Various intriguing applications and industries use carbon dioxide, yet one that may often be overlooked is CO2's influence in baking.
Non-bakers may not realize that besides ingredients like flour, sugar and eggs another common ingredient is baking soda, baking powder or in the case of bread, yeast. These "magic ingredients" work with the other ingredients to release carbon dioxide.
For example, when leavening agents such as baker's yeast or baking soda are added to bread dough, they release CO2 which forms bubbles to give the dough the perfect consistency and structure for it to rise. That's why for thousands of years bread has been made with only flour, yeast and water (skip the yeast and you have unleavened bread).
The added CO2 results in the scrumptious bakery breads we gather today such as rye, brioche, sourdough and even cornbread.
Bakeries work around carbon dioxide all the time, especially in the final proofing stage before baking (resting to increase the volume of the bread). In a closed area with hundreds of loaves of bread, this can cause the CO2 levels to rise to potentially dangerous levels. This is why a large, artisan bread company in Minneapolis recently began using our popular Remote CO2 Storage Safety 3 Alarm to protect their employees in enclosed bread rising rooms.
Fun Fact: One of a baker's goals is to increase the volume of the bread to make it more "airy" and tasty. A loaf of bread will nearly double in volume, which you can see by looking at the holes in bread caused by CO2 bubbles.
During the proofing process, when CO2 is produced it begins to apply pressure which makes the dough rise. If the bread is not allowed to expand enough it may rise in the oven. If it is allowed to expand for too long, it may be "over-proofed" and deflate the dough.
Bakeries and CO2 Safety
Bakeries working around yeast use the RAD-0102-6 CO2 safety alarm to provide employees with the ability to visibly measure the CO2 levels and trigger an exhaust fan should CO2 levels increase to a harmful level.
A recent Bloomberg study stated, "The equivalent of half a kilogram of carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere for every loaf of bread produced in the UK".
This is just one safety example of CO2 in regards to baking and why use of a CO2 safety monitor to can provide safety solutions to those in and around this invisible, deadly gas.
Aside from just implementation of CO2 in bread baking, another application which involves CO2 in bakeries is the cryogenic freezing of baked goods. In order to freeze a product for preservation, many industries in the baking fields use liquid nitrogen or CO2 as a freezing agent.
According to Baking Business, "Bakeries freeze raw, par-baked and fully-baked foods to extend shelf life, retain moisture and flavor, and increase distribution capabilities."
Whether you are preserving baked goods with nitrogen or looking to gain the perfect appearance and volume in bread making with CO2 - the gases are all commonly used and safety solutions are available.
The team at CO2Meter is proud to have the opportunity to provide technologies and protect customers and workers near stored inert gases such as Carbon dioxide, or even Nitrogen in cryogenic applications.
For more information on our products in food preparation visit our website here.