The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ascorbic Acid and Apple Cider Vinegar

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Ascorbic Acid and Apple Cider Vinegar

I understood that there'd be occasions to use ascorbic acid in whole grain breads.  I've been searching for a reasonable local source, but have found it to be questionably dear.  When I researched online sources, I found that a crushed 250mg vitamin C tablet will do in place of 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid to a loaf of bread.  Great, because I have a lot of vitamin C tablets otherwise going to waste.

I've also noticed quite a few recipes that I would be interested in making call for apple cider vinegar.  Fortunately, before I actually bought any I checked my pantry and found I already had it.  But I'm wondering if the vinegar serves the same function as the ascorbic acid.  That is would I use one or the other but not both?

Assuming so, is there a chemist out there who can explain in lay terms why I might choose one over the other?

And I'm assuming that these are merely "nice" additives but not essential, that they improve gluten strength and allow for higher rising dough.  Is this correct?

Rosalie

mmcadory's picture
mmcadory

apple cider vinegar may contain trace amounts of vit. c but mainly it contains vinegar.  Vinegar or ascetic acid is formed by the oxidation of ethanol (exposing drinking alcohol, wine et al, to air for some time).  I know the chemistry, but as yet don't have the baking experience to answer the rest of your question. Hope that helps.

mmc 

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Here you go : http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/detail.jsp?id=1618

 ... If you don't find a local source.

Have you tried to call a Walgreens pharmacy ?

BROTKUNST

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I found I don't need to buy ascorbic acid after all because I have the vitamin C tablets.

And vinegar and ascorbic acid are both acids.  That's why I thought they might serve the same purpose.  That's what I want to know about.

Rosalie

renoles's picture
renoles

I've done some reading on this - the ascorbic acid (Vit C) helps the yeast "live a longer life" if you will - they are more productive for a longer period of time during the bulk fermentation/rising of your loaf/loaves. I'm not a biochemist nor a biologist so I don't know how it works but that's what the stuff I've found says (I know that yeast "bud" to reproduce and it scars the parent organism. Enough scars and the parent dies. It might affect this somehow). As to the cider vinegar - I've seen it called for to sour milk to make a pseudo buttermilk to act as an additional acid to help give biscuits/quick breads with baking powder an extra boost. I know that the Friends of Carl sourdough starter instructions tell you to give the starter a dose of vinegar (I don't recall if it's cider or not) from time to time if it gets sluggish. The only other thing that it might be is as a flavor agent. I made the mistake of reading the ingredient list on a supermarket sourdough loaf once and one of the ingredients was acetic acid. Sorry for the long post...hope it's of use.