Instant soup is quite popular due to its ease of use and quick preparation. Products like cup noodles and vegetable soup mixes are some of the examples commonly used by consumers. The instant soup processing equipment is used to dehydrate or dry components of the soup mixture to prolong shelf life and preserve the taste of the vegetables and other components.
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What equipment do you need to make liquid and powder instant soup?
Instant soups are available in powder and liquid forms. To make powder forms, instant soup processing equipment includes dryers for spray drying or freeze-drying process, depending on the drying process chosen by the manufacturer. Vegetables or meat need to be dehydrated before grinding and blending them with other spices to create a powder mix.
Liquid soup forms require blending ingredients and heating them in a cooking vessel until a condensed product is obtained. Evaporators are used to reduce moisture and acquire a condensed product. The condensed product is cooled before pouring it into cans.
Drying vegetables and other ingredients using dehydration or freeze-drying process
Dehydrating food components can be done by air-drying, where hot and dry gas is applied to the food product, or through vacuum drying where heat is applied to the product under vacuum pressure conditions. Dehydrating methods can effectively dry the food, but it also loses much of its nutrients and taste after the process due to heat application. On the other hand, the freeze-drying process is expensive but allows the manufacturer to keep most of the food products’ taste and nutrients by drying the products at low temperatures.
After freezing the ingredients, producers apply heat while lowering the pressure to remove the excess moisture that looks like ice crystals. The ice crystals evaporate without going through a liquid phase, a step known as sublimation, which leaves us with dried instant soup components. Freeze drying also prolongs the products’ shelf life better than the dehydrating method since it is more effective in removing the water content of the products; this also means that the products are lighter in weight. Preparation time for freeze-dried products is also much shorter than the dehydrating method; it only takes a few minutes to rehydrate, while the dehydrating method requires about 20 minutes or more to fully rehydrate the products.
Enhancing the flavor of instant soup while making it last longer
Studies have been done to enhance the taste of the dried instant soup product and help prolong the shelf life. The patent EP19990917227 shows a novel process that has been developed by adding a sulphur-containing compound of about 0.0005 to 0.001% relative to the weight of the soup or sauce. This sulphur-containing compound is added at any stage during the production of the dried soup or sauce composition containing vegetables, mushrooms, and spices.
An example of such sulfur-containing compound is glutathione, which is used in the production of dried soy sauce to prevent a burnt taste from developing. The compound acts as a preservative while enhancing the flavor of the instant soup mix. It is also applicable for various instant soup components such as meat and vegetables.
Oodles of instant noodles
Instant noodle soups are composed of dried noodles with separate packs for seasonings and dried mixed vegetables. After mixing the ingredients to create a dough, the dough goes through a set of rollers to flatten it at the desired thickness before cutting it to form noodle strips. They are steamed at a high temperature before cutting them short to fit into shaped molds. Then, the remaining moisture is removed by frying them in oil. After frying, the noodles are cooled down before packing them together with the seasoning packs. As a dehydration method, blow-drying is also used as an alternative to frying where hot air is blown to the noodles at 80 degrees Celsius for 30 to 60 minutes.
The main ingredients for making instant noodles are salt, flour, starch, water and a type of alkaline mineral water called kansui. Kansui contributes to the gluten development and gelatinization of starch, both of which give the noodles the chewiness characteristic. Moreover, kansui provides the traditional yellow color to your noodles.