Benecel™ methylcellulose and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose

Chemistry: Cellulosics

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Benecel™ MC and HPMC perform many functions in processed foods, depending on type, grade, use level and conditions. Among these functions are thermal gelation, film formation, thickening, binding and water retention. The polymeric structure of these products, which is different from other cellulosics, improves cohesion, texture and mouthfeel. Small amounts of Benecel MC and HPMC significantly enhance emulsion stability as well. This is particularly useful in stabilizing whipped toppings and desserts.

These products offer food formulators a unique functional property – reversible thermal gelation, or the ability to gel with water upon heating, then return to the original viscosity upon cooling. Depending on the substitution, and formulation parameters, gelation occurs at 50-80 °C (120-180 °F), forming an oil-insoluble gel or film.

In deep-fat frying, Benecel MC or HPMC can form a barrier that will hold out oil while retaining moisture. The result is a fried food that’s moist yet lower in fat. Extruded fried products also maintain their shape. In fillings, thermal gelation of Benecel MC and HPMC inhibits moisture migration into pie crusts and prevents boil-out while heating fruit bars and pocket-dough products. This property also improves cling in sauces and batters.

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