Margarine: Water in fat emulsion

Margarine is a food product in plastic or liquid form. Margarine can be categorized according to demand by different consumers based on hardness and melting point.

Margarine is important in baking as it ensures that the end product is easy to eat, making it an important ingredient in pie crusts. This is because the margarine creates a barrier between the gluten molecules, stopping them from cross-linking when liquid is added.

A hard and medium plastic characteristic is for bakery margarine while medium plastic and soft is for table margarine.

Margarine is an emulsion of water in oil. The aqueous phase consists of water, salt and preservatives. The fatty phase, which contributes to the polymorphic behavior of margarine, is a blend of oils and fats. Lecithin, distilled monoacyl glycerol and diacylglycerol are common emulsifiers added together with flavoring, coloring agents and antioxidants.

The solid component is responsible for the solidity of the margarine and influences melting behaviour and spreadability.

The most important functional characteristics of margarines are spreadability, oil separation and melting temperature. Spreadability is one of the most highly regarded attributes of margarine, perhaps second only to flavor. Products with a solid fat index (SFI) of 10–20 at serving temperature were found to be optimal on a consumer panel.

A high-quality margarine melts quickly at body temperature with a cooling effect in the mouth. Flavor and salt components of the aqueous phase are immediately perceptible by the taste buds, and there is no lingering greasiness or waxiness.

Margarine is recognized by health professionals and consumers alike as a healthy table spread and a cheaper alternative to butter for use in cooking and in food preparation. Margarine makes an important nutritional contribution to the diet by being a source of one or more essential fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and/or D and by being low in saturated fat.
Margarine: Water in fat emulsion

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