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Preservatives in Bread

Preservatives in Bread

Are there preservatives in bread? What kind of preservatives are they? Are they harmful? What can I substitute them with? You'll find the answers to these questions in this article. Read on..
Sujata Iyer
One of the most commonly eaten items is bread. Whether it's for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack in between, it's always easy to make and ready to eat. And if you know how to make bread, you'll know that apart from the various common bread ingredients, there are also a lot of preservatives added to it. This may be for different reasons. It could be to make the bread taste better. It could be to make the bread remain fresh for longer. It could also be to ensure that the bread does not have mold growing on it too fast. In the article below, you will be given information on the types of common preservatives in bread.

What Preservatives are Used in Bread

Even the most common bread recipe will enlist that the major ingredients in bread are flour and yeast. However, even the most accomplished bakeries will not deny that they too add a certain amount of preservatives during the process of baking, to make sure that bread that they produce is of superb quality. By superb quality, they mean extra soft, extra fluffy and extra long-lasting. What they do not (or do) realize is that by adding harsh chemical preservatives, they are very close to flouting food safety norms. So, what are the preservatives in bread? Given below are some of them. Some may be beneficial, but some can prove to be quite detrimental to the ones consuming it.

Calcium Propionate: Calcium propionate is one of the most widely used preservatives in bread. It is a naturally occurring preservative in dairy products like cheese, and is actually beneficial if consumed in small quantities. However, with concentration, like in bread, it can have a variety of effects on people with a regular intake. These effects can be seen in the form of gastro-intestinal infections, nasal congestion, insomnia, etc. So, don't be fooled by the 'extra calcium' tag the next time you see it on a pack of bread.

Sulfur Dioxide: You might not believe it, but sulfur dioxide is also used as a preservative in bread. It is added to the flour, and acts as its bleaching agent. Also, it increases the shelf life of the final product, bread. Needless to say, this is a preservatives in food to avoid, right?

Lecithin: Another common bread preservative is lecithin. It is derived from the yolks of eggs or even from soy. It is healthy and when used as a preservative, makes the bread light and helps to keep it fresh for a longer time.

Ginger: Yes, ginger too can be used as a natural preservative in the making of bread. By adding it in the recipe, it helps to hasten the process of the dough rising, by giving a jump start to the yeast. It also has anti-bacterial properties which ensures that mold does not grow easily.

Garlic: If you like to bake and eat garlic bread, then you'll be pleased to know that the garlic that you add is serving a dual purpose. First, it acts as a preservative by preventing the growth of mold. Second, it acts as a wonderful flavoring agent.

Honey: Another natural food preservative that is used in bread is honey. Because of the high content of sugar in pure honey, mold cannot develop on it. When added in a bread recipe, it will use this property to keep mold from growing.

Cinnamon: Another natural preservative that you can use in your next batch of oven fresh bread is cinnamon. This spice, apart from being a flavoring agent, helps to suppress the maturation of mold on the bread, thus preserving it for a longer period of time.

Ascorbic Acid: Ascorbic acid, which is sold as a powder, contains high levels of vitamin C. This in itself is a major plus point. Additionally, it helps the yeast with the rising action, and once the bread is ready, it helps to preserve it.

Apart from the above mentioned ones, others like whey (dry acid), gelatin, non-diastatic malt, etc. are also used to help the bread to fluff up and remain soft and fresh for longer. As mentioned above, some are beneficial and some can have harmful effects. Natural preservatives are always a better option. So choose wisely and stay healthy!
Cinnamon powder