The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vitamin C in rye bread

josordoni's picture

Vitamin C in rye bread

Just thinking aloud here. 

 I am using Dove Farm Bread flour, a hard wheat white flour, to add to my rye for gluten.  However, this flour has Vit C already added.  

How will this be affecting the rye?  What difference would I get with a strong flour without Vit C? I think Allinson's is without Vit C, although not organic.



apprentice's picture

Here's what my reference book says:

"First used as a bread improver in 1932, after it was noticed that old lemon juice added to dough gave better results. it improves gas retention and loaf volume. Essentially vitamin C, it has the advantage of being safe even if an 'overdose' is added to the dough. The heat of baking destroys the vitamin component. The addition of ascorbic acid consistent with artisan bread requirements is now routine for certain flours milled in North America."

Others may know if vit C would have a specific impact on rye, but I don't think so.

josordoni's picture

Interesting.  So it would look as though it would have a strengthening effect on the wheat gluten element of the dough, but not on the rye. 

dougal's picture

It won't do you any harm.

In the UK its even permitted in 'organic' flour.


Its only there in tiny quantities (compared to a Vitamin C tablet).

You shouldn't want/need more than 50 milligrams per kilo of flour. A typical Vitamin C tablet contains 500 milligrams - so that's 10x as much as you probably want for a kilo of flour!

The only 'problem' is the potential to make a strong flour too strong and springy.


My understanding of its action (and the science doesn't seem settled get) is that it ties up and thus takes out of consideration a substance called Glutathione - which 'relaxes' the dough - to the point of slumping given long enough!

Vit C minimises the glutathione and thereby strengthens the flour, giving a better-risen loaf than without it.

But this means that it doesn't work directly on the gluten, it prevents the glutathione from attacking the gluten. Less glutathione, less difference made by Vit C. 

So, where does glutathione come from? Well, its in "Active Dry" and elderly fresh yeast - but not well-handled instant yeast. And its in the bran layers of wheat. Hence Vitamin C can give you a better risen ('lighter'!) wholemeal loaf.

You also find glutathione in the bran of rye

so I'd expect Vitamin C to improve the rising and 'lightness' of loaves with rye bran (ie with darker rye flours) in them too..

josordoni's picture

thanks Dougal!  Get's so complicated....

I might try Allinson's just to see what it does.  However... I must remember to only change ONE THING AT A TIME in a formula.  So first thing is to use white starter instead of rye, then the next thing will be to change the white flour and see what that does.


nbicomputers's picture

a am not sure about the rest of the country but all flours in new york are enriched by law which means vit. have been added.

bleaching and bromated are options but i beleve all flours in the U.S. are enriched.

jasonla's picture

I can't stand it when foods are bleached just because of looks. I don't know about you but i hear the word bleach and want none of it in me. I eat pretty healthy fruits vegetables etc but even with that i take vitamins every day to make sure im getting what i need i try and make sure that what i take is also organic.

josordoni's picture

From what I can find, Vit C is ok up to 190 degrees C, so should be ok nutritionally in bread, but you aren't going to get sufficient Vit C for anyone's needs from flour unfortunately - you still need your 5 pieces of fruit or veg..