Acerola head-to-head with ascorbic acid

Does a super fruit have the muscle to strengthen bread dough? We take a look.

A tropical super fruit is gaining popularity as a natural alternative to ascorbic acid in industrial bread.

Boasting a vitamin C content of 17-30%, extract of the acerola cherry is increasingly widely used on markets where clean labels are high on the consumer agenda.

We decided to conduct our own laboratory and bakery trials with ascorbic acid and acerola to compare their effect.

Boosting the gluten network

Although primarily known as an antioxidant, ascorbic acid is actually used as an oxidant in bread dough. Its ability to oxidise sulphur bindings strengthens the gluten network necessary for baking bread with a good volume and shape.

Today ascorbic acid is often routinely added to flour without any requirement to declare it on the label. While the flour is, in effect, e-number free, a demand for ascorbic acid’s replacement has grown up on some markets.

Acerola, native to Mexico and countries in Central and South America, looks like a suitable substitute. The only drawback is its relatively low content of the active component – vitamin C – which is a long way short of the 100% in ascorbic acid.

Same effect, higher doseIn our trials, ascorbic acid was tested against acerola extract with 17% vitamin C. Using an extensograph to measure dough extensibility and resistance, we found that acerola could match the gluten strengthening effect of ascorbic acid. The acerola dosage required to do so, however, was up to four times higher.

Our conclusion: natural acerola extract is an effective alternative to ascorbic acid. But be prepared for a much higher cost in use.

Healthy Bakery Solutions

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The challenge for the bakery industry is to find new ways to reach out to consumers. Many of the big brands are already taking the first steps. Their strategy is to appeal to the one thing that concerns Western consumers most – their health.

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Sprouted wheat grains are enjoying a revival as a trendy and nutritious alternative to refined wheat flour. According to the Whole Grains Council, sprouted grains are even healthier than whole grains, which for years have been promoted as a prime source of fibre and other nutrients.

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Bread prices have come under huge pressure in European markets where discount supermarket chains have revolutionised the retail grocery landscape in recent times. Along with the free-falling bread consumption that some markets face, this has created serious issues for industrial bakers.

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Sometimes the inspiration for new bakery concepts comes when you least expect it – and least of all when attending a university seminar on brewing beer. Nevertheless, it was a story about ancient Mesopotamian beer that inspired our concept for a nutritious breakfast biscuit called bappir.

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Market data from Mintel shows that new tortilla and wrap products accounted for more than 25% of all new product launches in the bread segment in 2015 – a figure that reflects several years of continuous growth. Wraps are particularly popular among younger consumers and consumers on high incomes.

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Every balanced diet needs a good portion of carbohydrates. The recommendation of the European Food Safety Authority is that carbohydrates should account for 45-60% of our total energy intake.

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If you don’t want your bread products to compete on price alone, you’ve got to focus on quality – and tempt consumers with a good taste, health benefits and an artisanal look.

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Satiety is the new word in lifestyle weight management. We’ve been exploring the consumer trends behind some of today’s bakery opportunities.

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A growing number of studies show consumers stay fuller for longer and eat less after a fiber and protein-enriched snack.

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Jan Charles Hansen and Joern Gravgaard explain why baked nutrition bars are a good opportunity, how to make them and what to add to get healthier products with a great taste and texture.

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The popular nutrition bar is now a good business proposition for industrial bakers.

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On-pack health and nutrition claims are strictly controlled in the EU. Here’s what’s possible.

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Wholemeal and protein are a difficult combination in industrial bread. An unexpected solution can make it work for the weight management market.

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Biscuits and muffins may lead to fewer daily calories if they are a source of protein and fiber. We look at the recipe issues and how to overcome them.

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New opportunities are shaking up old perceptions of high-fibre wheat bread as a heavy, compact phenomenon that belongs to the niche health segment. Today it is possible to make nutritious 100% wholemeal bread that meets all the quality expectations of the mainstream market.

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Consumers know fibre is good, but not always how to get more of it in their diet. New fibre breads could make the difference.

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If consumers are reluctant to change their habits, you have to work with the habits they’ve got.

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Replacing gluten is easier said than done, but progress is being made.

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Jan Charles Hansen describes how a new enzyme complex makes softer, bigger wholemeal bread with a cleaner label.

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Whole grain alternatives to wheat open doors to high-fibre bread that consumers will notice.

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Gluten quality makes all the difference for good and healthy bread time after time.

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