1. Raw materials

1.4. Improvers

Bread improvers (or dough conditioners as they are called in the United States) are additives which are used in small quantities in order to improve the quality of the bread. Some of them are baking aids i.e. it is not possible to find them back in the final loaf, so they don't have to be declared.

In earlier times, baking was a profession where appropriate time could be allocated to mixing, fermentation, proofing and the baking of bread. Adjustments could be made, as needed, for changes in flour, yeast activity, temperature, humidity, and any other environmental conditions that might occur. Today, the bread making operation is largely mechanized, and we desire to produce the same loaf of bread, roll or pizza crust every hour of every day, year after year. The use of dough conditioners has enabled the baker to overcome these challenges and produce uniform, high quality baked goods.

Dough conditioners are used:

  1. to decrease production time and speed up the bread-making process
  2. to increase dough tolerance to mechanical stresses applied in automated processes
  3. to adjust to geographic location, time of year, and variations in raw materials
  4. to extend shelf life

Important dough characteristics influenced by dough conditioners include:

  1. increased dough strength through oxidation of the protein molecules to improve gas retention during proofing and handling
  2. increased dough machinability or extensibility through the action of reducing agents, proteases and/or surfactants
  3. affect the rate and extent of water absorption by starch and protein molecules

Bread improvers are mixes of various functional ingredients such as sugar, milk solids vital wheat gluten, malt, enzymes, ascorbic acid, emulsifiers which are normally mixed with flour which serves as carrier. Obviously similar products exist for sweet goods, such as Danish pastries, cakes, muffins etc.


Sugar's main function is to provide food for the yeast. In normal bread production, 3,0 to 3,5 % fermentable solids are required to sustain yeast activity. This food supply can come from added sugar or from the enzymatic conversion of the starch to sugar or from a combination of both. Therefore sugar is not an essential ingredient.

Starch indeed belongs chemically to the group of carbohydrates : it is a long chain of glucose units and according to its structure there are two kinds :

Glucose, fructose and galactose are monosaccharides; sucrose, lactose and maltose are disaccharides. Dextrins also contain a large number of glucose units but not as much as starch.

Secondary functions of sugar are related to sugar that is not metabolised by the yeast and which is called residual sugar. As residual sugar levels are higher, crust colour is darker, taste is sweeter, and moisture retention is improved due to the hygroscopic properties of sugar.

There are many kinds of sugar used in the industry. The most common is 42 HFCS (42 high fructose corn syrup). The 42 means that 42 % of the 71 % solids found in the corn syrup is fructose. Higher numbers mean that the fructose content of the syrup is higher and hence the syrup will taste sweeter.

Different sugars also give a different sensation of sweetness. Take for instance glucose and fructose which chemically have exactly the same formula (C6H12O6) but the molecule has a different structure. Fructose is a so-called 5-ring, while glucose is a 6-ring.

It is commonly known that fructose is about twice as sweet as glucose. The following table gives an overview of the relative sweetness of different sugars :



Lactose and maltose have the following molecular structure.


The main difference is however that lactose is a non-fermentable sugar : it will not be metabolised by the yeast and remain in the dough. In view of it's rather low sweetness, it will not give a sweeter product but it will influence the crust colour (Maillard reaction) and because of its hygroscopic nature delay staling.

Sugar has the same effect as salt : if too much is used, yeast activity will slow down. This effect can be seen from a 5 6 % sugar level. In order to compensate one can add more yeast. The sugar/yeast ratio should be 3/1. If you want to make a product that contains 15 % of sugar, the yeast level should be 5 % (baker's percentage).

Finally one should remember there are also "natural" sugars such as honey and fruit juices.

Milk and milk substitutes

Milk products serve a number of functions in a batter cake system. When milk solids are used, they bind with proteins from the flour and eggs to act as thougheners They also assist in retaining moisture in the finished cake. Liquid milk, on the other hand, is a moistener that hydrates the other ingredients. Milk products in general add to the nutritional quality of cakes due to their calcium and protein contents. They also contribute to the flavour profile as well as adding colour through Maillard browning and caramelisation.

They primarily function as nutritional supplements. Milk is high in lysine (an essential amino acid) and calcium and the overall nutritional quality of the milk protein is excellent. European bakers prefer the use of liquid milk above the use of powder milk. Liquid milk may be less user friendly (storage, perishable), however it has the advantage that no dry matter remains in the product. Indeed, milk powder (or rather the denaturated proteins present in the milk powder) will not dissolve completely in the water and remain as dry solids in the crumb. This will give a dryer, less moist crumb. However it should be kept in mind that the fresh milk must have been heat treated because the serum protein in milk has a weakening effect upon the gluten protein in wheat flour (at 82°C for 1 - 2 minutes).

Besides improving nutritional quality, milk improves the flavour if used in a high enough amount, the dough handling and overall processing tolerance :

Traditionally, non-fat dry milk (NFDM) has been used in layer cakes at the 10 % (baker's percentage) level. At the 10 % level, NFDM toughens the cake crumb and gives it resilience for improved handling characteristics. This effect is achieved by the casein portion of the milk protein and the calcium ions present in milk. Although most bakers use milk solids subjected to high-heat treatment, this treatment is not necessary for high sugar layer cakes. Untreated milk has an adverse effect on the gluten structure in yeast-leavened bakery foods, but not in chemically leavened products.

Even though many different milk replacers are available to the baking industry, only those formulated with caseinate have been found to be as functional as NFDM in layer cakes. Bakers using replacers based on soy protein isolates and whey protein concentrates often find it necessary to reformulate their cakes. Many bakers have simply reduced the amount of NFDM in their cakes, often to as low as 5%, to compensate for the increased cost of this ingredient. Most functional milk replacers for cakes utilise whey. But, if used by itself in place of NFDM, whey will produce very tender and fragile layer cakes. Some milk replacers producing poor quality layer cakes may still produce snack cakes of good quality. The relatively small size of snack cakes makes them less subject to breakage, especially when they receive a good bake from the bottom to form a strong sidewall.

Buttermilk can be used as acid source in baking powder as it contains lactic acid. Buttermilk is actually lower in fat than milk. The "butter" in the word buttermilk is not a reference to its butteriness, but rather an explanation of where this versatile fermented beverage comes from. Buttermilk is made by an industrial process that has little to do with making butter. First, a bacteria culture is added to pasteurized whole milk or, more commonly, skim or non-fat milk. Flecks of butter may or may not be added as well. After the addition of the bacteria, the milk is left to ferment for 12 to 14 hours at a low temperature (optimum around 21°C).

Traditional buttermilk is the liquid left after butter making from fermented cream or milk, which has been fermented by naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria (LAB) (Libudzisz and Stepaniak 2003; Sodini et al. 2006). It contains 3.5–4.9 g /100 ml lactose, 0.5 g/100 ml lactic acid, 2.7–3.8 g/100 ml protein and 0.6–0.75 g/100 ml ash. Cultured buttermilk, however, is a commercial product made by the fermentation of pasteurised skim milk by the action of a mixed strain starter culture consisting of Lactococcus lactis subspecies cremoris and lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides spp. cremoris (Libudzisz and Stepaniak 2003).

To remember: milk solids are regarded as thoughners, while liquid milk is considered a moistener.

Vital wheat gluten

Vital wheat gluten is the natural wheat protein extracted from flour which still retains all of its gluten forming characteristics. It is added to the dough to help strengthen a weak flour or to obtain additional loaf volume. A 1 % addition of wheat gluten will increase the flour protein content by 0,6 % and increase the absorption by 1,5 %. By adding wheat gluten to the recipe, mixing and fermentation times are generally increased and tolerances improve.

It is the insoluble protein portion of wheat flour that has been separated, washed, and dried so that it contains about 75 to 80 percent protein. Gluten is used to raise the protein content and absorption of flour, increase dough tolerance, and improve the volume and crumb texture of the finished product. They mainly are used in systems where the gluten network is weak or where it has to carry extra ingredients such as raisins (example panettone which contains lots of butter, raisins, candied fruit etc.), different types of grains, extra fibres (whole wheat bread) etc.

Generally for best performance, when using sponge & dough technology, vital wheat gluten should be added to the sponge. The additional fermentation time produces better hydration and mellowing. The dough mixing requirement is reduced by this procedure and the gluten performance is somewhat more efficient.


Malting is a process applied to cereal grains, in which the grains are made to germinate by soaking in water and are then quickly halted from germinating further by drying/heating with hot air. Thus, malting is a combination of two processes: the sprouting process and the kiln-drying process. Kilns are thermally insulated chambers, or ovens, in which controlled temperature regimes are produced. They are used to harden, burn or dry materials. In the bakery it is not unusual to add malted wheat, malted wheat flour, malted barley flour or any combination of these to wheat flour.

The malt used in the bakery is prepared from a cereal grain, usually barley, by moistening the grain with water, allowing it to germinate (sprout) under controlled conditions, drying it with warm circulating air and removing the sprout. The natural processes accompanying sprouting create or release in active form large quantities of enzymes such as a- and -amylases. Malt flour is the ground modified grain.

Diastatic malt flour contains these active enzymes whereas in non-diastatic malt the enzymes have been deactivated. The non-diastatic malt flour is used mainly to supply flavour and colour to baked products. The reasons for the use of malt supplementation are principally:

The amylolytic enzymes of importance to bakers are a-amylase (or dextrinising amylase) and -amylase (saccharifying enzyme). a-Amylase splits the starch molecules at random, producing dextrins of various molecular sizes and also reduces the viscosity of the susceptible starch suspensions. -Amylase acts on the end of the starch molecule, resulting in the progressive release of maltose. However this enzyme cannot attack the starch molecule inside the points at which it is branched.

When the two enzymes work in conjunction, a much greater conversion of starch into fermentable sugars (mainly maltose and glucose) results than when either of them acts alone. This combined action is typical of malt containing both amylolytic enzymes. Diastatic malt syrup is also used in some formulations. Malt syrups are concentrated water extracts of the malted grain. There are also blends of malt syrup with corn syrup and they are being sold in both liquid and dried forms.

Malt is fairly high in vitamins and essential amino acids and from this point of view it is a nutritionally valuable additive. Vitamins occurring in malt are biotin, niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine and choline (belongs to the vitamin B group).

Both diastatic and non-diastatic malt contain considerable quantities of sugars, including glucose and maltose. The first one is rapidly consumed by the yeast during fermentation, the second one is fermented by yeast late in the bread making process when glucose and fructose have been used up.

There are two ways of getting maltose into the dough. One method is to add the sugar to the dough in the form of malt (or high maltose corn syrup) and the other is to rely on the production of maltose from the flour starch by diastatic enzymes. In recent years, the enzymatic action of diastatic malt syrup has been mostly replaced by standardised enzymes isolated from bacterial or fungal cultures.

Diastatic malt

Diastatic malt products differ from their non-diastatic counterparts in possessing considerable enzymatic activity. The malted grain from which these products are derived is like a hypermarket for enzymes, most of which have never been adequately investigated. The two types which are of importance to the baker are proteolytic enzymes and amylolytic enzymes.

The action of a-amylase and -amylase have been described (see above or scroll down to read the part on enzymes).

The action of -amylase on undamaged starch and ungelatinised starch granules is very slow. a-Amylase does attack granules with no visible damage at an appreciable rate. Both enzymes attack gelatinised starch very rapidly but this reaction cannot be of much importance in the bread making process because the starch in dough does not become gelatinised until virtually all of the enzyme activity has been destroyed by heat. Starch granules which have been mechanically damaged during milling are also broken down by both enzymes. Perhaps 3 or 4 % of the starch granules is visibly damaged. This mechanical damage is due to shearing forces and pressures encountered during the milling process. Consequently the proportion of damaged granules is a function of the milling conditions and may vary not only from mill to mill but also between flours of different extraction rates. However flours of similar extraction made from the same types of wheat (hardness of the wheat kernel) and ground at the same mill should contain a rather constant proportion of damaged starch.

