What is vol and what is its function in biscuit doughs
Vol is a baker's term that is applied to ammonium carbonate. It is used as an aerating agent and does not require the addition of an acid in order to evolve carbon dioxide. It also differs from other aerating agents in that it evolves almost no gas in the cold and decomposes under the influence of heat to yield three gases: ammonia, carbon dioxide and water vapour (steam).
The evolution of ammonia restricts the use of vol. Ammonia is readily soluble in the liquid phase and will remain in the product if sufficient water remains after baking. This is the case with cakes where the use of vol will leave an unpleasant ammonia taste and smell. In biscuits, however, the degree of heat input required to drive off almost all of the water ensures that the majority of the ammonia is also driven off so that the effect on taste and flavour is not detectable.
There are a number of reasons why vol has been used in the baking industry:
• The volume yield of gases is considerable for a given weight of material.
• The complete decomposition and the absence of an aerating acid means that there are no salts left in the product that may yield unacceptable flavours.
• The minimal release of gas in the cold permits the mixing of large batches of dough and extended processing times without significant change in paste density or loss of aeration before baking.
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