Calcium Propionate


What is Calcium Propionate?

Calcium propionate is a food preservative that forms an environment that prevents mould and aerobic bacteria growth. As such, it can prolong the lifespan of baked foods significantly.

Calcium propionate is one of the longest-standing food preservatives of modern times. It was first discovered in 1906 and has been in use on a mass scale since the 1930s. It’s primarily marketed as a preservative for baked foods, though it’s suitable – but less so than some other alternatives – for use in different types of food, from cheeses to gelatins, and puddings.

The Key Characteristics of Calcium Propionate

Calcium propionate produced when propionic acid neutralized with calcium hydroxide. It functions by inhibiting the growth of aerobic microbe cells within the food.

The effects of calcium propionate react differently around various pH levels. At pH ranges higher than 5.5 – it’s optimal pH level, it becomes less effective, requiring as much as a 500 fold increase to remain active enough to preserve food. As such, beyond its optimal pH level, it becomes a less-preferred preservative compared to alternatives such as salts of benzoic or sorbic acid.

Also, calcium propionate is the preferred preservative for bread and rolls because it doesn’t interact with yeast. But if used excessively in cake, it can disrupt the cake’s leavening process. Hence, it’s mostly ideal for bread and rolls but not for cakes.

Uses of Calcium Propionate

Calcium Propionate often used to prevent mould growth in bread. The ingredient added during the dough phase at optimal pH levels. The quantity needed to use depends on the duration required for the food’s shelf-life.
The recommended usage is 0.1-0.3% of the dry four weight. In some jurisdictions, this recommended rate is legally enforceable.

In the right measures, calcium propionate is ideal for use in food beside baked goods, including cheeses, confections, fillings, jams, gelatins, and jellies.