The capacity of malt to convert starch into reducing sugars is expressed as the Linter value (L) or as maltose equivalent. When using the standard AACC method degrees Linter equal about 1/4th of the maltose value. In each system, the rating of non-diastatic malt is theoretically zero although in practice malts of 10L or less are classified as non-diastatic malt. A good barley malt flour might rate as high as 125L. Commercially available diastatic malt syrups usually have ratings of 20, 40 or 60L and are described as low, medium or high diastatic malts respectively.

A malt has a diastatic power of 100L if 0,1 ml of a clear 5 % infusion of the malt, acting on 100 ml of a 2% starch solution at 20C for one hour, produces sufficient reducing sugars to reduce completely 5 ml of Fehling's solution.

Sometimes diastatic activity is also expressed in Windisch-Kolbach units. These are approximately related to the Linter degrees by the following formula:

WK = (3,5 x L) - 16

Diastatic malt syrups are used at a dosage level of 2,0 to 2,5 % on the flour. Larger amounts may darken the crumb, cause excessive fermentation and make the dough too sticky to process efficiently.

Non-diastatic malt

The amylolytic enzyme activity of malt products can be reduced by heat treatment. If the heating process is carried far enough to denature nearly all of the enzyme, the product is called "non-diastatic" even though traces of starch hydrolysing activity can be detected. Such malts are used principally to supply flavour and colour to baked products. They also have some effect on texture and supply fermentable carbohydrates and other nutrients to the yeast.

Non-diastatic malt syrups tend to be darker in colour and stronger in flavour then their diastatic counterparts. These differences are due to the more extreme heat treatment which has been applied to the non-diastatic malt during processing, especially during the condensing step.

It is necessary to minimise heat treatment if substantial enzymatic activity is to be retained, while the non-diastatic products cam be evaporated at high temperatures since amylase activity is not desired. Both colour and flavour are intensified by heat mainly through Maillard reactions. Although the flavour of a highly heat treated syrup tends to be strong, it is also inclined to be more bitter and less aromatic than that of a lighter syrup. Malt syrups will also change colour during storage, becoming darker and losing some of the reddish hue which adds attractiveness to the golden brown colour of the bread crust. Also some vitamin and protein content is lost due to the heat treatment.

The colour changes accompanying the caramelisation which result from the high temperatures processing used in the manufacture of non-diastatic malt make the product valuable as a colouring agent. Dark rye breads often contain large amounts of non-diastatic malt syrup although caramel colour can replace malt as colouring agent. On the other hand the use of high roasted malts in white bread is definitely limited by the darkening which is observed even at moderate dosage levels.


Main types of enzymes used in the baking industry

Amylases break down the starch in flour into dextrins and sugars. Alpha-amylase and ß-amylase occur naturally in wheat, but the natural level of alpha-amylase is usually too low and variable for optimal bread making.

Malt is used to standardize the alpha-amylase activity of most bread flour. Malted wheat or barley flour is added at the mill, or diastatic malt syrup can be added at the bakery.

Fungal amylase is also used to standardize the alpha-amylase activity of bread flour. Additional fungal amylase is used in dough conditioners to improve oven spring.

Other amylases are more temperature stable so that they work at later stages of baking. These intermediate stability, maltogenic, bacterial, and thermostable amylases are used primarily in anti-staling products because they convert more of the starch into forms that resist firming.

Gluco-amylase breaks down the dextrins generated by amylases into glucose sugar. Glucose is easier for yeast to ferment than maltose, and can be used to partially replace other sugars in the recipe.

Hemicellulase breaks down the hemicellulose or pentosans in wheat flour, rye flour, and fibre supplements. This releases bound water into the dough to improve machinability and loaf volume.

