Not really, ascorbic acid is an excellent oxidizer in dough systems and there is essentially no limit in place regulating how much can be used. Flour millers have a maximum limit of 200 ppm but as bakers/food processors, we can add whatever we need. How safe is ascorbic? Runners have been known to take thousands of milligrams of ascorbic acid twice a day. Additionally, ascorbic acid is approved for use just about world wide. Several years ago the only two dough oxidizers that we had to work with were ada/azodicarbonamide and ascorbic acid. The problem we had at that time was that the use of ada was limited by regulation and when considering the rate of reaction, ada was just a little slower reacting than ascorbic acid, the solution was to use microcrystalline encapsulation on the ascorbic acid to delay its reaction so it would react in the dough after mixing rather than during mixing. The strong point for bromate is its timing of reaction. I reacts late in the dough processing stage and all the way into the very early baking stages where everything else was spent within an hour or so after mixing if not in the mixer. Because of this the early bromate replacers got a less than stellar review. With regard to safety issues, it is the bromate not being 100% converted to bromide that poses the health concerns, this is well documented, not the oxidizing properties, like I said, if that were the case many of us would be dead already due to the massive doses of ascorbic acid (vitamin-c) that we have taken over extended periods of time. With all of that said, am I against bromate? Of course not, that is a personal decision that each of us must make. Does bromate work? Absolutely! Do we really need it? The answer to that depends upon who you ask, some say they can live without it, others can't so they sit back and complain about how good it was in the "good old days", while still others embrace the new bromate replacers which have demonstrated their ability to function equally as well as bromate but without the consumer stigma tied to bromate. This is why we see both bromated and non-bromated flour being sold today. My guess is that eventually the bromate replacers will become mainstream and bromated flours will no longer be available and in 50-years somebody will find something wrong with the bromate replacers and the cycle will start all over again because that how things normally work.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor