Cheetos are one of the most popular snacks in the world. They have been around since 1948 and are known for their crispy, crunchy texture and delicious cheesy flavor. But have you ever wondered how they are made? In this article, we will take a detailed look at the process of making Cheetos, from the ingredients used to the equipment used in their production.
The main ingredient in Cheetos is cornmeal, which is stored in silos at Frito-Lay’s factory in Frankfort, Indiana. The cornmeal is mixed with water to create a batter that is then fed through a tube to a machine called an extruder. The extruder is responsible for giving Cheetos their unique shape.
The Cheeto extruder is a top-secret piece of equipment that is not shown to the public. This machine is what makes Cheetos look the way they do. As the cornmeal batter passes through the extruder, it builds heat and pressure, causing it to pop into the collet shape. A colette is the technical term for an uncooked Cheeto. At this point, the Cheeto is a pale yellow color and has the consistency of a rice cake.
Frying the Cheetos
Once the colettes are formed, they are fed onto a conveyor belt and into a fryer. The fryer cooks the Cheetos at over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It is during this process that the Cheetos develop their signature crunch. According to Frito-Lay, the crunchy texture of Cheetos is not present until after the frying operation. This means that the Cheetos that come out of the extruder do not have the crunchy texture that we all know and love.
Adding the Cheese
One of the most important ingredients in Cheetos is the cheese. Frito-Lay uses about 12 million pounds of aged cheddar cheese every year to make Cheetos. The cheese is mixed with oil and other seasonings before being applied to the Cheetos. This is what gives Cheetos their bright orange color and delicious cheesy flavor.
Bagging the Cheetos
Once the Cheetos have been fried and coated in cheese, they are ready to be bagged. The bags themselves are wound on a spool and fed through a filling machine. Each bag is sealed at the bottom, filled from the top, and then sealed shut. The bags are then dropped into weight check machines that ensure each bag contains the perfect amount of Cheetos.
Did you know that Frito-Lay makes about four million bags of Cheetos every day? That’s over a billion bags of Cheetos every year! Additionally, Cheetos are made at a rate of 40,000 pounds per hour. That’s enough to keep Chester Cheetah crunching all day long.
Chester Cheetah, the iconic mascot of Cheetos, was actually created by the same artist who came up with the Pink Panther. And while the cheesy residue that gets on your fingers after eating Cheetos may be a nuisance to some, many people actually enjoy licking the cheese powder off their fingers.
In conclusion, Cheetos are a delicious snack that have been enjoyed by people all over the world for over 70 years. While the process of making Cheetos may seem simple, it is actually a complex and fascinating process that involves specialized equipment and high-quality ingredients. Now that you know how Cheetos are made, you can enjoy them even more!