Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
Sodium stearoyl lactylate, better known as SSL, is a food additive that has several qualities desired by food producers. It helps strengthen dough, mixes liquids and oils together, and it can even replace some fat and sugar. It is used in a variety of commercially baked goods and processed foods, including breads, sour cream, salad dressings, soups, cheese products, crackers, cookies and puddings.Â As an emulsifier, sodium stearoyl lactylate, or SSL, enables liquids that do not mix together, such as oil and water, to remain suspended together without separating. In bread products, the addition of an emulsifier improves water absorption, allowing manufacturers to get more loaves from the same amount of ingredients. It also improves the efficiency of fermentation and slicing of the finished bread product. Some believe it also improves taste. SSL is an excellent emulsifying agent because it maintains the suspension for a long period of time.Â SSL's ability to create and trap air bubbles allows it to act as a foaming agent. Some familiar, natural foaming agents include egg whites and heavy cream, which trap air bubbles and transform into fluffy foams when they're whipped. SSL is also used as a whipping agent that produces fluffiness in artificial whipped cream, icings and fillings.Â The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Material Safety and Data Sheet on SSL report that it's a safe product. As an individual chemical, SSL may cause slight skin or eye irritation, and if inhaled in its pure form, it may be slightly irritating to the respiratory tract. However, as a food additive, SSL is not used in the form of the pure chemical, so it is not hazardous or toxic.