Bakery Products

The major problems limiting the shelf life of many bakery products are mold spoilage and staling. The bakery industry can use several methods to control mold spoilage, the most common being the use of preservatives, such as sor-bates and benzoates. However, preservatives can lead to off-odors and off-flavors in certain products. Furthermore, with increasing consumer concerns about preservatives, the bakery industry has been actively searching for alternative methods to extend the mold-free shelf life of bakery products. One such method is MAP. Research on the use of C02-enriched atmospheres for shelf-life extension of bakery products has been performed by Seiler (9) at the Flour Milling and Bakery Research Association in England. He reported shelf-life extensions of 300 to 400% for bread and cakes stored in concentrations of 60% C02 or more. The shelf-life extension obtained was dependent on the water activity (aw) of the product, with the most significant increases in shelf life occurring in products of lower water activities, that is, aw ^ 0.85. This effect is due to the types of mold present. In low-moisture products, xerophilic molds (low moisture tolerant), such as Aspergillus species, were the predominant spoilage molds, while Penicillium species were more common in products with higher aw values, such as crumpets and fruit pies. Ooraikul reported a mold-free shelf-life extension of 1 month or more for English-style crumpets packaged under 60% C02. Though slightly longer extensions were possible using higher C02 concentrations, the gas was absorbed by the product, creating a vacuum-packed effect. Bakery companies in Europe commonly use gas packaging for shelf-life extension of bread and cakes. In addition to extending the mold-free shelf life of products, C02-enriched atmospheres have also been reported to prevent staling in many bakery products. Examples of bakery products commonly gas packaged are shown in Table 5. Packaging films commonly used with these products are barrier films such as nylon/PE and PVDC-coated polypropylene laminated or extrusion coated with polyethylene or ionomer.

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