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Vitamin C in bread making

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've heard that using vitamin C in breads can help improve the flavor and spring.

Does anyone have any experience using vitamin c to help give me a head start? Can I add it to my favorite bread recipes or do I need to find recipes that specifically call for it?

Any help would be appreciated!
post #2 of 21
I use it regularly - just a tiny pinch per each pound of dough - not much required at all.

I find it especially good for whole grain types.

my experimenting says it does help with the spring/loft, and I _think_ it helps retain moisture as the loaf ages. problem is, there's rarely anything left to judge age after two days around here...
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dillbert! I bake with a lot of whole grains so I'm anxious to give it a try. I just ordered some pure powdered vitamin C.

Do you use lemon juice or vinegar as well? I heard you can interchange these two in recipes . . .
post #4 of 21
I use the FruitFresh stuff in the canning aisle - it's sugar+ascorbic acid. easy to get hold of.

I've tried recipes with vinegar - but they are not in my normal routines - don't recall seeing a lemon juice one.

are you working with yeast doughs or baking powder / short breads?
post #5 of 21
Vitamin C, or "ascorbic acid," if you prefer is a "dough conditioner." It doesn't do much for taste at all, and is used primarily for hearth breads by professional bakers who are handling large amounts of dough and want some extra certainty and less individuality regarding amount of time at a given temperature for a given amount of oven spring.

It's primary efficacy comes from its identity as an oxidant. You want to control quantity carefully. Too much will make for a stiff dough.

It won't necessarily give you better rise, but should help make sure you get all the rise you should -- and on schedule, too. It will also give you a finer and more regular and tender crumb -- which is something you want in a sandwich type loaf-pan bread, but probably not in an "artisanal" loaf.

I know you're approaching baking with a lot of enthusiasm and expanding your repertoire and knowledge base. For someone like you, it's definitely worth trying a few times or the not knowing will drive you nuts.

In my experience it's not something home bakers who do a fair amount of variety use very often. On the other hand, those who primarily make softer loaf-pan type breads, find it more useful. Personally, I don't use it. But don't let that influence you one way or the other. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

Something along similar lines you might want to try is substituting buttermilk for all or part of the hydrating liquid -- again, with the hearth breads. You can use more buttermilk than either water or buttermilk and build doughs of higher percent hydration for a very tender and soft bread.

I don't think you'll find whole grain flour much different from white in terms of response to Vitamin C (or buttermilk for that matter), but my experience with it is neither broad nor deep, and I could easily be wrong. But you knew that.

BDL
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of the responses. BDL- I always enjoy when you respond to my questions as I appreciate your wisdom and advice. Thank you for the insight on the purpose of vitamin C. (by the way, I can’t wait until your book is released!).

I hope I will continue to adapt and improve my bread formula’s over the years but for now I’m pleased with the taste of my artesian breads and other functional breads (pizza dough’s, bagels, etc.). However I’m currently trying to improve a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread loaf to be used for sandwiches and toast.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled with the incredible flavor of artesian breads but I just can’t find a whole wheat sandwich bread that tastes AMAZING, they are all good but not the best I’ve had.

I have some limitations. No vital wheat gluten, no lecithin, and no prepackaged dough conditioners. My daughter also has an allergy to dairy and eggs and I need to keep the bread safe for her. So until she outgrows the allergies I need to hold back on buttermilk. I can use lemon juice and vitamin C so I was hoping these two would help make a sandwich bread a little better.

I’ll keep experimenting and see what I can come up with. Thank you again. I have really enjoyed reading this forum- all of you are very inspirational.

Emily
post #7 of 21
Emily,

PM me your email address, and I'll send you my recipe for Walnut-Orange Wheat Bread. It's been a good sandwich and toast bread, I've been trying to tweak to "bread basket" standards. Well maam, I think it's finally there. The last change I made was using white sugar + molasses instead of brown sugar (which actually is white sugar + molasses), the variation gives better control over sweetness and gives the flavor more depth.

