Preservatives such as the organic acids sorbic acid and calcium propionate inhibit mold growth, but only work within a limited pH range. They can adversely affect desired yeast viability.

A line of encapsulated preservation systems made specifically for bakery products from Balchem Encapsulates (New Hampton, N.Y.) prevents preservatives from interfering with yeast during the yeast fermentation process and then allows release of the preservatives during baking so that they are available for the shelflife of the product. “The use of encapsulated preservatives is helpful in all yeast-raised systems, including pan breads. Since unencapsulated sorbic acid and calcium propionate prevent yeast from performing, bakers end up with a low-volume bread,” explains Vernetta Dally, manager, applications.

In addition to preservatives, the Bakeshure preservation systems also include acids such as citric, malic, tartaric, acetic and fumaric. The acids are used to lower the pH in bakery products, allowing preservatives to work more effectively.

“If you're using preservatives in a product that has a pH of 5.5 or more, they will not effectively extend shelflife. The product may have a very short shelflife, as probably less than 10% of the preservatives are functioning at that pH,” explains Dally. At a high pH, the preservatives may be completely ineffective. The pH should be below 5.5 in order to have at least 50% of the preservatives functioning, she says.

A good example to demonstrate how the Bakeshure advantage works is in tortillas. With a pH greater than 6.0, the product may have a shelflife of seven to 10 days—even with preservatives. If the pH is lowered with the Bakeshure encapsulated acids to below 5.5, that same level of preservatives may extend the shelflife to over 30 days. And, reminds Dally, the encapsulated acid ingredients will not negatively affect dough development. “Acids make the dough 'tight' during mixing, so the mixing time is longer. When pressing out the tortillas, they shrink back and can't hold a nice, even shape because they can't flow in the press. Our encapsulated acids protect dough development and workability,” says Dally. Bakeshure acids also will not react with the baking powder leavening system during the mixing process to create undesireable translucent areas.

Since most tortillas are leavened with baking powder instead of yeast, it is not necessary to encapsulate preservatives for that system, and only the encapsulated acids are used. On the other hand, in yeast-raised systems, the pH is usually lower than 5.5, so there is no need for encapsulated acids and only the preservatives need to be encapsulated.

One exception is in sourdough yeast-raised products where Bakeshure acids can help give sourdough bread its flavor. Traditional sourdough bacterial cultures produce certain acids to achieve a distinctive taste. The encapsulate provides the acid the culture normally produces, saving bakers time and expense. Some flatbreads use both yeast and baking powder leavening. These systems need the combination of both encapsulated preservatives and acids to protect the yeast and lower the pH.

Bakeshure encapsulates are mixed in with the dry ingredients and will release during heating at temperatures between 135° to 160°F. Yeast ferments at about 90° to 100°F and will be inactivated by the time release occurs. Typical usage rates for Bakeshure preservatives are about 0.3% for sorbic acids, 0.5% for calcium propionate, based on flour weight. They can be used in yeast-leavened baked goods such as pan breads, buns, rolls and donuts. Usage rates for Bakeshure acids range typically from about 0.1% to 0.5% based on flour weight and can be used to extend shelflife of tortillas and other flatbreads, packaged waffles, cakes and cake donuts.

The company offers a wide line of bakery ingredients, including preservatives, flavors, dough conditioners and leavening agents.

For more information:

Balchem Corporation, Vernetta Dally