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How much Ascorbic Acid do I add

CountryBoy's picture

How much Ascorbic Acid do I add

How much Ascorbic Acid do I add to my sandwich bread recipe of 5 lbs of KA flour?

Please only answer in terms of tsp or multiples of. I don't do grams, or any other weight. My guess is I should add one teaspoon to that amount of flower but am not sure.

Also, do I just buy any ascorbic acid off the net?

Thank you.



Doc.Dough's picture

For 5 lb of flour you have no way to measure an amount small enough unless you have a miligram scale. And after you add it to the flour it is not clear how you will uniformly disperse it.

wlaut's picture

What is the reason for adding ascorbic acid to flour?

DanAyo's picture

A common source for Ascorbic Acid (AA) is a vitamin C tablet. It is almost pure AA. Doc mentioned the difficulty in equally distributing it in the flour. I use a mortar and pestle to crush the pill into a fine powder. The powder is mixed into the dough water to disperse.

How Much -
I can’t wrap my head around parts per million. If someone can simplify, it would be greatly appreciated! With that in mind, I take a 1 milligram Vitamin C tablet (which contains ~1 gram AA) and use all or half of it for a kilo of flour. I know this exceeds the PPM, but that is what I’ve used in past test. It is said that AA doesn’t affect the flavor, but that has not been my experience. That flavor, when used in such high percentages, is that of bleached flour. Bleached flours strip many of the complex flavors from breads, IMO. Over mixing with a machine will do something similar. (Oxidation)

What does AA do?
It makes the dough stronger and able to rise more. In my experience it has enable the dough to tolerate extremely long and warm fermentation before it degrades.

Noticed the black marker line on the container below. It marks the 6qt capacity. The container is 9qt. Without AA the rise is expected to be a little over the 6qt mark. These results were obtained us 1g AA per kilo of Morbread bread flour. It was bulk fermented for 16.5hr @ 77-79F. NOTE: for some reason unknown to me, the results are not always reproducible. Don’t know why... HERE is the writeup.

Not scientific, but my experience.

If you are seriously interested in AA and it’s affects take a look at this.


barryvabeach's picture

Dan ,  for parts per million, my friend used the example of an inground swimming pool.  Empty all the water, and take 1,000,000 ping pong balls -  throw all but 20 in the pool, then use a magic marker and color the remaining 20 green, and then through them in the pool.  When you look at the pool, the green balls make up  20 ppm.   When you visualize it that way, it is hard to see how you could possibly get an even distribution, though with enough mixing, they will get distributed somewhat. 

DanAyo's picture

But, if the 20ppm of AA was mixed into the dough water wouldn't the AA become evenly distributed throughout the flour once rhe water and flour was thoroughly mixed?

idaveindy's picture

Dan, in your example..... 1 gram AA per 1000 grams flour...

think of it as a fraction: 1 gram / 1000 grams.  "grams" cancels out, so ....

=  1 / 1000   

Multiply numerator and denominator by 1,000 ... which still keeps the ratio

(example : 3/4 = 3000 / 4000.)

= 1,000 / 1,000,000

The "/" operator can also be verbalized as "per"...

(example $.99/lb = 99 cents per pound.)

ie,  1,000 / 1,000,000 is verbalized:  1,000 "per" million.

Your Morebread experiment therefore had 1000 ppm AA.  

(a "part" in this case is a gram of substance.  A clearer, though redundant way to say it is "parts per million parts" or "things per million things.")

DanAyo's picture

So, 20ppm = 0.00002% ?

If 5 pounds = 2268g. Then 2268*.00002= (0.04536G or 0.0004536) ?

idaveindy's picture

When going _from_  decimal fraction _to_ percent you multiply by 100.

(I usually work things  out with 3 and 4 to help me visualize.)

3/4 (fraction) = .75  (decimal fraction) = 75 % (per"cent" where cent=100) = 75 per hundred  = 75 / 100.

20 ppm = 20 per 1,000,000.

20 / 1,000,000 = .00002 = .002 % = .002 per "cent" = .002 / 100.


idaveindy's picture

Here's my calculation. I invite correction if my logic or math is wrong, and for typos.

25 ppm means divide by 1,000,000 and then multiply by 25.

Let's talk grams, then convert to milligrams, and then figure a fraction of a 500 mg  vitamin c tablet.

1,000 grams flour.

divide by 1,000,000 = .001 grams.

Multiply by 25 = .025 grams.

convert to milligrams (multiply by 1,000) = 25 mg.

What part of a 500 mg tablet is 25 ?  = 500 / 25  = a 20th part.

Just going by eye, I think I could divide a tablet into 4 pieces, then divide each piece into 4 more pieces: ie 1/16th. 

500mg / 16 = 31.25 mg  

So my approximation of 1/16th of a 500 mg vitamin C tablet per 1,000 grams flour would be 31.25 ppm.


For 5 lbs flour, (x 453.6 g per pound) 2268 grams:

1/8th of a 500 mg tablet = 62.5  mg

62.5 mg / 2268 grams = 27.56 ppm.

Which is in the range of what Doc wrote.   

So the closest "technical" answer we can give Country  Boy is: 1/8th of a 500 mg tablet..... per 5 pound bag of flour.  (Not 5 pounds of "dough.")

As far as a _practical_ answer, in regard to fractional teaspoons: it can't be done.


Though here is a fun thought:

50 pounds * 453.6 = 22,680 grams.

500 mg C / 22,680 grams = 22.0 ppm.

So there we go... one 500 mg tablet per 50 pound bag of flour fits nicely in Doc's range!

DanAyo's picture

I haven’t digested your math yet, but it appeals to my common sense reasoning.

To break down AA into very small portions, you could do the following. 
For example:

  • Put 1g AA into 100g water and completely dissolve.
  • For every 1g of water you would have 1/100thg AA.
  • working with that assumption to would be able to introduce tiny amounts of AA into dough.

For Dave’s math using 5 pounds of flour.

  • mix 1) 500mg Vitamin C tablet into 80g water.
  • Take 10g of that mixture and use it as part of your dough water.


idaveindy's picture

You are a much better engineer/problem-solver than I! 

My understanding is that tablets have "binders" in them.  And my observations from using over-the-counter potassium gluconate tablets to make my sports drinks, it takes a few hours for the powder from a crushed tablet to fully disolve. 

and a meaningful dispersal would require full disolution.


DanAyo's picture

I remember reading that very little of a Vitamin C tablet is fillers. A mortar and pestle does a fine job of reducing the pill to fine powder. It dissolved quite easily from what I remember.

idaveindy's picture

thanks. good to know.

Pale Writer's picture
Pale Writer

Yes - that's quite in the ballpark of Doc's range of 20-30: 10g of that solution would yield about 27.56 ppm (of a 5 lb bag of flour).

That range is also approximated by two to three lemons, if a lemon contributes about 24 mg AA.

Since I bought 55 lbs of AA at the start of this Covid scare it's high time I tried it in my bread -- as I can't seem to find Saf-Instant yeast locally any more.  Waaaaaa

CountryBoy's picture

Ok, I'm not proud. So if measuring in terms of Vitamin C tablets, so, how many tablets for 5 lb. of dough for sandwich bread?

Re: the question why Ascorbic Acid?

There is lots of debate pro and con on this; everyone has their own dog in this debate. All I know is that it is said by some very knowledgeable people that it helps preserve freshness if I freeze the bread. (I always make 5 loaves and freeze four.)

Also we bought some bread from   a special German/bakery grocery store   and the label on the bag lists Ascorbic Acid twice; and the bread is great and lasts far better than my home made bread in this hot humid weather.

Note: and yes, I have about six of the major bread baking books and none of them lists AA in their recipes..............

Whatever........I just don't want my bread getting mold after 2-3 days.

So, in summary, how teaspoons or pills for my 5 lbs. of dough for sandwich bread?




DanAyo's picture

CountryBoy, if mold and staling are your concern, are you or have you considered using a sourdough culture?

I am not aware that AA will help to keep your bread from molding and stay fresher. I freeze lots of SD breads and have never experienced that problem.

