Baking and Pastry Additives for the Professional

Have you ever wondered why some cakes or pastries that you buy from pastry shops have that “X-factor”, both in taste or texture, which can’t be reproduced at home no matter how hard you try? The reason is because professionals have access to an arsenal of specialized additives that enable them to push the envelope of taste and texture in their creations.

The subject of additives is a very technical one and covers a broad spectrum of products ranging from emulsifiers, gelling agents, sweeteners, cake and dough improvers, flavor enhancers, and others. I do not claim to be an expert in these areas nor is this blog posting intended to be an exhaustive discussion on all the additives used by professionals. My objective is, based on some of the additives that I have used in the past, to provide a brief insight into how pastry chefs achieve professional results using some of these additives.

Pastry chefs use many types of additives to enhance flavor, extend shelf life, and improve texture. Some of the more commonly known additives that are easily obtainable in the retail market are items like flavoring oils, liquid glucose, sheet gelatin, bread softeners and dough improvers. Very common within professional pastry kitchens but very difficult to find in the retail market are items such as trimoline, ice cream and sorbet stabilizers, atomized glucose, and pectin NH. A more obscure additive that I have used in the past that is not a common sight even within professional kitchens is an emulsifier called Peco 50.

As you can imagine, different additives are used in different situations to obtain specific results. Additives are generally used to obtain results that will typically fall within these three categories:

– Extend product shelf life
– Improve product texture and volume
– Enhance taste

Trimoline is a very common and extremely versatile sweetening additive that is used in confectionary, cake, and ice cream making to add sweetness and to help retain moisture which, in turn, extends the shelf life of the product.

Products like cake improvers will help to retard moisture loss and increase the volume of sponge cake batters. Emulsifiers such as Peco 50 will help to reduce mixing times, retard moisture loss, extend shelf life and homogenize cake batters for better stability and tolerance.

Very high quality flavoring products like those from Sevarome can elevate the taste of the finished product and provide that “X-factor” that could otherwise not be achieved with more mediocre flavoring agents.

Unless you are operating a pastry business, you will not need many of these additives if you are baking at home and will be consuming your goods within a very short timeframe. Many of the additives are designed to be used in very high volume production environments where goods produced will eventually be stored for sale over an extended period of time. Also, restaurant pastry kitchens will use additives to produce certain effects for their plated creations that are typically not feasible or practical to be reproduced at home. Molecular gastronomy is one such practice that comes to mind.

When used properly, I do believe that pastry and baking additives are essential ingredients that can lift a product from mediocrity to excellence. Ultimately, the end result is to use the right balance of ingredients to produce goods that are highly palatable and visually appealing at the same time.

I’ve provided a list of a few vendors who supply additives to the professional market:

Danisco A/S
Langebrogade 1
1001 Copenhagen
Tel: +45 3266 2000
Web: Danisco
Presence in more than 40 countries

Z.A La Guide 1 43200
Yssingeaux Z.I. La Guide
Tél : +33 4 71 59 04 78
Fax : +33 4 71 65 54 24
Web: Sevarome

Parc d’affaires SILIC
46 Rue de Montlhery- BP 80179
F 94563 Rungis Cedex
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 60 83 95
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 60 41 44
Web: Patisfrance

Bryggvägen 12-14
SE-117 68 Stockholm
Tel: +46-8-681 56 00
Fax: +46-8-18 29 79


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23 Responses to “Baking and Pastry Additives for the Professional”

  1. TP Says:

    (playing catch-up on reading)

    I understand why additives are used. However, I have always been suspicious of them….is there any danger (uhm…may be an exaggeration there) in consuming them? LOL, I’m constantly struggling between what is good to eat and what is good for my body.

    Apparently, in Malaysia, especially, (sigh) some of these additives do not need to show in the list of ingredients of a food product.

    As usual, thanks for allowing us another peek into the pro world.


  2. stickofachef Says:

    Hi TP,

    Great to hear from you!

    I used to have the same concerns as you about consuming additives in pastries. However, after having worked with and doing some research on them, I now have no fears about using additives in my creations.

    Additives are food grade products and are typically used in small doses and unless you consume them in large volumes, they are safe for consumption.

    I used to hear people say that additives contain chemicals and aren’t safe to consume and they never use these products. If that’s the case, then I guess we shouldn’t use leavening products like baking powder or baking soda, right? Also, people enjoy commercial ice creams because of the flavour and texture and the reasons for this is because of additives like flavoured pastes and stabilizers.

