Choosing the right chemical leavening system makes all the difference, according to Paul Bright, innovation manager for AB Mauri North America. He provided this exclusive Q&A to Baking & Snack to detail important aspects for these bakery ingredients.

Baking & Snack: What are the functional powers of the bicarbonates, leavening acids and baking powders outside of their ability to aerate baked foods?

Paul Bright: Besides leavening, baking powders, bicarbonates and acidulants also regulate pH and control the coloring and flavoring in finished baked goods. Two key examples of this include: darkening chocolate cakes by using sodium bicarbonate to increase pH; and whitening biscuits and attaining desired flavor by utilizing monocalcium phosphate and sodium acid pyrophosphate to lower pH.

Choosing the right baking powder or acidulant combination can also affect the symmetry of the final baked product. For example, a baker can produce muffins with flat, bell or peak tops just by changing the type of leavening acid used. Additionally, leavening acids can also affect the desired internal crumb structure – whether it is more open or coarse or more fine and uniform – of finished baked goods.

How important are these other functionalities when selecting a leavening system? And, why should they be considered when formulating a new product or reformulating an existing one?

Choosing the right leavening system for your product is essential to enhancing overall product quality desired by customers. Whether those product quality parameters are related to flavor, color, shape, shelf life or overall eating quality, the appropriate leavening system choice is a crucial one.

What research have you done to show off these additional powers? And, what do bakers think of these aspects?

AB Mauri North America has done extensive research into chemical leavening systems looking at dough rates of reaction (DRRs) and how these reactions can affect product quality of finished baked goods. We work very closely with our customers to understand their product quality attributes and how our leavening systems can enhance their desired outcomes. Additionally, we find that product developers and bakery production personnel are open to the chemical leavening technical innovation partnership we provide. This type of customer collaboration is a vital aspect of our product development process.