Many of the products we consume fresh have a short period of fitness for consumption. This can be due to the fact that we need to eat products warm or cold, it can also be due to chemical changes that might happen over time or due to the fact that moulds or bacteria have started to grow. To some extend the pH is being used as a reference guide to indicate if products are either acidic or alkaline. Our blood and saliva have a pH which is close to neutral (pH 7-7,5), which is one of the reasons we tend to like or dislike products that are closer or further away from this pH.From a shelf life point of view we see that also moulds and bacteria prefer this same pH. By being able to reduce the pH from 7 to 6,2 we can obtain a 30% increase in shelf life with moisture/ high Aw (wateractivity) products. With product at a medium (0,86) Aw this could lead to a 50% increase already.
The challenge is however not only obtaining the pH at day 1, but also at the end of the shelf life: if the changes are too big during shelf life this could in turn indicate that we are at a higher risk of seeing some unwished growth added onto our products.
Luckily nowadays it has become a lot easier to check pH as there are now portable meters as well as that there is equipment available that can plot the development of pH over time (e.g. Shelf life). Analyzing this could be part of your routine if you decide that controlling your pH is a critical point in order to control both taste as well as shelf life of your bakery product.
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