Optimizing Ingredients

Mold vs. Yeast: Rising to the Challenge

A variety of molds are typically found in bread manufacturing plants, and the most commonly used inhibitors are propionates and sorbates in the form of calcium propionate and sorbic acid. While both have a toxic effect on some of the same types or molds, they also exhibit a selective effect on individual molds. For example:

  • While calcium propionate has little negative effect on yeast performance, sorbic acid does – it can be highly toxic during fermentation and proofing. To protect the yeast and still prevent mold, sorbic acid must be microencapsulated for use with any yeast-leavened bakery product.
  • In addition to inhibiting molds, calcium propionate also inhibits rope bacteria that can survive baking temperatures and degrade the protein and starch in breads, creating a “ripe,” fruity odor and strands of silk-like material when the product is pulled apart. Contamination can result in expensive losses to a bakery manufacturing plant and must be controlled.

Even beyond mold, breads and other yeast-leavened products should include a combination of microencapsulated calcium propionate and sorbic acid to extend shelf life and deliver better volume and texture.

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