Sodium stearoyl lactylate is a white or light yellow powder or a brittle solid with a characteristic smell. It is a combination of sodium salts of stearoyl lactylic acids and minor proportions of sodium salts of related acids. It is a plant-derived ingredient. Sodium stearoyl lactylate is used in hundreds of personal care and cosmetic products, including moisturizer, sunscreen, baby lotion, conditioner, foundation, body wash and other products. It does not dissolve in water.
It is one type of a commercially available lactylate. SSL is non-toxic, biodegradable, and typically manufactured using biorenewable feedstocks.Because SSL is a safe and highly effective food additive, it is used in a wide variety of products ranging from baked goods and desserts to pet foods.
Sodium stearoyl lactylate is primarily used for its emulsifying and stabilizing properties in food and cosmetics. In food, SSL mixes water and oil together and mostly used as a dough strengthener and crumb softener in bakery; in cosmetics, it is a viscosity enhancer and conditioner.
SSL is mainly used in high fat & yeast-leavened bread as a dough conditioner/emulsifier for the purposes of:
- dough strengthening: increase volume and obtain a better crumb structure
- crumb softening: interacts with flour to form gluten proteins/starch/lactylate complex which produce a soft and elastic bread and prevents bread retrogradation (aging)
If without SSL, the loaf will become hardened.
It is also used in cookies, crackers, pastries, noodles, and the like to improve the texture, mouthfeel and prolong the freshness or shelf time. In cookie and cracker, SSL is used to distribute shortening uniformly in the dough.
SSL can be directly added to flour or dispersed in warm water and then blended with flour for use.