How to Prevent Staling in Baked Goods

Question: I am a commercial baker and always seem to have issues in the warmer months of my products feeling stale by midday. I have been inundated with complaints recently and am becoming frustrated. Do you have some solutions you could offer me to alleviate the issue? Thank you.

What causes staling? 

For a long time it was believed that staling was due to dehydration but now it has been clearly determined that the issue comes from  “crystallization” of the flour starch. Crystallization is caused by water leaving starch granules and going into spaces in between granules. This process degelatinizes the starch and causes the starch amylose and amylopectin molecules to realign themselves causing recrystallization.

Emulsifiers in Food Products

Fortunately there is a family of additives called “emulsifiers” or dough softeners that can retard the rate of staling. Emulsifiers help prevent the water from migrating away from the starch molecules. You can learn more about emulsifiers online

Common Emulsifiers 

The two most common emulsifiers used in bread are the distilled monoglycerides and the datem esters. These additives don’t soften the bread itself or change any of the bread characteristics but would certainly help in keeping your product feeling fresh for a much longer time. 

There are many different types of additives for dough. Check out our handy guide on Dough Additives to see the different types. 

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Hope this helps you out! If you have any other questions please submit your question on our “Ask an Expert” page.

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