The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ascorbic Acid

DanOMite's picture

Ascorbic Acid

in Peter Reinhart's book "Whole Grain Breads" he recommends using ascorbic acid and i've seen it in bakery whole wheat loaves in the ingredient list as a "dough conditioner." I'm sure as you all know ascorbic acid is basically vitamin c, but i'm just curious as to what you would use as your source of ascorbic acid.

Does anybody know, or have some suggestions or ideas? I'm really clueless on this one, hope to hear from you guys very soon because I'm going to be baking another loaf of bread soon and would like to try this. I appreciate all your help in advance.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Dan.

This question has been addressed in several recent TFL threads. Here's one with answers to your question (and other questions you might have asked):

The search function (see the text box in the upper left corner of the TFL pages) is really useful.


dougal's picture

I've added a post to that other thread specifically addressing why Reinhart would use Ascorbic Acid in his Whole Grain epoxy technique.


Specifically as to sources:

Go to a health food shop! (In the UK, for example, Holland & Barratt are on many high streets and on the net.)

If you have the capability of weighing tiny quantities, then seek pure ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder. But if you don't have a scale weighing to 0.01 of a gram (such "pocket scales" are under $20 on eBay), or the cost of the pure powder concerns you, then buy soluble (rather than chewy) Vitamin C tablets (ideally unflavoured, but any flavour should pretty much get lost).

Check the pack for the amount of VitaminC in each tablet. Dissolve the whole tablet(s) in a measured quantity of water. Then measuring the quantity of that dilute solution gives you excellent control of the quantity of VitaminC you use. (Much more accurate than breaking tablets.) Don't forget to include the water in this solution when measuring out the quantity of water for the recipe!

There's no need to buy "buffered" sodium ascorbate - a very little more acidity won't do the bread any harm at all!

subfuscpersona's picture


An inexpensive substitute for powdered ascorbic acid is citric acid. Citric acid is used in home canning - specifically water bath canning of tomatoes. Since we're in the height of canning season in the US, you might be able to get an inexpensive packet of citric acid if home canning supplies are sold in your area. Citric acid is also available via mail order on the internet.

vpsihop's picture

5 Roses all purpose is preconditioned with asorbic acid, as is KA euro artisan.  KA also sells asorbic acid powder on their website.  As others have mentioned you can just use crushed Vit C tabs.  Alton Brown recommends 250 mg in one of his recipes for two loaves. (NOT THE CHEWABLE KIND!)

I made two awesome boules with the 5 Roses and it rose faster, and had much better oven spring than the Gold Medal I was using. It also took a slash really well.

Ive bought some KA to see what all the hype is about, and I made a sourdough starter with half KA and half 5 Roses.

This frothed and doubled within 36 hours.  Pretty fast compared to what i have read about other peoples exp. with sourdough starters.  Not sure if it has to do with the asorbic acid from the 5 Roses that went into the starter.

KA states on their website that asorbic acid helps the yeast work "longer and faster"