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Recent Highlights

September 23, 2003

Cheeseburger and Fries, Wrapped Up in One

...the association enlisted a food scientist, Steve Moore, who is known in the business for his expertise in developing breaded coatings. In the past Mr. Moore worked on breading projects like onion rings, jalapeņo peppers, seafood and even French toast sticks.

"I started the project by putting a variety of flavors together with coatings," Mr. Moore said about the cheeseburger fries.

He likened the coating process to walking a tightrope, since the moisture of the meat and cheese must be carefully controlled for the breading to adhere. Otherwise, when the product is deep-fried, the heat of the oil will produce enough steam to blow off the breading.

"You always follow wet by dry," he said. So, before the meat and cheese could be battered and breaded, the shaped mixture had to be coated in a fine flourlike substance called predust to dry the surface of the moist mixture.

Picking the right cheese was also an issue. Mr. Moore tested everything from premium sharp cheddar cheese to processed American cheese.

"We didn't want it so cheesy that we overwhelmed the beef flavor," he said.

"When people bite into it, you want them to get the wow effect: `Wow, this tastes just like a cheeseburger,' " Mr. Moore said.

After testing different types of cheeses, Mr. Moore settled on a processed restricted-melt cheese, meaning that it is manufactured to withstand high temperatures.

"Some cheeses are so restricted melt that we bit in and it looked like little yellow pieces of plastic," he said.

He created three flavor profiles. The first tasted like plain beef with salt and pepper. Then he made a prototype mimicking the flavor of beef fried on a flat-top grill, as at McDonald's, and another that suggested a charbroiled flavor, like a Burger King hamburger.

Tasters like the charbroiled flavor, but said it did not make sense to have something like that also taste deep-fried.

"It's hard to please everyone," Mr. Moore said...

- Cheeseburger Fries

- Deli Chicken Products

- Grab-and-Go Deli Items

- "Good-for-You" Nutritionally Balanced Meat Entrees

- "Natural Products"