If you've ever prepared dough for desserts ahead of time, you've probably wondered how to prevent dough discoloration before you pop your treat in the oven. A lot of bakers — both home cooks and professional chefs — have asked themselves that question, especially since discolored dough can make the final product look less appetizing. Recent research shows that there may be an easy and all-natural solution to that pesky aesthetic problem.
The November 2018 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a combination of white wine and lemon juice is the best way to prevent dough discoloration when prepping baked goods ahead of time. Researchers first began the study by testing a few different synthetic — or chemical — additives to see what effects they had on the dough. While a few of those artificial ingredients had positive effects on the dough color, researchers wanted to see if any natural ingredients would also help the dough retain its white shade. Results showed that combining white wine and lemon juice to use in small amounts as an additive did the best job of preventing the dough from changing color.
As you may be aware, the doughs for pies, cakes, and other baked goods are most susceptible to this problem if they're prepared days or weeks before they actually go in the oven. This is due to a chemical process called enzymatic browning, which is the same process that causes bananas to go brown. Of course, this is far less likely to happen if you pop your treat in the oven immediately — but as we all know, this isn't always a possibility.
So, the next time you're preparing a lot of dough ahead of time for a homemade pie or cake, you can try adding a bit of the wine-lemon combo to the mixture. There's nothing that beats that golden-brown pastry glow — but only after it comes out of the oven!