First, let's figure it out: what is titanium dioxide? Titanium dioxide is a dietary supplement that has whitening (brightening) properties, marked as E171. The supplement doesn’t affect the taste and the smell of the finished product. It is a white dye that can be bought in any candy store in liquid or a dry form (more often).
Titanium dioxide is considered safe and approved for use in all the countries of the world; it is used for giving an attractive presentation of the chewing gum, crab sticks, confectionery, milk and many other products.
But we all understand that “safe” does not mean “useful”.
Therefore, we would like to figure out when the use of the titanium dioxide is justified, and when you can cook without it. Each pastry chef has a certain vision of the final result, his own creative idea, when creating a dessert; so we will talk about the justification for adding titanium dioxide rather as an impossibility to avoid it.
- Unlike the other dyes, which are classified as water- and fat-soluble, titanium dioxide is versatile; it’s suitable for coloring water-based and fat-based products. You can color all types of products: cream, sugar paste, chocolate, frosting, biscuit and many others.
- Speaking about white chocolate, like box candies or bars, where the presence of exactly white color is obligatory, such an effect can be achieved only by adding titanium dioxide (because you can’t choose a lighter shade of butter or cream as is the case with the biscuit or the crème).
- The titanium dioxide addition is justified when preparing mirror glaze for the mousse cakes - this way we achieve its opacity. Adding a small amount of titanium dioxide will make the color more dense; this effect will not be superfluous even when cooking the colored glaze. This is especially true, if the cake mousse itself is a rich color, such as blueberry or chocolate.
- The most popular question among private pastry chefs nowadays is how to achieve the white cheese crème color. The most popular answer is to add some titanium dioxide. Still, if the crème has been cooked correctly from good ingredients, then it should be slightly yellowish, but not yellow.
- The slight yellowness of the butter-based crème is noticeable only when compared with a snow-white sheet of paper. The bleached crème will look more like a ceiling paint than a defiant appetite dessert. Plus, the addition of a large amount of dye can harm the texture of the crème; it will become inconvenient to work with. But if you still want to avoid yellowness of the crème, as mentioned above, then you better choose the butter in light colors or the cream-based custard.
Whether to use titanium dioxide or not is a purely individual matter, but you should weigh all the PROS and CONS before using it, and evaluate the rationality of use. Remember: despite the relative safety of many supplements, they are unlikely to be useful.