Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Natural Dough Conditioner (Enhancer)

I’ve been buying Authentic Foods dough enhancer for my bread baking. I use it when I make cinnamon buns, challah, and pan de sal. I recently started adding it to my buttermilk white bread to make it last a little longer. The bread that I baked last Saturday is still soft and fresh. Without the enhancer the bread would be ready for bread crumbs right now.

I make the buttermilk bread once a week and the bread is great the first day but by the second day, it is a little dry. The dough enhancer definitely extends the freshness of the bread but it is pretty expensive. It costs over $5 for a little 2 ounce jar. I’ve only found one store in Denver that carries it. I go through the stuff so frequently it was costing me a small fortune. I looked at the short ingredients list and thought it shouldn't be too difficult to track down the ingredients. I looked up a few different recipes and I saw merit in mixing up a version that had more enhancing ingredients than just lecithin, ascorbic acid, tapioca and ground ginger. Below is what I've been using.

Natural Dough Conditioner
makes 1 quart

2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup lecithin granules
2 teaspoons ascorbic acid crystals or Fruit Fresh brand powder
1 box (1.75 ounces or just over 1/4 cup) powdered pectin
1 box (4 packets or approx 1/4 cup) unflavored gelatin
1 cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Mix everything together and store in a quart-sized jar. Use about 1 tablespoon per loaf of white bread and up to 3 tablespoons for a whole grain bread.

Where to buy the ingredients:
Vital Wheat gluten: I purchased mine in bulk at local natural grocer called Vitamin Cottage. The Hodgson Mills brand was purchased at a local King Soopers (Kroger, City Market, or Ralphs). It was right next to the flours in the baking aisle. King Arthur Flour also has it for sale on their website. Honeyville Food Products also has it on their website.

Lecithin granules: I also purchased this at Vitamin Cottage. The store usually sells it in bulk but they were out so I purchased a large bottle. It can also be found online at Bulk Foods.

Ascorbic acid crystals: Also at Vitamin Cottage. If you cannot find it, Fruit Fresh can be substituted. Fruit Fresh can be found in the canning aisle. Ascorbic acid crystals can also be purchased online at Bulk Foods.

Powdered pectin: I purchased the box of Sure Gel powdered pectin at Target. Most grocery stores will sell it in their canning aisle.

Unflavored gelatin: I had a box in my pantry. I don't recall where I purchased it but it can be found in most grocery stores near the Jello.

Powdered milk: Use non-instant baker's dry milk but if you cannot find it the instant Carnation brand will do. King Arthur Flour sells it on their site. I store it in an airtight Snapware container. I love Snapware and Lock & Lock containers for storing dry goods.

Ground ginger: You can find it in the spice aisle. It looks like powdered mustard. Don't use fresh ginger.

Below is a list of dough enhancers from
I’ve use malt before. I was only able to find malt barley syrup; not non-diastic malt powder. It works about the same. The malt has a distinctive flavor. I don’t care too much for it but it is a must for adding to the boiling water for bagels. I think the amounts given are assuming that you are using only one of the enhancers and not a combination because I found a recipe on the site and it said to use 1 tablespoon of the enhancer per loaf. The amount used can vary depending on the type of flour used. If making a whole grain bread you will need more vital wheat gluten.

Helps keep bread fresher longer & works with the gluten to make a lighter bread. It also helps make the bread moister and acts as a mild preservative. Made from soy or egg yolks. Comes in liquid or granular form.
Use: 1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

Non-Diastatic Malt:
Super food source for the yeast which give the bread better structure & makes the bread softer & tender. Made from dried sprouted barley and is not the same as malted milk powder. Comes in liquid or granular form.
Use: 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour

Ascorbic Acid:
Creates an acidic environment for the yeast which helps it work better. It also acts as a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth. If you can’t find pure ascorbic acid crystals you can use Fruit Fresh (canning aisle) or a crushed/powdered vitamin C tablet.
Use: 1/8 teaspoon per loaf

Dry Acid Whey:
It is the essence of buttermilk with out the milk solids. Like with Ascorbic Acid it helps create a good environment for the yeast work quickly and vigorously, giving a maximum rise in short periods of time. Acts as a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth. When buying Dry Acid Whey make sure it says “acid” on the package. If it doesn’t assume it is sweet whey which isn’t the same and won’t work correctly.
Use: 1 teaspoon per cup of flour

Vital Wheat Gluten:
Vital wheat gluten occurs naturally in all wheat and wheat derived white flours. Some white flours have more or less than others. Vital wheat gluten only does one thing, it helps improve the rise and texture of bread. Without it you have a rock, door stop, paper weight. Generally, if you are using white bread flour you don’t need to add any. However, all-purpose or whole grain flours need Vital Wheat Gluten.
1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

Pectin adds moistness to the bread and it replaces fat in the bread. This is the same pectin used to make jams and jellies. It comes in liquid and granular form. The granules are easier to work with and store.
Use: 1 teaspoon per loaf

Ginger is a yeast booster it gives it a “quick-start”, and keeps it working. Because of its astringent properties it also helps keep the bread fresher longer and it deters mold and bacterial growth. It is best to used powdered ginger in your bread. You don’t have to worry you won’t taste it in the amount used.
Use: 1/4 teaspoon per loaf

Dry Milk:
Milk helps with crust browning, bread moisture, taste and nutritional value. It also helps the dough to relax for those times you want to roll it out or shape it.
Use: 1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

Gelatin helps with bread texture and moisture. It is also of nutritional value and is good for the hair and fingernails. Make sure to use unflavored gelatin.
Use: 1 teaspoon per loaf

Fats. Fats help with taste, texture and the moisture of the bread. Most French bread recipes don’t contain fat as it takes away the chewiness of the bread. You don’t need to be worried about the fat content of most bread. Most recipes use a tablespoon or two and that is for the whole loaf. A single slice is very low in fat.
1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

Eggs add rise, color, texture and taste to bread. Also, if you use the yolk as well you get some of the effects like using lecithin.
Use: 1 large egg replaces about 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe.

Buttermilk helps the yeast work quickly and vigorously, giving maximum rise in the time frame allotted by bread machines. It also softens the texture of the bread. Like with any acid type addition it also helps keep the bread fresher longer and it deters mold and bacterial growth. You may need to add 1/2 to 1 tsp. of baking soda to the bread to offset the tartness of the buttermilk.
Use: 1/2 Cup replaces the same amount of other liquid in
the recipe.

Garlic is a flavoring in larger amounts, but in smaller amounts it helps the yeast, it make the dough easier to roll out and it is a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth.
Use: 1 teaspoon per loaf, will affect flavor

Cake Flour:
Cake flour makes for a softer more tender bread. It also makes a good addition to pizza dough as it helps make rolling out the dough easier. However cake flour at high altitude is very finicky.
Use: Replace up to 1/4 of the flour called for in the recipe(no more).

Authentic Foods brand Dough Enhancer. It is Gluten Free and Wheat Free. It is mainly lecithin granules with a dash of ascorbic acid, ground ginger, and tapioca flour.

See the granules look just like lecithin granules:
Below is the lecithin granules on top of the vital wheat gluten.


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Dan said...

This is a cool description of dough conditioners. I was looking up powdered milk because my friend told me a secret pizza dough recipe for whole wheat crust that included it.


GW said...

I made up a batch of dough conditioner similar to yours, from a different website and it works well. When I run out, I'll try yours. In our town, we are very fortunate to have a wonderful Mennonite bulk food store that carries all kinds of baking ingredients. It's hard for me to keep from buying all kinds of different grains just to experiment!

My husband and I don't go through a lot of bread, though, so I must exercise restraint. I'm looking for excuses to bake for others, though! Potlucks, anyone? Does the crew over at the local fire station need a boost? Shut-ins need a little home-baked love? Stressed single mom need some comfort? I figure, all are great opportunities to use a God-given passion to help others. :)

Can't wait to read more of your blog.

Glenda said...

What Denver store did you find dough conditioner at??? Thanks!

malisa said...

I buy the Authentic Foods brand dough conditioner at Vitamin Cottage.

christina said...

Does this need to be refrigerated?

malisa said...

christina -- no refrigeration is necessary. i simply keep it in an airtight container.

niceyfemme said...

Thanks for this. I love all the info and I will try all these out.

okbye said...

Does this work on cakes?

Aunt DCW said...

Love this site so much, have wanted to lean more about dough conditioners. You have explained it so I am ready to bake more. I had to get a Breadmachine due to arthritis in my hands n fingers, but now I can have it make the right dough to be rolled out with ease.

prathista india said...

I would like to recommend your article on Milk Enhancers. For further information, you can refer Milk Enhancers

prathista india said...

I would like to recommend your article on Milk Enhancers. For further information, you can refer Milk Enhancers

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