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Baking Release Agents: What They Are and Where They Are Used

Baking Release Agents: What They Are and Where They Are Used

Baking release agents play a crucial role in the baking process, which is why they are used in and at different stages. Release agents are applied in small amounts for baked goods, and are commonly applied in thin layers on products or the equipment. When creating high-quality baked goods, the amount of baking release agent you use isn’t as important as selecting the right release agents. There are different kinds of baking release agents, and each has its own unique properties, which helps it stand out.

During the baking process, proper application of the release agent is crucial, because it will impact the overall quality of the product. If you make a mistake and choose the wrong type of baking release agent, it can lead to product defects, which will reduce the value of the product in the marketplace. The raw materials that are used in modern baking release agents are driven by health-safety, allergen, and regulatory concerns, apart from technical performance.

The Application of Release Agents

There are thousands of different ways in which you can apply release agents. The release agents are needed to provide maximum effectiveness, while ensuring that the product manages to bake to perfection. Baking release agents are applied in a thin, uniformed, and full-coverage spread, which ensures that there is a slick release surface that allows the product to slide off without sticking. When applying release agent, there should be proper measurements, because overapplication will waste the baking release agent.

Most people tend to over apply release agents when trying to achieve the uniform coverage coating, but there are other problems that can occur due to that. There can be puddles created by the release agents, which will not allow the baked goods to bake evenly or completely. The puddles of the release agents can chemically break down, and can even cause gumming of pans. This will mean that you may need to adopt clean and sanitary measures as well.

This is the reason why most equipment manufacturers provide guidelines for proper equipment settings when using different kinds of baking release agents. The most common adjustments recommended for achieving uniform coverage with baking release agents are:

  1. Temperature adjustment to provide enhanced coverage from volume expansion by raising the temperature, and maintain the correct viscosity of the release agent.

  2. Adjusting the air pressure to ensure effective atomization with theleast airborne spray.

  3. Adjusting the nozzle to provide efficient coverage, and ensure that the release agent is applied evenly, and without any clogging.

A lot of people tend to get confused when it comes to figuring out the correct amount of baking release agents they should use. This generally depends on the type of baking release agent being used and you should always go with the recommended option. It is also advised that you use the minimum amount of release agent so that the product isn’t damaged and efficient results can be obtained.

The Composition of Baking Release Agents

There are three different compositions of baking release agents and we are going to cover all of them in detail. So, here are the different compositions of baking release agents:

Fluid Release Agents – Mineral Oil vs. Vegetable Oil

The most commonly used baking release agents are low-viscosity fluids, which are used to create a thin lubrication layer over the baking tool or equipment. The most obvious choice is oil based materials, and there are two main types of oils that are used for release agents:

  1. Mineral Oil

  2. Vegetable Oil

Mineral oils are purified and highly refined oils, which undergo a thorough petroleum refinement process. During the refinement process, the mineral oil streams, and the oils are separated based on their viscosity. They can then be used in their current form, or blended further to gain a finer viscosity. Mineral oils are also required to meet certain specifications stated in 21 CFR 172.878 to qualify as direct-contact release agents for bakery products.

The 21 CFR172.878is based on analytical tests, and U.S. Pharmacopoeia(USP), which measure the purity of white mineral oils for human ingestion and direct food contact. This regulation ensures that the release agent mineral oil used doesn’t weigh more than 0.15%. This can be achieved easily due to the weight of baked products, limited contact surface, thin layers of release agent, and less than 100% transfer of release agents on baked goods.

Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils are added as ingredients to baked goods, and come in the form of coconut, canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean. It is difficult to choose between mineral oils and vegetable oils as release agents.

Mineral oils are tasteless, colorless and odorless saturated hydrocarbons, which provide them with stability for staining and polymerization of baked products. However, mineral oils have smoke points, and are vulnerable to oven smoking.

On the other hand, most vegetable oils, especially soybean, come with unsaturated double bonds with triglyceride structures. This creates polymerization during heating, and that results in undesirable gumming on bread pans. Vegetable oils can also become rancid over time. This is the reason why most of the baking release agents developed today are based on a mixture of mineral and vegetable oils, with stabilizers like antioxidants, for added protection.

Solid Release Agents and Votation

When the baking process requires some stiffness, that is where you need the help of a release agent. Now, the baking release agent can be composed of hydrogenated vegetable oils or naturally saturated fats. The naturally saturated fats are found in coconut and palm, and can be separated from different oils as well. Solid release agents and votation are required in a manufacturing process that involves a refrigerated and scraped-surface heat exchanger.

