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Sodium metabisulfite and its use in biscuits

There are quite a few factors that make delicious biscuits we love, and one of them is sodium metabisulfite. Likewise, many of us are not familiar with this compound... So, what it is that ensures a biscuit worth eating?

SMS as a Compound

Sulphites in general are antioxidants that are widely used as preservatives to control bacterial growth and prevent discoloration. Sodium metabisulfite is also known as sodium pyrosulfite is an inorganic compound composed of sodium, sulphur, and oxygen, and among other uses it factors in as a preservative agent and antioxidant – one of the most integral parts of making a biscuit. It’s rather multifunctional food additive. You can find it under classification E223 as well. Without going into detail about its chemical fragments, we’ll focus on the advantages of using it in the baking industry.

This compound is usually used in making of dried foods which includes biscuits of almost any kind. Sodium metabisulfite comes in the form of white crystalline powder and it has dramatic consequence on the quality of dough, the released sulphur dioxide during the dough modulation causes the gluten to be more extensible and less elastic and therefore reduces the shrinkage of dough pieces as they’re baked. In other words, it’s a reducing agent for the modification of the strength of the gluten in doughs, and ultimately in biscuits.

Issues and Benefits

Over the course of its use in dough, sodium metabisulfite has raised a lot of questions about its effect on health, but the level of it in baked goods is lower and shouldn’t cause a problem. There are even some foods and beverages with a higher level of sodium metabisulfite, such as dried fruits and wine. Some studies show that in biscuits residues of sodium metabisulfite after baking are extremely small and difficult to find. This chemical compound is mostly a problem for people with allergies to the compound.

In baking, the benefit of SMS is that it acts immediately, in fact it can be added towards the end of dough mixing with the satisfactory result that the reaction goes to completion very quickly. The normal level for use in dough is up to 50 gm per 100 kg of flour.

It should be noted that the mixed solution deteriorates on storage, so only one day’s requirements ought to be prepared at a time. In general, biscuits have longer shelf-life than other baked goods, and this is one of the ingredients that makes it possible.

Improvement of Biscuit Production

It is thought that biscuits have been baked for thousands of years so their ingredients have changed drastically over time, making it easier to decide on the consistency, sweetness, form, and type of the biscuit. With this advantage in baking, we have a chance to enjoy in a variety of biscuits served alongside tea or coffee, as an afternoon snack, and a dessert. Essentially, any occasion and time of day are perfect for biscuits.

As food industry moves forward with new technologies, it’s also considered finding an alternative for sodium metabisulfite, as it is for all the additives. For now, let’s take a pause and have a couple of delicious sweet treats. We hope you like yours today!

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Ask industry experts in Biscuit People TechTalks section.
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