Making Tastier Cream Croquettes
The Ideal Cream Croquette Quality (Food Service Product)
The cream croquette, a popular menu item, is a small breaded fried roll with a bechamel sauce filling with a crunchy coat and a creamy center. Nissui has been producing cream croquettes since the 1960s, in the early days of the frozen food era, but in order to succeed, especially in the very competitive food service market, we knew that we had to come up with a stronger and more distinctive product. We began working to develop new manufacturing technology to vastly improve product quality.
Tastiness is an abstract sensation influenced by many factors: flavor, aroma, eating environment and even physical condition. Different people experience tastiness in different ways, so it is not easy to describe objectively or quantify.
Through a combination of sensory evaluation and statistical methods, we developed a new way of analyzing the elements that constitute tastiness. We tried to do this by quantifying findings to probe the quality of truly tasty cream croquettes (Figure 1). We discovered that the most important elements--melt-in-the-mouth feeling, tenderness, smoothness and so on--were related to the texture of the cream filling. To achieve the ideal quality, we needed not just to revamp our recipe but also to develop new technology to change our manufacturing process.
Tastiness and Consistent Production
Cream croquettes are difficult to manufacture and are prone to bursting when deep-fried (Figure 1). Our production plants worked for many years to perfect techniques to manufacture cream croquettes that don't burst. But the filling in croquettes produced with the usual technology had a hard, rough texture, so we worked with our plants to develop new production technology. The goal was to develop new technology ensuring consistent production and making a tasty croquette with the ideal texture.
Figure 1. Croquette Bursting during Frying (Schematic Figure)
We conducted a food science analysis of our usual production method, carefully examining each step of the process. The analysis helped us pinpoint several reasons why croquettes were bursting: above all, we learned that some air entering the cream filling during a step of the manufacturing process was causing the problem.
The production plant, working with our technology development department, devised new production technology to prevent air from entering the filling. We tested the technology on the production line and confirmed that we could obtain both ideal quality and ensure consistent production. Thanks to this research, we created high-quality, tasty cream croquettes for the market. (Figures 2, 3)
Figure 2. Food Service Use Cream Croquettes Employing the New Technology
Figure 3. Effect of the New Technology on Product Quality