or when frying in an oil fryer. To make the product sticky on the outside and keep the inside frozen you could use IR technology to achieve this. Just a short IR impulse is enough to make the product sticky and make it ready to be crumbed. After breading the product can be for example fried in a continuous line.

Also think about sous-vide cooking. This is a very healthy way of cooking food. By vacuum packing the product it's possible to almost keep all nutrients in the food and reduce weight loss. Disadvantage is, it is very difficult to get any color on the product. When combining with infrared, it is possible to sear and color the product first. Because of the nature of IR cooking, it makes the surface of the product heat up very quickly and starts coloring and searing almost immediately. Because of the limited exposure time to the heat source, the heat conduction inside the product is very limited which assures the nutrients stay inside the product and weight loss is down to a minimum. The seared product can be vacuum-packed and processed by sous-vide to get a more attractive looking product.

Another example are grilled products.  You are looking for an evenly cooked piece with the added appeal (and taste) of the grill.  Over or undercooking are a risk and uneven coloring needs to be avoided.  Combining an Infrabaker with a char marker for applying these grill marks will give you the result you are looking for.

These are of course just a few examples of where the combination of techniques reaches a better result than any of the techniques by itself. 

Looking to solve your processing puzzle? Check out our application examples and find your product.  No similar products found?  No problem, Infrabaker Int. offers you the possibility to test your product at our production facility in Overpelt.  Fill in the contact form and we’ll make sure we have a test unit available.