Like many in the world of foodservice, you may assume that cooking oil performance is at its peak when you first start using it — but did you know there is actually a “sweet spot” closer to the middle of oil life?
It’s during this time that food taste is at its best. While customers may not know oil is to blame, they do notice when food tastes undercooked or burnt — despite consistent cooking temperatures and timing.
The good news for operators is that, with the right tools and processes, it’s relatively easy to extend this sweet spot, resulting in prolonged oil life that delivers consistently better food quality while significantly lowering oil costs.
Understanding the enemies of oil
The sweet spot itself is somewhat a moving target. Rather than being defined as a specific number of hours or days, it all depends on how well you counteract some of the most common enemies of oil life and performance.
There are five main enemies that endanger oil life on a regular basis: Heat, Air, Moisture, Salt, and Soap (easy to remember with the acronym HAMSS). Check out this blog to learn all about the five enemies of oil and how to avoid them.
Maintaining Oil Quality
Now that we’ve identified the main culprits behind oil breakdown, it’s time to focus on the best way to prolong oil life — namely, maintaining proper oil quality.
Tip #1: Frequent Filtration
It’s hard to overstate the importance of frequent filtration — and not just to remove large, visible chunks of food debris. Even down at the microscopic level, leftover food particles can react with oil and break it down. How often should you be filtering? It’s different for everyone. With the Filter Frequency Interactive Worksheet, you can calculate the ideal filtration frequency for your operation in minutes.
Tip #2: Oil Top-Off
Oil top-off is also critical, ensuring your fryer is operating at the proper oil level while infusing fresh oil into the cooking mix. This continuous mixing also allows the oil to be “broken in” much faster than with complete refills, further extending the coveted sweet spot. With Oil Guardian™ automatic oil top-off, our Evolution Elite open fryer helps high-volume operators maintain the right balance and get the most out of their oil.
Tip #3: A Well-Trained Staff
Even with a lineup of powerful, innovative features at your disposal, it’s important to make sure your kitchen staff understands the proper procedures for monitoring and controlling oil performance. A knowledgeable team is one of the best ways to ensure your cooking oil is properly used and maintained. And with the Evolution Elite’s iControl™ oil management system, it’s easy for operators to track proper filtrations and help keep staff on top of necessary actions.
Knowing When You’ve Hit the Oil Sweet Spot
You’re likely wondering how to know if you’re cooking in the sweet spot and if you’re successful in extending it.
From sight/smell observations to test strips and more scientific methods, there are various options for measuring oil quality, each with its own set of pros and cons due to reliability, consistency and the ability to operationalize.
Your choice of measurement will guide you in the oil quality results to look for, but what’s most important in hitting and prolonging the sweet spot is properly maintaining your oil through frequent filtration and consistent oil top off. At the end of the day, if you take care of your oil, you are virtually guaranteed to produce better-tasting food as well as save money.