Jun 3, 2009, 12:00 PM
Post #9 of 14
well i just did a quick little bit of wikipedia and google, and the wiki page says
Re: [ursa minor] L-cysteine in bagels, bleah
[In reply to]
Can't Post - Read Only Forum!
At the present time, the cheapest source of material from which food-grade L-cysteine may be purified in high yield is by hydrolysis of human hair. Other sources include feathers and pig bristles.[citations needed]The companies producing cysteine by hydrolysis are located mainly in China. There is some debate as to whether or not consuming L-cysteine derived from human hair constitutes cannibalism. Although many other amino acids were accessible via fermentation for some years, L-cysteine was unavailable until 2001 when German company Wacker Chemie introduced a production route via fermentation (non-human, non-animal origin).
so cheapness is definitely a factor. raise your hand if you're surprised, haha. i also found this site, which says
Additives perform a variety of useful functions in foods that consumers often take for granted. Some additives could be eliminated if we were willing to grow our own food, harvest and grind it, spend many hours cooking and canning, or accept increased risks of food spoilage. But most consumers today rely on the many technological, aesthetic and convenient benefits that additives provide.
so laziness is also a factor. the first google site for the search "purpose of dough improving agents," though, is this patent site which says that improving agents were created to improve commercially sold frozen doughs, which i actually thought was funny because it reminded me of the time my friend brought a frozen loaf of challah to our house; it had been in her freezer for years, and you're supposed to take it out of the freezer and let it rise before you bake it. but it had been frozen for so long that when it defrosted it was just this sad, thin, limp piece of dough. it looked hysterical and it really showed how old it was, but it also makes me think now that it was because it was a kosher food and probably didn't contain these mysterious improving agents. i definitely feel more comfortable knowing why challah is not immortal.
(This post was edited by amelia on Jun 3, 2009, 12:02 PM)