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Functional role of ascorbic acid in bread-making
The banning of bromates and the substitution of ascorbic acid as flour improver in 1997, generated a lot of controversy among bakers and flour milling industries in Ghana. This research was carried out to investigate the effects of ascorbic acid on wheat-bread characteristics. Various levels of ascorbic acid and bromate were used in the bread production to compare critical functional properties of bread. The results showed that the specific volume of the loaves increased from 2.80 cm3/g (control) to 3.86 cm3/g at ascorbic acid concentration of 250.0 mg/kg beyond which no significant increases were observed. Loaf tenderness was found to increase with increasing ascorbic acid concentration registering the least value of hardness (2.2 N) at an ascorbic acid level of 500.0 mg/kg. Capillarity, which is an inverse measure of vesicular size of the loaves, decreased with increasing loaf volume registering the least value (3.40 gWater/gLoaf) at the highest loaf volume of 481.70 cm3 at ascorbic acid level of 250.0 mg/kg. Crust thickness of the loaves also followed an inverse relation with loaf volume. The use of ascorbic acid as a flour improver was found to correlate well with the controversial potassium bromate within its accepted levels in terms of the various bread characteristics at correlation coefficient values of 0.85, 0.95, 0.99 and 0.80 for the specific volume, capillarity, tenderness, and crust thickness registered, respectively.
JOURNAL OF THE GHANA SCIENCE ASSOCIATION Volume 2 No. 2 (2000) pp. 10-15