CountryBoy's picture

Well, sourdough bread requires me to throw out too much culture in preparation for the actual baking of the bread. Everyone says you don't have to throw out much but I can't figure how to get around that. During Covid-19 especially, throwing out flour is not smart since it is hard to come by.

And yes I love Sourdough! Absolutely, but I just can't throw out all the flour.

ciabatta's picture

You'll probably throw out more flour in stale or moldy bread then you'll with building a sourdough culture if that's an issue right now.   you dont need cups and cups each time you feed a starter. i use about 1 or 2 heaping teaspoons. and once the starter is strong, you dont have to throw any out at all if you're baking regularly. just build what you need. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

squeezing it fresh (or squirting it out of the plastic lemon.)    I have crystalized citric acid purchased in the baking section of super market.  Says on package, one teaspoon (5g) equals about juice of two lemons.


mwilson's picture

Indeed I agree, lemon juice is perhaps the simpler route here. Although I would recommended using a fresh lemon as I'm dubious of the plastic ones ascorbic acid (AA) content since it is a reconstituted product and the AA or vitamin C in lemons tends to decline over time.

From memory I would normally use lemon juice at 1%.

CountryBoy's picture

So how many lemons for 4 lbs of sandwich dough......?

mwilson's picture

per 4lbs about 4tsp of juice. 1 lemon will do.

sorry hang on, you said dough, tell me how much flour is in your 4lbs of dough?

In any case, 1tsp of juice per 1lb of flour should be fine.

albacore's picture

I think you're going to need 9 lemons! 100ppm ascorbic acid is a reasonable rate to use. Dough with 5lbs of flour (as stated by OP in original post, not 5lbs dough) = 2.27kg flour. 100ppm is 100mg AA per 1kg flour, so 227mg AA needed.

Average mg of AA per lemon = 24mg, so 227/24 = 9.5 average lemons required.

For an all-natural product, the best bet is Acerola cherry powder, otherwise (and cheaper) a small pack of AA off Ebay or Amazon and a set of 0.01g resolution scales.


mwilson's picture

9 lemons, haha, nice one Lance.  That would be something - something tangy!

While 100ppm is indeed a suitable dosage, from my experience I can assure you that lemon juice at 1 possibly up to 2% works just fine.

The addition of AA to dough invokes a chain of enzymatic processes that recycle the ascorbate back again, meaning it can go on to cause another reaction and therefore you can probably get away with using less. It should be noted that over-dosing will cause a reductive effect and the ideal amount would also depend on the flour or other ingredients e.g. the type of yeast being used.

Also I'm not sure what affect the principal acid of lemon juice, citric acid may have on dough.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for roughly 500g flour in this loaf:

But I think for a white sandwich loaf, the lemon taste may shine thru, I would use less. Half as much. Maybe one tablespoon per kilo flour.

Five pounds of flour equals 2.3 k flour.   So fresh lemon juice: two tablespoons plus one teaspoon lemon juice for five pounds of flour.  That would be my starting amount.  The taste of the bread would determine whether I use more or less in the next batch.  (1% would be about one tablespoon plus one teaspoon lemon juice so clearly between Michael's recommendation between 1 and 2%.)  

CountryBoy's picture

Most grateful for all the advice.

For the record and a correction, the weight is  one 5 lb. bag of KA bread flour.

CountryBoy's picture

Just wanted to get back to people and let you know the results of my Ascorbic Acid efforts.

I went with what MiniOven suggested and used 2 Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice with my 5 lbs. of KA Bread Flour. Actually I used 3, just to be honest; because I am an over the top sort of guy.

The results are that there is no mold or fungus on the bread. But maybe that is the weather; I don't know. What I do know is that the texture of the Crumb is rubbery and stiff, and not at all what I would like. I have never tasted Crumb like this before. So I guess it is a case of good news - bad news.

In any case I thank MiniOven and everyone for their very helpful advice.




DanAyo's picture

Appreciate your findings. Ascorbic Acid has produced a somewhat “rubbery crumb” for me also. It is possible you used too much acid. A tiny amount of Ascorbic Acid (AA) goes a long way.