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Author Topic: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers  (Read 723 times)

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Offline jkaye01

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chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« on: October 17, 2022, 04:34:54 AM »
Does anyone have any experience or information regarding food additives, particularly flavor enhancers being used in dough? For example the well-known MSG, monosodium glutamate, the umami taste powder, labeled as E621 would be one, but as i understand there's thousands, maybe tens of thousands of other chemical compounds being used for all kinds of food production, stabilizers, acidity regulators, texture modifiers, used in pretty much everything we eat. You can't go to a supermarket and buy anything without it containing some of these ingredients.

And i'm curious if either from pizza chains or frozen pizzas or whatever, also contain these flavor enhancers. Because you never quite get that commercial taste quite right when trying to make a pizza at home, and i'm wondering if that's the reason why.

I'm talking about stuff like guanylic acid, inosinic acid, sodium-5-ribonucleotide, etc. At least here in europe they're labeled as E-something, E620, E625, E626, E630, etc.  Any and all info is appreciated, as i'm super curious. Does this stuff get used in pizza making as well? Which ones? How? And where would you even get something like this to try it out? I must admit i was feeling lazy the other day and got a frozen pizza as a quick meal and i examined the baked crust, it had this unusual but pleasant smell and taste, and i'm guessing it's all down to many secret chemicals they must be using. Can anyone share some info on this?

Offline Ovenray

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2022, 07:16:21 AM »
Assuming the commercial pizza industry to be like commercial bakeries in the way they operate it is also safe to assume for 'them' to use the same (dough) additives as well. Concerning dough (alone) commercial bakeries use many additives (bread-improvers) to enhance flavor, leavening, color, bake-time, shelf-life, texture and several more properties.

A good starting point would be the related Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dough_conditioner
« Last Edit: October 17, 2022, 08:59:47 AM by Ovenray »
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2022, 12:15:50 PM »
The best flavor enhancer for pizza dough is time. Science has yet to come with anything even remotely close.
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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2022, 12:21:21 PM »
Does anyone have any experience or information regarding food additives, particularly flavor enhancers being used in dough? For example the well-known MSG, monosodium glutamate, the umami taste powder, labeled as E621 would be one, but as i understand there's thousands, maybe tens of thousands of other chemical compounds being used for all kinds of food production, stabilizers, acidity regulators, texture modifiers, used in pretty much everything we eat. You can't go to a supermarket and buy anything without it containing some of these ingredients.

And i'm curious if either from pizza chains or frozen pizzas or whatever, also contain these flavor enhancers. Because you never quite get that commercial taste quite right when trying to make a pizza at home, and i'm wondering if that's the reason why.

I'm talking about stuff like guanylic acid, inosinic acid, sodium-5-ribonucleotide, etc. At least here in europe they're labeled as E-something, E620, E625, E626, E630, etc.  Any and all info is appreciated, as i'm super curious. Does this stuff get used in pizza making as well? Which ones? How? And where would you even get something like this to try it out? I must admit i was feeling lazy the other day and got a frozen pizza as a quick meal and i examined the baked crust, it had this unusual but pleasant smell and taste, and i'm guessing it's all down to many secret chemicals they must be using. Can anyone share some info on this?

You should be aware that in the realm of mass-produced convenience food there's an entire industry of companies that make flavorings and fragrances tailored to the products. And those will only ever be on the label as "natural and artificial flavors" or the confusing "natural flavor and other natural flavors" which refers to the way that you can get, for example, a strawberry-like flavor from birch bark. It's a natural flavor, it just didn't come from where you may assume it would come from.
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Online foreplease

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2022, 01:08:18 PM »
The best flavor enhancer for pizza dough is time. Science has yet to come with anything even remotely close.
Or as safe.
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Offline jkaye01

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2022, 05:17:45 AM »
The best flavor enhancer for pizza dough is time. Science has yet to come with anything even remotely close.

I get what you're saying, and i respect the craft and the effort that goes into making pizza the old fashioned way. Especially in a home setting, with the kids, family, friends, that can't be matched.

However in this case, 'best' is quite subjective, when it comes to building a business thats tough and you can depend on to survive, then theres little wonder the big corporations use all kinds of stuff to get certain tastes, textures, they try to automatize and make a standard for everything, it's just much more controllable and easier to quantify. That's the part i was asking about, i'm curious what one can create, what flavors you can get in a dough, what substances there are, etc. This stuff isn't illegal, theres a million govt agencies that monitor everything thats on sale, i guess its just harder to come by and more complex to create. Their subjective 'best' is making billions of $ from millions of happy customers, through what must be a fascinating and complex process using many ingredients and procedures.  I dont even know where to begin asking about these things and the kind of stuff they use, they probably make it themselves.

