This instructable will introduce you to simple food science using a product called Maltodextrin. It's used commonly in the pharmaceutical industry to bulk out pills and the like but it also can be used for soaking up flavourful high oil content items, such as butter, oils and other fats, and turning it into a light, sprinkle-able powder.
The resulting powder can be sprinkled on things like chips(crisps), popcorn, etc.
Step 1: Ingredients/Equipment Needed
First you'll need to obtain your maltodextrin. I bought mine on eBay. You'll need a few spoonfuls of maltodextrin per teaspoon of flavourful oily substance.
Then you'll need to decide on what oil/fat you want to use. Bacon drippings are good. If you want to use butter, you'll need to clarify it by melting it over very low heat until it starts to bubble and foam. Then you skim off all the foam so you're left with a bright yellow fat with no white milk solids and reduced moisture content.
If you're making savoury powders, you'll need salt. Even with the sweeter powders a tiny bit of salt will help bring out the flavours better and compensate for the additional, but slight, sweetness of the maltodextrin.
For equipment, you just need a few bowls, a small whisk, a spoon, and a sieve.
You'll need a pan or a pot if you're going to melt the fat out of bacon or clarify butter.
Step 2: Start Mixing!
Add a small amount of your chosen fat/oil to the bowl. Somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon amount is enough to start with and you'll probably end up with about 0.5-1cup of powder in volume after you've sieved it. For bacon grease, I'd use it while still warm and liquid.
Using your spoon, sprinkle a small amount of maltodextrin onto the fat. Do not let the maltodextrin become contaminated. It does not handle moisture well at all. If you're the kind of person who will double-dip, measure out some before you start and put the rest of the maltodextrin away.
Whisk in the maltodextrin gradually. It works best if you're using a very high percentage of fat. I found if I just used melted butter, I ended up with some weird toffee-like substance which was incredibly sticky and not nice to eat.
Add in the maltodextrin like this in stages until you end up with a crumbly powder. It should be like breadcrumbs. If you add in too much, you'll end up with a less flavourful powder and if you don't add enough, it'll be too oily to fluff up well into a powder.
Step 3: Sieve Your Powder
Place your sieve over a clean bowl and sieve the powder through, using your whisk. You're somewhat grating the powder up at this point.
Step 4: Admire Your Creation and Taste-test It
Now you have a nice, light, fluffy substance. Taste it now using a clean, dry spoon or clean dry fingers to grab a pinch. Adjust your seasoning(s) if necessary - does it need more salt? Maybe you'd like to try to add in some spices. Get creative!
Step 5: Storage
Store in labelled zip baggies, trying to remove as much air as possible from it. Store in a cool, dry place.
Some flavours don't keep as well as others so you should probably plan to use most powders in a few days time. The bacon taste and smell dissipates surprisingly rapidly.
Step 6: Flavouring Suggestions
Here's some of the ones I've come up with so far.
* unsalted butter
* salted butter with lemon - using store-bought "lemon extract" which is a mix of lemon oil & sunflower oil
* cheddar cheese (heat until it splits and scoop out the cheese solids to leave cheese oil behind)
* nutella (more of an exercise in smashing the nutella into the maltodextrin than gradual mixing)
Please add your creations in comments! There's a lot of fun to be had out there in the world of food science.
Runner Up in the
Food Science Challenge