Emulsifiers are the key for oil and water to work together.
It’s mixing 101: oil and water don’t mix. Thankfully, we have emulsifiers to stabilize surface tension AND to serve as a dough conditioner as an added bonus. Emulsifiers improve texture and shelf life, and help with crumb and color, among other things.
Optimizing the HLB
Different variations of emulsifiers have a different hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB), or the ratio of their polar and nonpolar ends. The scale runs from 0 to 20, which would be an entirely hydrophilic substance.Here’s a quick rundown of the variations:
Lecithin: HLB 8-10; forms a protein complex, once during mixing and later during baking.
Sodium stearoyl lactylate and calcium stearoyl lactylate (SSL and CSL): HLB 21 and 10, respectively; strengthen dough performance, soften crumb and slow staling.
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