Lactase breaks down the lactose sugar in dairy products into glucose and galactose sugars. The glucose contributes to yeast fermentation, while the galactose contributes the same crumb colour enhancement as lactose.

Protease breaks down the gluten protein in wheat flour. For bread-making this can improve gas retention, but with a trade-off for less tolerance. For cracker production this improves machinability, with gas retention not as important.

Lipoxygenase from soy flour oxidises the fats in flour to form peroxides. The peroxides bleach the flour pigments, which results in a whiter crumb colour.

Glucose oxidase oxidises ascorbic acid to dehydro-ascorbic acid. The dehydroascorbic acid modifies the gluten protein by forming linkages that increase its strength.

Enzymes are large proteins that act as catalysts to speed up reactions without themselves being changed. They are produced by plants, animals, and microorganisms but are not living organisms themselves. Enzymes are highly active so that only small quantities are required, and highly specific so that a single enzyme usually catalyses only a single reaction. In other words, enzymes are very specific. Each enzyme has its own pH and temperature range, and the progress of its reaction depends on those conditions along with time and concentration. Enzymes are named for the compounds they work on (carbohydrases, proteases, lipases) and the kinds of reactions they catalyse (hydrolases, oxidases). Most commercial enzymes are produced from microorganisms, so their genus and species is also an important way of identifying them. Enzyme preparations are complex mixtures that normally contain more than one activity, but they are usually standardized and sold on the basis of a single activity measurement. Depending on the application, other “side activities” may also be relevant.

The shelf life and storage conditions for enzymes depend on their physical form. Liquids usually have the shortest shelf life and should be stored under refrigeration. Powders and tablets are usually stable for a year or more when stored at room temperature. Because enzymes are proteins, skin contact and inhalation of dust or aerosols can cause allergic reactions in some sensitive individuals. Prolonged contact with concentrated proteases can also cause skin and eye irritation.

In practice the advantage of enzymes compared to traditional crumb softening agents, such as distilled monoglycerides, is that they extend the soft-eating shelf life for longer i.e. they show an advantage over the 3 to 6 days maximum that can be achieved by the use of emulsifiers. A significant further advantage is that this softness is not accompanied by drying out of the crumb.

Please read separate chapter on enzymes by going to the following page Enzymes

Oxidising agents

Oxidising agents are used by the baker to improve dough strength. Due to the oxidising action SH-groups in the gluten network will be transformed into S-S- bonds between the protein chains rendering a stronger gluten network. They will improve dough handling for better machining and contribute to improved gas retention, giving better volume and a more regular grain of the crumb. Some oxidants are fast acting, working in the mixer and early make-up stage. Bromates, which are cancerogenous and which are only allowed in the USA (all other countries in the world put a ban on the usage of bromates), act in the proofer and early oven stage.

One oxidant with which good results were obtained in the United Kingdom is pure oxygen added during mixing. However, since O2 is not on the list of allowed additives, its usage was banned.

Calcium peroxide is an oxidant but is used for its dough drying capabilities. It tends to take away the stickiness without stiffening the dough. It reacts immediately on contact with water.

The most widely used oxidising agent is ascorbic acid or vitamin C. It promotes the formation of cross-links between gluten molecules and strengthens in that way the gluten network. It has a number of benefits:

No need to say it is safe to use. However one needs oxygen to be present because ascorbic acid as such is a reducing agent. In the presence of oxygen however it will become dehydroxyascorbic acid and it is actually the dehydroxyascorbic acid reacting as an oxidising agent.

Ascorbic acid is widely used by the baking industry and in Europe, it is the sole chemical oxidising agent used in the manufacturing of bread and other baked goods. It is a naturally occurring material found in fruits and vegetables and is commonly known as vitamin C. However, most of the ascorbic acid used in food processing and production is synthesized from glucose using a combination of fermentation and chemical methods.

Ascorbic acid itself is a reducing agent but in the presence of oxygen gas and/or an enzyme – ascorbic acid oxidase which is naturally found in wheat flour – the ascorbic acid is converted to the dehydro form as shown in the picture below. Also glucose oxidase helps the conversion of ascorbic acid in dehyrdoascorbic acid.