Offline wotavidone

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2022, 05:30:23 AM »
I must admit i was feeling lazy the other day and got a frozen pizza as a quick meal and i examined the baked crust, it had this unusual but pleasant smell and taste, and i'm guessing it's all down to many secret chemicals they must be using. Can anyone share some info on this?
A frozen pizza crust with a pleasant smell and taste? :o
Have you had Covid lately ? Apparently that can mess up your senses considerably. :-D
Mick

Offline jkaye01

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2022, 05:57:28 AM »
 
A frozen pizza crust with a pleasant smell and taste? :o
Have you had Covid lately ? Apparently that can mess up your senses considerably. :-D


 :-D indeed...

 they overprocess that so much to make it shelf-stable, they probably take all the good stuff out, and then they add back a lot of chemical agents to make it taste good again. That's the part i'm interested in, i wonder what can be done if you take the both of best worlds, fresh dough made properly and add in something extra, what kind of flavors one can develop. People seem to like it, else it wouldnt be so popular. And i'm talking about both frozen and commercial pizzas. I know it's down to cost, convenience etc, but at the end of the day, if it doesnt taste good, people wouldnt buy it. But they do, so there's something there worth exploring, for us amateurs.

Offline HansB

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2022, 07:17:12 AM »
Sounds to me like you are looking for some magic dust to make your crust taste better. Craigs comment was spot on.
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Offline jkaye01

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2022, 12:52:08 PM »
Sounds to me like you are looking for some magic dust to make your crust taste better. Craigs comment was spot on.

really? I mean, if some kind of magic dust is what most commercial pizzerias + frozen pizza brands use, then i guess we can call it that. Being dismissive and telling me 'just give it time' is just offtopic and not helpful.

Why can't we talk about the magic dust? There's hundreds, thousands of them. Maybe it would be interesting to explore this side of the industry as well?

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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2022, 01:24:15 PM »


 :-D indeed...

 they overprocess that so much to make it shelf-stable, they probably take all the good stuff out, and then they add back a lot of chemical agents to make it taste good again. That's the part i'm interested in, i wonder what can be done if you take the both of best worlds, fresh dough made properly and add in something extra, what kind of flavors one can develop. People seem to like it, else it wouldnt be so popular. And i'm talking about both frozen and commercial pizzas. I know it's down to cost, convenience etc, but at the end of the day, if it doesnt taste good, people wouldnt buy it. But they do, so there's something there worth exploring, for us amateurs.

I think maybe people have pretty wild ideas about what "processed food" means.

Pizza crust is pretty simple stuff. Flour, water, salt, yeast, and sometimes some oil or sugar.

White flour has been "processed" to remove the germ and bran in large part because the oils naturally found in the germ and bran go rancid pretty quickly after milling so yes that's something that was originally done largely to increase the shelf life. Also because bits of bran in the flour interfere with gluten development. In the days before modern transport, climate control, and sanitation, the shelf-life extension offered by removing the source of oils was a big deal.

I grew up eating whole wheat bread that my dad made from flour he milled in a "Magic Mill" machine - a high speed blade grinder that sounds like a jet engine. I can say that it took him years to master the art of getting a whole wheat loaf to crown *above the edge of the loaf pan, and i can't honestly say that i have any great love of whole wheat bread even though he makes a really good loaf after more than 4 decades of practice, but I've never had a slice of mass-produced whole wheat bread that didn't taste a little rancid to me.

But in much the same way that most americans have funny ideas about what olive oil should taste like, I think most people who really like whole wheat bread actually like that flavor. No accounting for taste i guess.

Flour bleaching was a big deal for shelf life too. All wheat carries fungal spores and when we were less adept at keeping flour cool and dry this was a huge problem for shelf life. I know a guy who used to work in a mill that bleached some of its flour and he described the process as one where the flour is blown in a stream with a mix of a gaseous bleaching factor (I forget the chemical) which was subsequently released through a tall smokestack. Killed all the fungus and bacteria in the flour but also destroyed all of the vitamins, which is why at least in the US you can also get flour enriched with vitamins which are added as a powder after the bleaching process.

Straight bleached flour is also whiter, of course, and if you want a food to be really pale, that's one way to do it. But most pizza crust is made with unbleached flour.

Some pizza crust is made with bromated flour - which has potassium bromate added to enhance elasticity.

In both restaurants and manufactured convenience food, your major flavor enhancers are salt, sugar, and fat.

If you've ever been unable as a home cook to match a dish you had at a restaurant, it's probably because the restaurant uses lots more butter and salt than you would imagine.

