Vitamen c in bread baking - problem - seems to kill the yeast

Joined Jun 23, 2011
Hi, a newbie to this forum, joining after reading a 2009 post in the forum about Vitamen C in bread baking. I hope someone can help with a problem I have. I am UK based so my ingredients are from what we have here. I describe my recipe so in case it explains my problem when using Vitamen C.

I have baked bread using a breadmaker for several years producing 2 or 3 loaves a week and refined my recipe and mix and balance of flours and ingredients to create a very tasty, high rise and soft wholemeal loaf using 455g flour as a mix of 17% mix grain flour (contains rye and malted wheat and barley), 15% very strong white, 25% strong wholemeal and 15% spelt - all organic flours and the balance is Hovis Premium flour.

The addition of the malted flour mix creates a bread which when toasted becomes light but slightly chewy instead of being dried out. The Hovis Premium flour ensures a good rise. Everyone who eats it, as bread or toast becomes 'addicted' to asking for it every time they visit.

For the 455 g of flours I use 1 tblsp of olive oil and 1 tblsp of Stork soft marg; 1 and a 1/4 tsp of salt; a very slightly heaped tsp of instant yeast; and 1 and 1/3 cups (330g) of warm water.

When baked, the loaf has a lovely rounded top that does not collapse.The only slight problem is that the top quarter of the loaf is a bit more light and aerated than the lower part. I find that putting all ingredients in the breadmaker with salt and yeast placed on top and giving the programme a 4hr to 8hr delay (so fresh bread for breakfast is 1 hour old) produces the best rise. Starting the programme immediately or less than 1.5 hour delays produces a lower rise and a varying amount of rise - up to 20% less.

To try and cure the slightly more aerated top having read about Vitamen C, I tried a 1/2 tspn of baking quality powdered Vitamen C and the loaf became far more consistent in the distribution of aeration. I add the Vitamen C with the yeast and salt on top of the flour mix, as recommended in the Vit C instructions.

BUT, the next time when I used the recommended 1 tspn, the bread collapsed to half height and the yeast smelt very stringent, /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  gross !!

Next time I used a 1/4 tspn, same result. I tried again with the 1/2 tspn, same collapse. I tried baking the bread with Vit C immediately and with delay. All efforts apart from the first time produce a half height solid inedible and stringent smelling loaf /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif. I kept the Vit C dry in its capped container. Nothing else changed in my recipe. Its only been 2 weeks since I bought the Vit C which was new stock in the shop - they have just opened up in our town and is a reputable national chain of cooking suppliers.

Does anyone know what could be wrong ? If I leave the Vit C out, I get my usual full rise tasy loaf, but, would like to achieve the result I first got with the Vit C.

Regards Jonathan
Joined Jul 28, 2001
Hi Nextenso,

  I have a quick question. Does your salt and yeast ever touch each other? Salt will kill of some of the yeast.


Joined Jun 14, 2002
1) Too much Vitamin C.

2) Your mix is very heavy on whole grain flours. This hurts dough structure.

3) The malt component in your mix grain flour is probably diastatic. This means that it has active enzymes that are eating away at your dough structure. Either reduce the amount, reduce the time it has to work, or use a non-diastatic malt product.

4) Your whole grain products could be going off. Whole grain products are generally, and organic's specifically, are prone to rancidity. This could account for bad tastes and aromas.

5) Bad yeast. Old yeast can cause funky taste and poor activity.
Joined Jun 23, 2011
Many thanks for the replies, I was expecting the forum to send a notification when reply made, so did not realise there were replies, until I went in to the forum today. The tick box for immediate notifications was set as immediate.

I was wondering about the malted part. The flour mix is one I have used for over a year and with 2 or 3 loaves a week,   buying 1 kg bags of flour, the ingredients are always fresh. I checked the yeast, it is dated 2013, anyway, I buy a pack of 6 sachets every 2 weeks. The loaf when baked is very light and airy to eat with good structure, and rises to a 6 to 7 inch height on a 450g total flour content.

One thing that did happen just before was that we had 3 very hot days (hot for us at 32 deg C) which were also humid days. All ingredients are kept in a dry and cool cupboard, but, those 3 days could have got the cupboard warmer. I will change to a fresh set of flours, andtry a 1/4 teaspoon of Vit C to 450g flours. Will post back the result.

Many thanks again. Rgds Jonathan

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