What Are Potato Flakes? How Are Potato Flakes Made?

Potato flakes are products obtained by dehydration and drying, resulting in flaky or fine powdery substances. They are collectively referred to as potato whole powder. During the production process, the integrity of potato cells is preserved, retaining the natural flavor of potatoes.

What are potato flakes?

Potato flakes are a type of cooked and dehydrated potato food and material for the uses of direct use, food production, and other products. many people call potato flakes potato powder, but there are different types of potato powder.

Generally, there are three types of mashed potato powder: potato granules, potato flakes, and fine potato powder. mostly, the potato powder we use to make mashed potatoes is potato granules and potato flakes.

Potato Granules:

  • Produced using hot air drying technology.
  • Exists in the form of potato cell monomer granules or aggregates of several cells.
  • Abbreviated as granule whole powder.

Potato flakes Powder:

  • Produced using drum drying technology.
  • Irregular flakes range from 0.1 to 0.25 mm thick and 3 to 10 mm in diameter.

Potato Fine Powder:

  • Powdery whole powder is obtained by crushing dehydrated potato products.
  • Abbreviated as fine powder.

Production Yield: Among the three types of whole powder, potato flakes and granules have the highest production yields in actual production. potato flakes are the main product in China currently. Many European and American manufacturers produce more potato granules than potato flakes.

How are potato flakes made?

The process of potato flakes production is a little complex including Selecting raw materials, washing, peeling, selecting, slicing, rinsing, pre-cooking, cooling, steaming, mashing, dehydration, and drying. In the whole process, the most important steps are Raw Material Selection, Potato Peeling, Color Protection and drying.

Raw Material Selection:

  • Crucial Considerations: The choice of potato variety is crucial for processing potato flakes. Varieties should have high dry matter and low reducing sugar and harmful substance content, with minimal sprouting and a light color. They should also be free from significant diseases.

Potato Peeling:

  • Importance: Regardless of the processing method used, potatoes need to be peeled to achieve high-quality potato flakes. Potato peels contain toxic compounds like solanine and nitrates. Peeling reduces the content of these compounds, ensuring the safety of the potato flakes.
  • Common Methods:
    • Traditional mechanical peeling methods result in significant potato loss, ranging from 15% to 50%.
    • Steam peeling is the most efficient method, causing only 4% to 6% loss. It also has the highest efficiency, processing up to 3000 potatoes every 6 seconds.

Color Protection:

  • Critical Aspect: Color protection is critical for the appearance and quality of potato flakes.
  • Formation of Quinone Compounds: Processing steps like peeling and slicing can cause cell damage, leading to the formation of quinone compounds from polyphenol oxidase reacting with polyphenols. These quinone compounds can further react with amino acid groups in potato cells, resulting in browning.
  • Effective Methods:
    • The most effective method involves combining color protectants to control usage while ensuring effectiveness. For example, combining citric acid and D-sodium erythorbate enhances color protection. Combining vitamin C, phytic acid, citric acid, and L-cysteine effectively inhibits browning, achieving optimal color protection.

Drying the potato mash

Hot air drying and vacuum freeze drying are the two main ways of drying the potato mash.

Hot Air Drying:

  • Widely Used Method: Hot air drying is a widely used method for drying potato flakes.
  • Influence of Drying Temperature: The content of reducing sugars in potato flakes prepared using hot air drying is greatly influenced by the drying temperature. As the temperature increases, the content of reducing sugars initially increases and then decreases. The content of vitamin C decreases with increasing drying temperature.
  • Drawbacks: While hot air drying is simple and cost-effective, it damages the microstructure of potatoes, inhibiting moisture and oil penetration and reducing cohesion. It also results in decreased whiteness and various degrees of browning and oxidation in potato flakes.

Vacuum Freeze Drying:

  • Ideal Drying Method: Vacuum freeze drying is recognized as the ideal drying method for producing high-quality potato flakes.
  • Unique Advantages: Compared to other drying technologies, vacuum freeze drying has unique advantages. It preserves the original appearance and structure of potatoes without surface cracking or shrinkage, maximizing the retention of nutrients and flavor. Rehydrated potato flakes closely resemble fresh potatoes.
  • Nutrient Preservation: Vacuum freeze drying does not cause significant losses of starch, soluble sugars, or vitamins during potato flakes production. It also helps maintain the bright color of colored potato flakes and effectively reduces anthocyanin loss.
  • Comparative Analysis: Comparative analysis shows that compared to potato flakes produced using hot air drying, those made using vacuum freeze drying have significantly shorter dissolution times and increased hydrophilicity and lipophilicity.

How to make potato flakes at home?

Industrial-scale production of potato flakes requires specialized equipment and processes to ensure marketable quality. However, you can also make small quantities of potato flakes at home:

  1. Select fresh potatoes.
  2. Peel the potatoes.
  3. Steam or boil the potatoes until tender.
  4. Mash the cooked potatoes into a puree.
  5. Spread the potato puree thinly.
  6. Bake or microwave until dry.
  7. Collect and grind the dried potato puree to make potato flakes.

Note: The ratio of potatoes to potato flakes is typically 5:1, meaning 5 kilograms of potatoes yield approximately 1 kilogram of potato flakes.

How to make mashed potatoes with potato flakes?

Making mashed potatoes with potato flakes is simple. Mix potato flakes and water in a 1:5 ratio. Alternatively, use hot milk in the same ratio to make creamy mashed potatoes.

Do potato flakes go bad?

Potato flakes, being dehydrated potato products with only about 6% moisture content and subjected to high-temperature production processes, have a long shelf life. Typically, commercially produced potato flakes have a shelf life of about 1 year. Properly sealed and stored in a cool place, potato flakes can last for many years without spoiling.

What to do with potato flakes?

Potato flakes have various applications, including in frozen foods, puffed foods, bread, fish bait, fast food, and baby food. Some products produced include specialized powders for potato chips, puffed foods, and fish bait.

For home use, potato flakes are commonly used to make mashed potatoes and can be mixed with flour or breadcrumbs for baking.

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