In yeasted doughs though, you can do a great deal with fermentation. Time, as Craig said.

And i reiterate, in mass produced convenience food, they literally just add flavors. No time to caramelize those sugars? We can just mix those in. Want to microwave sausage and have it taste like you pan fried it? No problem. But these flavorants and perfumes - purified versions of what you can get through hard work and artistry in cooking - don't have an E-number and if you're making less than a million of something you probably won't get the time of day from the companies that make them.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2022, 01:48:14 PM by Timpanogos Slim »
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Offline Ovenray

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2022, 02:22:34 PM »
Why can't we talk about the magic dust? There's hundreds, thousands of them. Maybe it would be interesting to explore this side of the industry as well?

Exactly the right question, it is merely another side of the art of making bread (and pizza?) and pretty common practice around the globe using additional ingredients to improve the endproduct.

I never use any additive or improvers in any of my doughs anymore, be it bread or pizza, not even improvers like milk/butter/oil or sugar, but did I learn about (bread) dough and any possible additives when at the bakery school though. We never used any of it during the time at school as the teachers were actually all very strict about it when it came to baking ingredients however afterwards reality kicked in and confronted us with the fact that there wasnt a single bakery (to be found anywhere!) not using the many additives available. There is only so much any commercial bakery can produce within a set amount of time and in any available space. To cut total cost, think of energy/time/space/cost of labor/insurance/equipment etc. companies have to give in to that if they want to keep at it, to keep it viable and to keep it profitable enough. Purity is good for home baking but it wont do much for commercial businesses.

Another aspect: not every E prefixed additive is a chemical substance, in fact many are not. An emulsifier like Sunflower lecithin (E322 Lecithin) for instance is derived from Sunflower seeds, there is nothing chemical about it as it is merely refined and purified and as it is with many other additives.

So yes, I am a purist as well, atleast when it comes to baking at home, yet it doesnt hurt to gather more data about additives when it comes to the general picture, (more) knowledge is (baking)power.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2022, 02:44:20 PM by Ovenray »
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2022, 04:10:26 PM »
What sort of flavor are you referring to? Flavor of a well made bread? Sourdough? Something that's not commonly found in normal pizza dough?

Certainly there are companies that make these sorts of things. Corbion's Caravan line is one that comes to mind.  You can see the sorts of products they sell here: https://www.stovercompany.com/our-brands/corbion-caravan Look around that website, and I'm sure you can find all sorts of others.

I get what you're saying, and i respect the craft and the effort that goes into making pizza the old fashioned way. Especially in a home setting, with the kids, family, friends, that can't be matched.

However in this case, 'best' is quite subjective, when it comes to building a business thats tough and you can depend on to survive, then theres little wonder the big corporations use all kinds of stuff to get certain tastes, textures, they try to automatize and make a standard for everything, it's just much more controllable and easier to quantify. That's the part i was asking about, i'm curious what one can create, what flavors you can get in a dough, what substances there are, etc. This stuff isn't illegal, theres a million govt agencies that monitor everything thats on sale, i guess its just harder to come by and more complex to create. Their subjective 'best' is making billions of $ from millions of happy customers, through what must be a fascinating and complex process using many ingredients and procedures.  I dont even know where to begin asking about these things and the kind of stuff they use, they probably make it themselves.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Online foreplease

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2022, 04:52:31 AM »
jkaye01, since your initial post I have been trying to remember a website member texmex (Reesa) and (I believe) member and Moderator Bill/SFNM have mentioned. Thought I could have searched, the name finally came to me after several days. You may enjoy looking around https://modernistpantry.com/ for an introduction of additives, flavors, etc. available at online retail.it is not specific to bread or pizza dough, but you will find some things there that may interest you for dough making at home. Good luck with your search.
-Tony

Offline texmex

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2022, 07:36:44 AM »
jkaye01, since your initial post I have been trying to remember a website member texmex (Reesa) and (I believe) member and Moderator Bill/SFNM have mentioned. Thought I could have searched, the name finally came to me after several days. You may enjoy looking around https://modernistpantry.com/ for an introduction of additives, flavors, etc. available at online retail.it is not specific to bread or pizza dough, but you will find some things there that may interest you for dough making at home. Good luck with your search.


I was trying to remember the name of it as well, but it would not come to me! Good on you, Tony. 8)
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Online foreplease

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2022, 08:58:00 AM »

I was trying to remember the name of it as well, but it would not come to me! Good on you, Tony. 8)
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Offline Swinger-mike

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Re: chemical food additives - flavor enhancers
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2022, 09:04:08 AM »
you're on the wrong path brother, the magic dust is called passion.

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