Pressure – Colour and Binding
Contrary to popular belief, pressing of the meat does not facilitate the binding or the effect of TG in any way. (Pearson, and Gillett, 1999) Pressing into moulds have a few important functions. In the first place, it ensures the meat, particularly large meat pieces, are forced into a regular shape which is the key behind improved slicing yields.
The second reason for pressing relates to surface area and meat contact. If there are cavities in the meat log, binding at those locations will obviously be compromised and the appearance of the meat slices, especially when bacon is sliced, will be undesirable.
Salt – Colour and Binding
Sun (2009) points out that “discoloration of restructured steaks can be caused by salt. A decrease in color desirability with increased salt levels has been observed by some researchers (Huffman & Cordray, 1979; Schwartz & Mandigo, 1976). The raw color could be improved by sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), which helps to compensate for the effect of salt (Schwartz & Mandigo, 1976). As a matter of interest, Huffman, Ly, and Cordray (1981b) as cited by Sun, “showed that addition of salt at all levels increased thiobarbituric acid (TBA) values and decreased color levels.” No such effect has however been noticed with heat treated, smoked and cured meat.
Salt and phosphates during the mixing/ tumbling step are essential in that it aids the extraction of myofibrillar proteins which in turn aids in the overall binding. (Pearson and Gillett, 1999)
The interaction of salt and TG is a key consideration. Sun reports that “in cooked restructured meat products, gel firmness and water-holding capacity (WHC) have been reported to increase by the addition of TG in high-salt (2%) products but not in low-salt products (Pietrasik & Li-Chan, 2002b). TG was able to improve consistency (firmness) but not cooking loss of the product in a low salt (1%) system (Dimitrakopoulou, Ambrosiadis, Zetou, & Bloukas, 2005).” (Sun, 2009)
“Kuraishi et al. (1997) investigated the effect of salt on binding strength and indicated that provided there was addition of salt (NaCl), TG treatment caused effective binding of meat pieces. Their result showed that an increase in binding strength caused by adding salt (1.0–3.0%) with TG when compared to TG alone.” (Sun, 2009)
Phosphate – Binding
Phosphate generally enhances the effect of salt. Sun (2009) reports that “a variety of phosphates in different combinations, concentrations, and with concomitant salt concentrations were evaluated by Trout and Schmidt (1984). They found that tetrasodium pyrophosphate had the greatest binding effectiveness, which was followed by sodium tetrapolyphosphate, and then sodium hexametaphosphate.
They concluded that most of the changes in binding could be explained by the ionic concentration of the phosphates. STP also delays development of rancidity and is added at a level of about 0.25% for adequate protein extraction and flavor development (Pearson & Gillett, 1996). Nielsen, Peterson, and Møller (1995) observed optimum effects of STP on the texture at a concentration of 0.2%. (Sun, 2009)
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