By Robert Mason
Senior Scientist – Applications Lab
The usable shelf life of a baked product is determined by two factors: molding and staling. The ‘molding’ found in bakery products is actually the result of three different subclasses of microbes: yeasts, molds and bacteria. However, with the right products and applications, molding can be drastically reduced or even eliminated.
How to combat mold
At Sensory Effects, we take a three-step approach to maximizing the mold-free shelf life of a baked product. The first step is lowering the acidity, or pH, of a product. This helps to inhibit mold growth in general, as well as further optimize other mold inhibitors. For this reason, you can find ingredients like citric acid in a wide range of products. Our BakeShure® line of encapsulated acids are frequently used for this purpose, with the added advantage of minimizing the negative effects acids can have on yeast development as well as the baked goods’ appearance or texture.
The second step to an extended, mold-free shelf life is employing a class of ingredients known as propionates. These ingredients have specific anti-mold properties and target select microbes; the most commonly used is calcium propionate. For applications that utilize propionates, we suggest adding an encapsulated acid to maximize propionate functionality.
Finally, the third step in maximizing a product’s mold-free shelf life requires the synergistic effect of sorbic acid in conjunction with a propionate. Sorbic acid is a very effective product, in part due to its protecting against microbes that propionates do not address. However, the challenge to using sorbic acid is that it also directly inhibits yeast development, and it can cause excessive pan flow. Our encapsulated sorbic acid, BakeShure 250, allows bakers to use sorbic acid to improve shelf life without any of the negative effects like decreased loaf volume, pan flow, etc.
Optimize shelf life
Overall, the best strategy for maximized, mold-free shelf life is built from having a low pH and sufficient doses of propionates and encapsulated sorbic acid.
Check out this example of how our product prevents the inhibition of yeast fermentation: