Acetic acid – Bakery Ingredient (Used in Breads and Cookies)

This post will tell you about the roles and functions of Acetic acid in Bakery Products manufacturing especially biscuits and cookies.

How acetic acid reacts with other ingredients of Bakery Products to give a good and healthy product which must not harm your body on consumption.

The role and function of Acetic acid is very small but useful.

Also Read: Why Acids are Being Used in Bakery Products?

We can also use other acids in bakery products instead of acetic acid during manufacturing of Bakery Products i.e. biscuits e.g. Sodium Acid pyrophosphate. So let us start our discussion on the Use of Acetic Acid in Baking process.

Acetic Acid Used in Bakery Products

What is Acetic Acid: Acetic Acid, or having formula CH3COOH, is a weak acidic organic compound primarily noted for imparting the pungent, distinct taste, it is also known as vinegar.

Chemical Properties of Acetic Acid:

Properties Values

Molar Mass of Acetic Acid

60.05 g/mol

Density of Acetic Acid

1.05 g/cm³

Formula of Acetic Acid


Boiling Point of Acetic Acid

118.1 °C
Chemical Structure of Acetic Acid
Acetic acid chemical structure

As a liquid, the colour of acetic acid is transparent and it is viscous, while as a solid, the acid is colorless and looks glassy.

History and Origin of Acetic Acid

Acetic acid was used as a medicinal agent and was probably the first known antibiotic. For most of human history, acetic acid was produced by fermentation of sugar to ethyl alcohol and its subsequent oxidation to acetic acid by microorganisms.

This process was supplemented in the nineteenth century by wood distillation. In 1916, the first dedicated plant for the production of acetic acid by chemical rather than biological means became commercial.

This method was based on acetylene-derived acetaldehyde, and it marked the advent of inexpensive, industrial-grade acetic acid and the birth of a viable industry based on its use.

The advantages of chemical synthetic routes include high acetate concentrations (35–45%, by wt), high production rates, and acetic acid generated in the free acid form.

The major disadvantages are the need for high temperatures, high pressures, and good agitation, the threat of explosion, the high cost of catalysts, and the dependence on nonrenewable, uncertain sources of raw materials (crude oil).

In 1995, annual production of acetic acid by the petrochemical route in the United States was 4.68 billion pounds, ranking 35th among all chemicals produced. Production increased at an annual rate of 18% from 1993 to 1995. Vinyl acetate ranked 41st, averaging 3 billion pounds in 1993–95. (Source: Science Direct).

Demands of Acetic acid as of Now in 2018

Acetic Acid is a largely used industrial product, with a world demand of about 6 million tons per year

Commercial Production of Acetic Acid

Most of the production processes are based on the carbonylation of methanol promoted by an iodine compound and catalysed by Rhodium catalyst (Monsanto process) or Iridium catalyst (Cativa process).

Fig.1 Acetic Acid Manufacturing Process

Monsanto method was used intensively until 1996 when BP Chemicals introduced the Cativa process, which is a more efficient technology that significantly reduces the cost and produces a high quality acetic acid with very low impurity content. (Source: guichon-valves)

Function of Acetic Acid in Food/Bakery Products

How Acetic Acid Works in Baking: Acetic acid is used in baking as a leavening agent.

Functions of Acetic Acid in Biscuit Baking Process:

Acetic acid functions as a leavening agent if used in conjunction with baking soda in baked products. It also serves the functions of tenderizing, preserving, and coagulating when poaching eggs.

The prime ingredient of Acetic Acid is vinegar which is created by reacting ethyl alcohol and bacteria or via the reaction between methyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.

In baking, acetic acid is what gives vinegar their distinctive sour taste.

When vinegar is used in baking such as apple cider vinegar, the combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a chemical reaction leading to the production of carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas bubbles expand in the baked good causing rise.

Acetic Acid is the component in vinegar, and is the source denoting the sharp taste and aroma characteristic to varieties of vinegar as well as products in which acetic acid is included.

FDA Regulation on Dosage of Acetic Acid

I hope now you are feeling safe on consumption of cookies and biscuits even after addition of acids by bakery industries because it doesn’t harm your body FDA already puts regulations on the limits of use of acids in bakery products which is 200ppm.

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