Calcium propionate2018-12-10T05:17:50+00:00
Calcium propionate is most often used in baking as a bread mold inhibitor

Calcium propionate is most often used in baking as a bread mold inhibitor.

Calcium Propionate

What is Calcium Propionate?

Calcium propionate is an antimicrobial agent commonly used in bread.  It is effective in preventing mold growth and helps extend the shelf life of bread products. It’s a preferred antimicrobial because unlike cultured wheat and cultured whey, it does not contain the top 8 allergens in the US.


Calcium propionate is produced by neutralizing propionic acid with calcium hydroxide.

Chemical structure calcium propionate, a mold inhibitor used in baking.

Chemical structure of calcium propionate.


Calcium propionate suppress bacteria and mold growth on bread and cakes. It doesn’t inhibit yeast. Its addition to bread dough doesn’t interfere with yeast fermentation. Calcium ion interferes with the chemical leavening action, so it is not often used in cake.1 It is preferred to use in bread and rolls, because it can enrich the product.


Calcium propionate is added with other ingredients in the dough.2 Potassium sorbate and sorbic acid cannot be used in dough since they damage the yeast and they can only be used by spraying on the surface of products after baked.2

Calcium propionate is most effective below pH 5.5. Any lower, and the active component, propionic acid, is undissociated and becomes active. The dough pH needs to be below 5.5 and well controlled to effectively control mold.

The recommendation level of calcium propionate is 0.19-0.32% based on flour weight.3 At higher application levels, it imparts a distinct acid taste to bread.

Calcium propionate can help lower the sodium concentration in bread. When 0.3% calcium propionate is used without sodium chloride, bread was mold free for 12 days. When 0.3% is used with 1.2% sodium chloride, the bread was mold free for 13 days.4

FDA regulation

Calcium propionate is GRAS regulated by the FDA in article 21CFR184.1221 in the Code of Federal Regulations.5


  1. Deshpande, S. S., et al. “Food Acidulants.” Food Additive Toxicology, Marcel Dekker, 1994, pp. 11–88.
  2. American Institute of Baking. “Function of Ingredients in Bread Production.” Baking Science and Technology.
  3. Katsinis, George, et al. “Synergistic effect of chemical preservatives with ethanol on the microbial shelf life of bread by factorial design.” International Journal of Food Science & Technology, vol. 43, no. 2, 2008, pp. 208–215., doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.2006.01386.x.
  4. Belz, Markus C. E., et al. “The effect of sourdough and calcium propionate on the microbial shelf-Life of salt reduced bread.” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 96, no. 2, Sept. 2012, pp. 493–501., doi:10.1007/s00253-012-4052-x.
  5. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. “21CFR184.1221 – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.”, 14 Aug. 2017,


  1. paschal February 26, 2017 at 4:56 am - Reply

    Comment…how and when am I to apply it in bread baking. and how many gram am I to put in 1000 grams of flour.

  2. Lin Carson, PhD
    Lin Carson, PhD March 10, 2017 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Paschal, it’s usually used at 1-3 Baker’s %.

  3. Laurent April 2, 2017 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    What would be the correct water ph for loaf bread production using calcium propionate and different enzymes to work well?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck June 2, 2017 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      Laurent, best is low pH, in a range of 4.5 to 5.5. If you need further consulting, please refer to our quick consult page, here.

  4. Vasilis M April 8, 2017 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    When talking about pH 4.5-5.5, we’ re talking about the pH of the dough or the final product?

  5. Elias El Rahi May 26, 2017 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Can we for fresh packed croissant for 30 days of sheflife?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck June 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      You could, but Calcium Propionate is best used for products with a 5-7 day shelf life. If you need further consulting, please refer to our quick consult page, here.

  6. Natashia Wilson November 14, 2017 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Can Calcium Propionate be use in baking cakes?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck November 29, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Sodium Propionate, sorbic acid and potassium sorbate, and other acidulants like citric acid can be used as preservatives for cake.

  7. Richard Platt November 20, 2017 at 2:22 am - Reply

    Hello – would this be suitable for profiterole shells?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck November 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Yes, it would.

  8. Imam Hananto December 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    I did made a trial for Calcium Propionate in Puff Pastry dough to have longer shelf life. But the result of trial not satisfied me. The sample that used Calcium Propionate have acid odor traced and the control sample did not have. Especially if the sample that I put in the room temperature and chiller , the acid odor quite strong. After the dough bake the odor still trace. Also I found this in after bake dough for the sample that kept ini Freezer.

    Could you explain what happens, because the acid odor unwanted in our Puff Pastry products.

    Thank you

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck October 11, 2018 at 11:54 am - Reply

      We don’t recommend CalPro for puff pastry, this system works best in bread. However, if you still want to use it, make sure to use the recommendation level of calcium propionate is 0.19-0.32% based on flour weight. If more is used, you’ll have that acid odor/flavor.

  9. Sheik thameem April 10, 2018 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I am using calcium propionate for my half cooked chappath(indian bread) but i dont get shelf life of 7 to 8 days instead i gets only 3 days what is the reason

  10. Emil May 15, 2018 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    What if I want to produce and package combination of different solution e.g Sodium Propionate, sorbic acid and potassium sorbate, to invent a good preservative for baking,

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck May 24, 2018 at 9:56 am - Reply

      Good idea, but it’s already been done. Let us know if you want to know where to get this.

  11. Annor Felix May 19, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    please can you combine Calcium propionate and Lecithin in bread recipe?

  12. Wonderful July 18, 2018 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Been having problems lately. My bread don’t spring well in the oven due to a fault in the flour, (low gluten) please what can i do to make it better?

  13. Rhiannon Spratling September 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Would you recommend Calcium Propionate to spray on on yeast risen donuts after frying ? What would you approximate the shelf life to be if so ?

    • Ana Rinck
      Ana Rinck October 10, 2018 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      We definitely don’t recommend spraying CalPro in your products, it will be a waste of your hard-earned money. Check out our friends from Puratos and J&K Ingredients for ingredient solutions.

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