Dough Enhancer

Twice in the past couple of months I've made my Saturday bread without the addition of dough enhancer. "Surely it can't make that much difference," I thought. Wrong. Both of the batches I made when I'd run out of the ingredients to make dough enhancer were crumbly and didn't rise well. The addition of just a bit of dough enhancer makes a huge difference in the texture and quality of whole wheat bread. The other essential is freshly milled flour made from a high quality hard winter wheat. My preference is Prairie Gold white wheat.

Homemade Dough Enhancer:
2 c. wheat gluten
1 c. soy lecithin granules
1 T. ginger
1 T. ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C)

Mix ingredients and store at room temperature. As you add your flour to your dough, add in a quantity of dough enhancer equal to the amount of yeast in your recipe.

Why it works (some guesswork here):
Gluten is what supports the dough as it rises. You are developing gluten as you knead your dough. Whole wheat flour does not have as much gluten as white flour, so adding some extra helps. The ginger boosts the action of the yeast and the ascorbic acid strengthens the gluten. The lecithin acts as a lubricant, helping the strands of gluten slide along one another, thus helping the bread rise.


Candice Haase said…
I stumbled on to your blog doing some bread research and discovered this post. I had a question for you.

Where do you get wheat gluten, soy lecithin granules, and ascorbic acid powder. I assume you just can't run down to your super walmart and find it sitting on the shelf....or am I wrong?
Anne said…
Candice -

I purchase the gluten, lecithin, and ascorbic acid at a natural foods grocery. You might be able to find ascorbic acid at a regular grocery, though. It is just vitamin C, and is sometimes sold as "Fruit Fresh" or something like that in the canning section. You use it to prevent fruit from browning.

Some bread baking suppliers sell ready made dough enhancers, but they tend to be pricey. The ingredients can be somewhat so as well, but much less than buying the pre-made enhancer. And it really does make a difference!

Of the ingredients, probably the gluten is the most important.

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