The process is required because it helps liquid oils and solid fats to form in a crystalline structure. That is where a votated release agent is needed, since it helps separate the baked good from the surface at the precise melting temperature.

Types of Baking Release Agents and their Functions

To get a complete understanding of baking release agents, you must first identify the different types of release agents, along with their specific functions. Before we begin to dissect the types of baking release agents, we must look at the two classes of bake goods, which are your:

  1. Standard goods with low fat contents

  2. Sweet goods with high fat contents

Now, let’s check out the types of baking release agents and their functions:

Trough Grease

Standard baked goods are composed by mixing processing agents, flavorings, water, and flour. Yeast is used for the dough, and commercial bakeries allow dough to rise in vessels called trough, which is a deep channel with sloped walls. When transferring the dough to the trough, there are certain complications that may arise, which include inefficient dough transfer, loss of dough, and difficulty in cleaning the dough. This problem is solved with the help of a baking release agent, known as trough grease, which is applied to the trough, before the dough leaves the mixer.

The grease must be solid in nature due to the sloped walls of the trough, and that is why trough grease is applied at low melting pot. However, trough grease can also be sprayed and melted, so that it can be applied with a cloth or brush. To ensure a successful release, the sides and bottom of the trough must be coated completely. Trough grease comes in different forms, including mineral and vegetable oil.

Divider Oil

The dough is transferred from the trough to the dough divider, which is a device that comes with a blade that cuts through the dough, and ensures it remains the correct size. There is a thin coating of divider oil applied to the divider blade to help the blade release the dough. In the U.S. the divider oils are always food-grade, white mineral oils, but in other countries white mineral oils aren’t allowed to come in direct contact with food applications, and vegetable oils are used as divider oils over there.

This is mainly because vegetable oils are all natural and therefore don’t affect the viscosity of the dough, and performance of the machinery doesn’t suffer as well.

Bread Pan Oil

Once the dough has been divided, the dough balls will be placed into bread pans, which have been pre-heated and applied with a baking release agent known as the de-panning oil or bread pan oil. This release agent is helpful in allowing the smooth release of the baked product from the bread pan. The materials selected for bread pan oil are carefully chosen based on their properties, because the bread pan oil will be subjected to intense heat in the baking oven.

The different formulations of bread pan oil are carefully manufactured and highly developed after applying years of experience and research. There must be a balance maintained between the mineral oils and vegetable oils so that the bases can polymerize. This is done by varying the ratio of mineral and vegetable oil in the bread pan oil. To enhance stability bread pan oils come with antioxidant packages, which provide enhanced electrostatic spray behavior, and upgraded release properties, while lecithin can also be added to the bread pan oil.

Specialty Release Agent

Specialty baking processes also have their own release agents, and one process known as band oven baking, where dough is placed on a metal mesh band and put into the oven, and released from the oven fully or partially baked. To ensure success of such processes baking release agents with higher viscosities are required. The specialty release agents are placed in reservoirs and then eitherdipped onto the band or sprayed on top of it.

The specialty release agent has different raw materials being used, but most are like the bread pan oil release agent. The great thing about specialty release agents is that they can be used for other baking processes, especially those that involve extremely high temperature baking.

Pan Grease

Most sweet goods don’t require any release agents, because they contain so much oil and fat in their ingredients that the oil starts to bleed out of the product. However, sweet goods that don’t have enough oil bleeding out from it, will require a release agent known as pan grease. Now pan grease are votated, but provide a solid structure that doesn’t rely on any ingredients.

The pan grease is applied directly to the pan by spraying, and sometimes by increasing the temperature slightly so that the grease melts and gets into a liquid state. Most pan grease come with grain flours like wheat flours, and hardly anyone in the industry uses flour containing release agents. This is because they require extra equipment cleaning, are harder to spray, and harder to manufacture.


Baking release agents are vital processing aids necessary for optimal production of many baked goods. The good news is that these baking release agents will always in demand as long as bakery machine manufacturers eliminate sticking points, and pan glazers try to manufacture everlasting pan glazes. There are a lot of different baking release agents available and if you have some experience, you can create your own version of a release agent.

There are different formulations for baking release agents, and bakers should never be afraid to experiment or hesitate to contact a baking release agent supplier like Maverik Oils. If you are looking for high-quality baking release products for your baking processes, you came to the right place.

Maverik Oils offers an extensive range of baking release agents in various packaging’s from truckload, tote, drum, and pail. We guarantee the best price and the highest quality for our baking release agents, so come out the incredible range of products we have.

Baking release agents have a lot of benefits, and there are a lot of reasons to use it in your baking, so check out our release agent products at Maverik Oils today.

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