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Changes in flavor based on when you add oil in a recipe

kmdremel's picture

Changes in flavor based on when you add oil in a recipe

I recently experimented, by accident, with changing when I add oil to a cracker recipe.  In my standard recipe, the oil is added after mixing the dry ingredients.  Other liquids are added after the oil is mixed in.  Recently, I added the other liquids first, and the oil last.  I created a more workable dough, but also caused a significant change in the flavor; in that the crackers were MUCH sweeter.  The experiment came about because I use a drier dough in my recipe, and with the change of seasons the dough is not holding together as well. 

Any thoughts on why the product would taste sweeter depending on when you add the oil?  Any thoughts on what the "proper" time is to add oil in a recipe?

clazar123's picture

A theory only. I believe you may be dealing with a paste dough vs a pastry dough. (My phraseology).

A paste dough dissolves the flour in water and then adds fat. The starches form more of a paste and break down and some of the starches break down into sugars.

A pastry dough adds oil/fat first and the flour particles are coated. This somewhat prevents the starches from coming in contact with water and dissolving.

The characteristics of a dough depend on when and what order fats and liquids are added. We have a spectrum that goes from pie crust to cookies to cake to crackers to bread. Crackers can actually be inseveral places on the spectrum depending on the presence of fats and when it is added. Is it a starch/flour like a hard water cracker or is it more of a layered,flakey butter cracker?

Salt will also affect how the starch is released. The creamiest oatmeal breakfast porridge is made by cooking without salt and adding it after. Alton Brown had a great show on explaining that.

Is there malt in your recipe?

semolina_man's picture

What is the recipe?  Sequence of mixing, and no other changes, does not change flavor in a meaningful way.  Did you make other changes?   Please post the recipe and method.