What is the benefit of using ascorbic acid with bread baking?

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When it comes to baking, especially on an industrial scale, there are a lot of tips and tricks that you can use to boost your culinary skills and create quality dishes. Ascorbic Acid, or AA as it is sometimes referred to, is one of the many ingredients that can completely transform your baking and it makes for some fantastic bread.

Bread-making is a complex craft and, while there are hundreds if not thousands of ways to bake bread in a bread machine, I strongly believe that Ascorbic Acid could transform every single one of them. AA is used by chefs to improve the quality of the flower and dough.

This results in stronger gluten; a greater volume of dough, due to the gluten being softer at the beginning, allowing it to rise faster; smaller crusts; and more consistent bubbles/ crumbs. These attributes give the dough a “fresher” effect, which often makes items made with AA more appealing to consumers.

So, is it all good?

While the above points are indeed all positive, the use of Ascorbic Acid is not so clear-cut. By definition, it is an artificial additive, meaning any bread made with it cannot be called real bread because, well, it’s not.

That hasn’t stopped people from using it, however, and ever since 1936 when it was first patented, it’s been a common ingredient in bread. It’s perfectly safe in low quantities, like those used in baking, removing any doubt as to how safe it is.

The only time it can become an issue is when it’s taken in large quantities – multiple grams a day for a while. When this happens, you can get some nasty side effects, such as Nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, warm/ red skin, and fainting.

In order to avoid these side-effects, you need to watch how much you eat and only ever eat it after it’s been mixed in with bread. Eating the highly concentrated extract when it’s pure can be incredibly harmful and cause the side-effects listed above.

How will I know if it’s in my bread?

If you see The Real Bread Loaf Mark on the packaging, this means that the manufacturer has signed a document stating they won’t use any artificial ingredients at all, meaning there’s no chance of it containing AA.

While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!

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