pH of Bread

by Katrina Sanga

Behind every slice and loaf of bread is water and pH. Bakers and bread-makers all know the importance of the hardness or softness of water in making bread. Before a loaf can be formed, all bread starts off as dough. It is in this process where water will be of considerable importance in shaping the quality of the bread.

Water takes up about 40% of bread dough mass. Almost half of the dough is made from water, signifying the importance of the liquid. The quality, the acidity, and the pH of water are all interrelated to the end result of the bread. In order to produce and deliver a loaf of bread customers will enjoy, monitoring pH levels of the water and the dough will be necessary. Every detail counts—including the acidity and alkalinity of the water.

What does the pH of water affect?
The acidity of the water used in bread will affect yeast activity in the bread as well the growth of any other organisms in the bread. In return, organism activity and yeast will also have an affect on the pH level. It is important to constantly monitor the pH since it will signal to the baker whether anything is wrong in the bread and if anything else needs to be added.

When the water used in bread dough has a high pH level (alkaline), this will produce an undesired effect on the bread. Water that is “harder” has more amounts of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. And vice versa, water that is “softer” has lesser amounts of calcium and magnesium ions. When making bread, water that has medium hardness is the most ideal. Bakers can track the hardness of water by measuring the pH levels. Water that is slightly acidic—a pH level just a little bit below 7—is what most dedicated bread-makers use.

The other influence water can have on bread is not just in the dough but also in the steam. Many bakers will inject water steam into the oven while the bread is being formed. Injected water allows the loaf to have a shiny surface, gives the bread a rich color, and makes the bread bigger and fuller. Since steam will have a profound effect on the bread, the pH of the water before it is steamed should be checked to ensure proper acidity and hardness of the water.

pH Meter
Bakers are attentive to the details and processes of their products. From the dough to the finished warm loaf, bread-makers go to extreme lengths to give their clients a finished product they can be proud of. Good bread does not happen by chance but by careful calculation of all the ingredients used—and this includes water.

To be able to take the pH level of water, purchasing a PH-1 meter will be beneficial and helpful. Sensorex’s PH-1 meter is affordable, dependable, and portable. By attaching the meter to an iPhone®, iPod®, or iPad®, the user can calibrate the pH level of water in bread dough virtually anywhere. It is important to calibrate the pH of water when making bread to ensure a delicious and perfect loaf in the end. Combining a PH-1 meter, a mobile device, and a pH electrode will now allow bread-makers the ease of monitoring the water for their bread without having to leave the sanctuary of their bakery or kitchen. Available on http://ph1phmeter.com/store/, the PH-1 meter will make monitoring the pH level of water easier and faster.

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