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While I was reading the ingredients list of a supermarket-bought bread (in the Netherlands) the other day, one of them caught my eye: acerola powder. I know acerola is a fruit with a high vitamin C content but why would it be used in bread?

I don't think it was for its particular flavor since it was just a regular soft bread, not a sweet/flavored bread (more precisely "bakkersballen" with spelt). And if it's as a preservative / conditioner, why not just use ascorbic acid?

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    Was the bread packaging marked as being "organic" or some other wording implying some better level of "natualness" or wholesumness?
    – brhans
    Jul 18 '18 at 13:20
  • @brhans indeed! I just checked, the package says "made only with natural ingredients".
    – Luciano
    Jul 18 '18 at 13:33
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    Yup - it's being used for its vitamin C as a flour improver.
    – brhans
    Jul 18 '18 at 13:35
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The only functional reason that comes to mind is indeed the vitamin C content. Vitamin C makes for quite tough gluten, so it is frequently used in bread making.

The question about the choice of acerola powder over ascorbic acid can only be answered with certainty by the person who made that choice. An obvious guess would be that it was done for marketing reasons.

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  • Seems likely, the package says "made only with natural ingredients".
    – Luciano
    Jul 18 '18 at 13:33
  • The ascorbic acid in acerola might also serve to trigger any added chemical leavening agents, if they are present. Sep 22 '20 at 1:29
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Acerola is a natural source of ascorbic acid, but ascorbic acid may also be synthetic. Their functionalities are the same, as acerola cherry is considered to be the fruit with the highest content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). It's a matter of clean labeling.

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