AfeezParticipant@affammmNovember 12, 2020 at 9:39 amPost count: 4
Creating this topic to move Inquiry from Afeez. (MF)
Dear Bakers I’m seeking your help on how to extend shelf life of one of my new products – Dates bars aka Dates square.
I’d like to extend the shelf life for up to 2 months on room temperature.
I greatly appreciate any advise on my concerns below:
* After some research I’ve done most say is potassium sorbate. Is this the right preservative for this product or what you recommend that would extend the shelf-life for upto 2 months?
*What % proportion to be used vs dough weight?
*Should I add the preservative for both pastry dough as well as for the dates filling?
FYI. I will be packaging the product in a metallised laminated sealed pouch.
- I do not have experience or much knowledge in this area of preservatives and any help on this is much appreciated.
Mark FloerkeKeymaster@independant-consultantNovember 12, 2020 at 10:13 amPost count: 223
I am posting my response here to keep things consolidated for all.
To understand potassium sorbate better, you can read more details here: https://bakerpedia.com/ingredients/potassium-sorbate/
It would help us to help you, if you could provide more specifics about your shelf life challenges? You mention packaging in air tight foil. If you are seeing mold after 2 weeks, you may have a contamination issue. You might want to consider testing microbial presence and or growth in samples, fresh and aged. To select the best preservation method it is important to know what you are trying to preserve or prevent.
Date bars and date squares are generally part of the cookie category. Most commonly low water activity is the principle goal in limiting opportunity for microbial growth. Yes, you do need to view the crust/crumble, and the filling, both independently and review together. These are products that are traditionally so high in sugar, and thus low water activity, that after the baking kill step and proper handling, it is common to see 3 to 6 months shelf life. If you have a higher water activity product, this may be an opportunity for you to collaborate with SoFresh for extended shelf life packaging. https://sofresh.com/
AfeezParticipant@affammmNovember 13, 2020 at 12:44 amPost count: 4
<span class=”atwho-inserted” contenteditable=”false” data-atwho-at-query=”@”>@independant-consultant</span>
Thanks Mark for your reply and for the helpful information.
According to my date bar recipe no water is included so the water activity is low. I have not tested this product keeping for longer on shelf yet to see if there’s any microbial growth or what’s the maximum time period that it stays fresh since everywhere I’ve read online says date bars can be kept for maximum 1-2 weeks so that I was concerned and wanted to find out on adding a preservative:)
If I do a shelf-life evaluation test (accelerated method) through a lab for the samples will this help to check if there’s any microbial growth within my desired shelf life 2 months?
As you’ve mentioned it is common to see 3-6 months shelf life in these kind of products with proper handling, I think a chemical preservative won’t be necessary to keep up to 2 months on shelf with proper handling, packaging and low water activity. Correct?
Mark FloerkeKeymaster@independant-consultantNovember 16, 2020 at 5:24 pmPost count: 223
Dr. Lin also suggested you review the Ask Dr. Lin video on shelf life: https://youtu.be/Uyh7ele-7og
Water activity is not about how much water you add. This is expressed as Aw and is the moisture in a product that is available to move freely, and be available for bacterial growth. Sugar and other humectants trap water and provide softness in texture.
A household recipe may state that the bars keep for 2 weeks. The average home kitchen is not as sanitary as a food processing facility, and the home processing methods are not as stringent. Keeping for 2 weeks could simply mean that the crust gets stale, and or the filling dries up and gets hard.
Before you choose to send samples to a lab for shelf life testing, you need to know what the criteria for your shelf is. If micro bacteria is present and can be cultured on a fresh sample, that will simply get worse, not better, over time, whether accelerated or not. Therefore one first step might be to get samples tested for yeast, mold, coliform, salmonella, staphylococcus, etc. If they are completely clean, there is unlikely any contamination after baking. If anything shows up, there is some sort of contamination. The level and type of results determine your actions.
Accelerated shelf can be done, and as mentioned, shelf life for what? How much firmness is too firm? What about flavour? If you have something like a traditional cookie crust, what about staling? Are there any bioactives you are adding post bake that need to be tested for viability? Any nutritional components that could degrade? And fats, like omega-3, with low oxidative stability?
Shelf life is used as a catch-all phrase for many things. At a minimum you want the food to be safe to consume. That is the purpose of microbiological testing. You also want the consumer to purchase the product repeatedly, even if they were to consume it close to or at the end of shelf life. What is you minimum acceptability for this? In general, yes, if all conditions are handled properly, a preservative may not be necessary.
I hope this information is useful to you.
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