The recipe as written (still pretty first drafty) calls for buttermilk as (about) a third of the liquid, but you can use all water plus a spritz (maybe 2 tbs) of lemon juice -- why not? Also, if it suited your fancy you could swap out the sugar and molasses for a 1/2 cup of honey. Honey and lemon are such naturals together, you really ought.

You're going to miss out on the BIG benefit of buttermilk which is allowing extra-hydration -- which, itself, makes for a softer crumb. Okay, it really isn't that big and there are other ways to skin the cat. Buttermilk is guilty of overselling itself, poor dear, it means well but it's insecure.

I know I've got your email address buried somewhere in my gmail archives, but humor me. I reformatted because of a virus and I lost all the email addresses stored in my Outlook "sent" file. Which, like a putz, I didn't separately save.

Thanks for the kind words about the book. I've hardly done any food writing at all since early October because of personal, health (not serious but prolonged) and work events. Computer reformatting aside, things look as if they may be slowing down to normal and I'll be able to get back to doing the fun stuff.

BDL
post #8 of 21
In my pancake-making adventure, the recipe I use calls for buttermilk and lately I've been using the high fat buttermilk as opposed to the nonfat or lowfat with no adverse effects. Just an fyi; and, you might want to try switching between all 3 kinds of buttermilks to see how each one affects your breadloaf.

BTW BDL awhile back I posted some inquiries on scone making and the recipe I like the best came from Crust and Crumb: a cream scone recipe calling for the use of heavy cream. Methinks the extra high fat content makes for a moister product. Now, think high fat buttermilk as in the preceeding paragraph.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #9 of 21
I always use regular (high fat) buttermilk. It doesn't really make much contribution to the overall fat content of biscuits and scones because there's so much other fat added. It certainly makes a huge difference in pancakes, waffles and other fairly lean quickbreads. I'm not sure about "moistness," but mouth feel is improved quite a bit.

And as I said, one of the principle benefits of buttermilk is that it allows you to use more liquid in your breads, which really improves texture.

BDL
post #10 of 21

I make my buttermilk.  If a recipe calls for it the first thing I do is pour the milk, add vinegar and let it sit. (1 cup milk:1 tbsp vinegar). Just like in your example of the sugar and molasses instead of brown sugar. You have more control.  I use 2% milk for instance.  Any pros/cons to doing this?

post #11 of 21

I stumbled on this forum trying to find out the difference between using lemon juice and vitamin c powder. In terms of your post about it being a dough conditioner etc., this simple article from the Guardian does a good job of explaining some of the reasons it is helpful with whole grain loaves (though I have yet to determine if using lemon juice, which only has 46mg Vit C per 100 g juice and the article recommends 250 mg, i.e. about 500 g lemon juice equivalent whereas I have been using about 10!).

 

"All wheat flour contains a naturally occurring chemical called glutathione in the starch, which is used by the seed as it sprouts and grows into a plant. But when we try to bake with wheat flour, the same chemical also stops some of that elastic stretchiness we want in the dough. If you use all white flour, the effect of this chemical isn't so noticeable. But change to wholemeal flour, which contains much less starch, and the effect can cause a heavy loaf."

 

Others use wheat gluten with whole grains to boost the rise/elasticity quotient.

 

I shall try to get a hold of some Vitamin C powder to see what happens, though I have no idea yet where to get any. I suppose vitamin tablets might work, but I'm an organic type and prefer to use non-synthetic ingredients wherever possible.

 

That said, I've had good results with lemon juice, although agree with you that it doesn't make much difference.

 

Picture of whole wheat crumb recently baked at www.frenchroadbakery.tk. Came out very well, but I think oil had as much to do with that as lemon juice. Still, for a 100% whole grain/wheat loaf, it is surprising light and chewy, though not a stupendous rise or anything. But certainly by no means a brick either. As soft as most baguette white flour doughs.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/24/foodanddrink.baking13

post #12 of 21

You can get dry citric acid from a variety of sources.  It's inexpensive and what the pros use for the purpose.  If it's not "natural" enough for you, you're probably S.O.L. 

 

BDL

post #13 of 21

Another way of making buttermilk (the old way) is by adding 2-3 TBS organic (i.e. real) plain yoghurt to cream. Let it sit for 12 hours or longer at room temp (around 70F) until little bubbles form showing that the bacterial cultures have started to multiply.

 

Now make butter with this cream by churning in simple blender and consulting YouTube for demonstrations. Doesn't take long.

 

Once the butter is separated from the 'milk', you have buttermilk and fresh butter!

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaperAsh View Post

Another way of making buttermilk (the old way) is by adding 2-3 TBS organic (i.e. real) plain yoghurt to cream. Let it sit for 12 hours or longer at room temp (around 70F) until little bubbles form showing that the bacterial cultures have started to multiply.

 

Now make butter with this cream by churning in simple blender and consulting YouTube for demonstrations. Doesn't take long.

 

Once the butter is separated from the 'milk', you have buttermilk and fresh butter!

Churn my crème fraîche??? You've GOT to be kidding!
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaperAsh View Post

Another way of making buttermilk (the old way) is by adding 2-3 TBS organic (i.e. real) plain yoghurt to cream. Let it sit for 12 hours or longer at room temp (around 70F) until little bubbles form showing that the bacterial cultures have started to multiply.

 

Now make butter with this cream by churning in simple blender and consulting YouTube for demonstrations. Doesn't take long.

 

Once the butter is separated from the 'milk', you have buttermilk and fresh butter!


Oh please!, don't be so silly, there is only one way to make buttermilk, place full fat milk in churn, crank til it hurts then crank some more then crank again til Granny says stop!, then you strain the butter out and pat it til you got butter, the stuff you have left is butter milk and ifGranny ain't lookin you get a swig from the bucket before takining it into the house for whatever th' old Lady has in mind, and if you have been good you may get some fresh cornbread from the new batch.
 

Whoa!, I've seen some things, but don't that beat all.
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Whoa!, I've seen some things, but don't that beat all.
Reply
post #16 of 21
how much ascorbic acid we should in 90kgs of flour while mixing dough in a mixer??
post #17 of 21

That all depends on the flour and the end product, eg if I was making a sandwich/toasting loaf using a white flour with a protein content between 10 and 15% none.

post #18 of 21

Will the Vit C help with Shelf life of Tortillas. I currently make a No Lard No Preservative tortilla and I am looking to make the Shelf life longer than 7-10 days.  Will the Vit C work for me ??? Currently Testing all diffrent all natural preservatives....but just the word preservatives scares me.  I make products like my Grandma used to from home.  Even my RisingHy Sauces are all Natural with no fillers or Preservatives.

post #19 of 21

I'm sure by now you have experimented with the Vit C. I have only come across it recently. I make whole wheat bread in a bread maker. One of the recipes called for 100 grm vit C in a 2 lb loaf. The texture was much better. The crumb was more even. And it cut well. I think the bread was a little sweeter. This is the bread I will make from now on.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by raychard View Post
 

I'm sure by now you have experimented with the Vit C. I have only come across it recently. I make whole wheat bread in a bread maker. One of the recipes called for 100 grm vit C in a 2 lb loaf. The texture was much better. The crumb was more even. And it cut well. I think the bread was a little sweeter. This is the bread I will make from now on.

I meant 100 mg of Vit C. not grm.

post #21 of 21

Hi. I recently tried my first 2 lb loaf using 100mg of Vit C. I used a tablet (crushed) as it was easy to find to try out. I used half the usual amount of yeast.  Results. The loaf rose higher and was softer in texture. Cut well and tasted much better/sweeter. Second try was the same. I was using a bread machine. This is the loaf I will make from now on.

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