Antioxidants help slow the staling process in baked goods, and with ingredient suppliers’ help, bakers can choose the right antioxidant — synthetic or natural — to fit their product’s needs.
Surviving the bakery

Bakers should also consider how easy — or difficult — it is to store and dispense such antioxidant ingredients in the bakery and how well they will weather the baking process.

Antioxidants and flavor extracts are available as both liquid solutions and as powders. The liquid solutions are often selected because they eliminate lumping, dustiness and solubility challenges. There are some applications where the powdered versions are preferred, such as blending with other dry ingredients.

Flavor extracts, on the other hand, can be water-soluble or oil-soluble. For maximum effectiveness, bakers need to be sure they have the appropriate format for their formulation.

“If you’re protecting the fat, for optimum efficacy, you want to make sure the antioxidant system gets into the fat, and for that reason, it is preferred that it is fat soluble,” Dr. Ankolekar said. “Water-soluble varieties are better suited for applications such as dressings or meat products, but they will have limited efficacy in baked goods.” Kemin’s oil-soluble green tea extract was developed to be an oil-­soluble natural antioxidant option.

For finished baked goods, the oven can also be an issue. If it’s going to be baked, then the antioxidant has to survive those high temperatures. “An antioxidant used in baking applications must be able to maintain function through a temperature of about 210°F,” said Sharon Book, PhD, senior food technologist, bakery, ICL Food Specialties.

In high-fat bakery formulation, antioxidants can be a powerful ally in the fight against rancidity. With the right antioxidant ingredient, bakers can reach desired shelf life goals and clean up their ingredient lists, all without impacting their finished product’s sensory profile.

“The selection of an antioxidant must be considered carefully, relative to the desired functionality of the lipid system selected as well as the targeted attributes of the finished product including the total shelf life required,” Ms. Igou said. And while the specific antioxidant chosen may change based on bakery application, formulation or processing needs, the core function remains the same. “The fundamental use of antioxidants is to control oxidation and, therefore, keep rancidity at bay,” she said.