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Oxidation. A reaction in which oxygen is added to, or hydrogen is removed from, a compound, but which basically involves the loss of one or more electrons from an atom or molecule, thereby increasing its valence. Oxidation is always counterbalanced by a simultaneous reduction. In baking, oxidation plays a significant role by imparting maturity to flour (q.v.) and affecting the rheological (q.v.) properties of dough (q.v.) during its processing.