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DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides, also E472e) is an emulsifier primarily used in baking to create a strong gluten network in dough. It is added to crusty breads, such as rye to impart a springy, chewy texture, as well as in the production of biscuits, coffee whiteners, salsa con queso, ice cream, and salad dressings.
Although the exact mechanism is not well understood, DATEM appears to interact with the hydrophobic parts of gluten, helping its proteins unfold and form cross-linked structures. DATEM is composed of mixed esters of glycerin in which one or more of the hydroxyl groups of glycerin has been esterified by diacetyl tartaric acid and by fatty acids. The ingredient is prepared by the reaction of diacetyl tartaric anhydride with mono- and diglycerides that are derived from edible sources. The major components are a glycerol molecule with a stearic acid residue, a diacetyltartaric acid residue and a free secondary hydroxyl group.
Unlike other commercially used dough emulsifiers, DATEM does not form starch complexes. Its main function is as a strengthener. Typically DATEM is 0.375 to 0.5% of the total flour weight in most commercial baking.
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