    Additives are so fundamental to baking and pastries that it would be hard to be creative without them. If we use them correctly, I see no reasons why we should worry about using and consuming them (unless there are medical reasons like allergies…).

    One of the things that always bothers me about retail bakery ingredient shops in Malaysia and Singapore is that these shops seldom list down the origins or brands of the ingredients they sell. They tend to buy in volume and package the ingredients into smaller quantities and label them with just the name of the product and nothing else. Asking the shop keepers for more info will sometimes be received with snarls or the “I don’t know” and they aren’t willing to dig into the details to find out the info for you. Very frustrating to purchase in retail markets but I guess we have to live with this if we have to purchase in small volumes from these mom and pop ingredient shops.

    Cheers! 🙂

  3. TP Says:

    EEEK! Yes!! About the non-labelling of products and the helpfulness of the shop help(???). *roll eyes*

    Take care.

  4. joeel1 Says:

    hey there…

    do you know where can i get those stuff, ie: NH pectin, peco 50?.
    apparently those stuff is kinda alien here, even on specialties shop like pastry pro.

    is there any online shop that i can order it?…


    (p/s: started to work on my Patisseire of Pierre Herme book. :-p)

  5. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    If I can provide a word of advice… Some of the ingredients found in professional pastry books (like The Patisserie of Pierre Herme) are only suitable in professional environments where there is a need to produce goods that have an extended shelf life as well as situations where volume production is the focus. In the case of a home baker, it really isn’t practical (cost-wise) to purchase expensive professional level pastry additives since you won’t be using these additives in volume and most of it will go to waste if you don’t use them within the specified period (they all have expiry dates). However, if you are operating a business, then you can probably justify the cost.

    Pectin NH is typically only used in professional environments and can be purchase online at these two locations – L’epicierie or Meilleur du Chef.

    Peco 50 is something you can omit altogether. This is an additive that is practically impossible to find in retail and even if you do, you won’t find it in small quantities. At Fauchon, we used to have Peco 50 in 5 kg buckets and we only used it to make Jaconde. This additive is typically used in large volume production and it’s designed to emulsify and stablise a large egg-based batter.

    Hope this helps.

  6. joeel1 Says:

    is peco 50 somehow similar to ovalette?

  7. stickofachef Says:

    Hi joeel1,

    I have not used ovalette before and cannot comment on it.


  8. joeel1 Says:

    perhaps, i should just omit peco 50. thanks for your advise.

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    hm.. thank you ))

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  17. Jan Siena Says:

    I am a small gluten free baker in the U.S. I bake cookies, brownies, cupcakes that are gluten free. I would like to move my business to the next level and am hoping to find an additive to extend shelf life (moisture) of my products and inhibit mold growth. How can I find information on this and where would I purchase the appropriate products. Thank you very much for your help.

    (Some of my cakes are very moist to begin with, however my cookies would dry out quickly in a short period of time)

    • stickofachef Says:

      Hi Janet,

      Congrats on your decision to take your business to the next level.

      Professionals will typically use invert sugar like Trimoline to extend the shelf life of their baked goods. Unfortunately, trimoline is usually only found in professional pastry ingredient supply shops. If you would like to purchase it online, you can go to L’Epicerie.

      Hope this helps.

      Good luck with you business!

  18. Basem Muammar Says:

    What is the ingredient added to paste to make it thin and suitable for Knafe?

    • stickofachef Says:


      I’m sorry but I am not familiar with Knafe and have never made it before. I’m afraid I cannot answer your question.


  19. mohamed Says:

    Hi, Iam really so happy that I found this blog it’s answered most of my questions, keep it on.

    well, Iam going to strat a small cake buz and specifeclly is chocolate Loaf cake or pound cake .
    What I need is what to add beside recipe the to extand shlf-life and give it nice tasety and if you have anything to add to my knowladge please do.

  20. Moon Says:

    Hi Stickofachef:

    I am glad that I found your blog. I was having problems of what kind of additives to use to make my pastry more chewy for the filling and solf for the dough. Do you have any advice? Thank you


    • stickofachef Says:

      Hello Moon,

      Typically, if you want to soft and chewy bread texture, you would use a bread softener.

      Hope this helps.


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