It is this form which has the potential to take part in oxidation reactions such as the SH/SS interchange and to help stabilize the gluten protein network. The use of ascorbic acid in bread making leads to greater loaf volume and a finer more uniform crumb structure. This can only occur as long as oxygen is present to convert the ascorbic acid into its oxidizing form. The action of ascorbic is largely complete soon after the end of mixing, at which stage in the process yeast and other chemical reactions compete for the available oxygen. The SH/SS interchange reaction between neighbouring protein chains containing SH groups is thought to be an important mechanism in gluten network development. Another possible reaction of this type is thought to involve glutathione, which occurs naturally in flour, but is thought to affect gluten network formation by undergoing SH/SS interchange reactions with protein chains. If this is not prevented, the number of cross-links formed in the gluten network decreases and weaker more extensible gluten is produced. The enzyme glutathione oxidase plays a role in gluten stabilisation by preventing this happening. It does this by forming glutathione dimers, thus blocking the pathway that leads to gluten depolymerisation (Grosch and Weiser 1999).

As mentioned earlier, some plants and fruits can possess elevated levels of ascorbic acid and this presents an opportunity to use these to provide the ascorbic requirement in bakery products. This has an advantage because the chemically synthesized version has an E-number and must be declared on the label as ascorbic acid, vitamin C or E300. Examples of materials with ascorbic acid activity include acerola cherry and kakadu plum containing 15–20 mg/g of material ascorbic acid. Farinograph evidence shows that both forms of ascorbic acid worked equally well during dough development. In fact, baking trials suggested that an amount of acerola powder that contained a lower level of ascorbic acid could be used to give a similar performance to the commercial version. This may be due to the natural material containing additional antioxidant materials that also take part in oxidation reactions in dough. These products have the advantage that they do not have to declared with an E-number.

Reducing agents

Reducing agents are used to weaken the protein and have the same effect as proteases. The difference being however that the proteases will be destructed by the high temperatures in the oven while reducing agents will remain in tact of course. Reducing agents will reduce mixing time and improve dough machinability i.e. moulding will be facilitated. Reducing agents break bonds between the proteins during mixing. They have the opposite effect of oxidising agents. The most commonly used reducing agent is L-cysteine.

The functional characteristics of a protein are determined by its amino acid content. About 2 percent of the amino acid content of wheat gluten is cysteine. The amino acid cysteine contains a sulhydryl group (-SH) which can be oxidized to cysteine and form a disulfide (-S-S-) bridge between two adjacent polypeptide chains or within one molecule. This is a relatively strong bond and results in an intricate and rigid network of protein molecules. The dough resulting from this oxidation will have increased gas retention, but will also be very elastic and resist flow. These doughs are often described as "bucky."

Addition of a reducing agent to dough "relaxes" the dough and gives it increased extensibility. This occurs by reducing or breaking the disulfide bonds formed between or within gluten molecules. This action serves to reduce the mixing time and less total energy is required to reach peak dough development. The time required for hydration of the starch and gluten molecules is shortened so that dough development starts earlier in the mix cycle. The rate of energy input during mixing is increased and dough development times are shortened.

Reducing agents act quickly in dough and each molecule reacts only once. The amount of gluten relaxation can be controlled by the amount of reducing agent added. Overuse of a reducing agent results in poor quality bread products. Characteristics observed include low volume, a coarse crumb texture, poor crumb colour, and a generally poor appearance.

Reducing agents common to the baking industry include L-cysteine and glutathione. L-cysteine is an amino acid and glutathione a tri-peptide. Cysteine is an amino acid naturally occurring in proteins. Much of the cysteine used commercially is extracted from human hair, a protein high in cysteine. Cysteine is a reducing agent that mellows the flour and shortens its mixing requirement. It produces a dough that is more extensible and easier to machine. Cysteine acts nearly the opposite of oxidizing agents. It breaks disulphide ( - S - S) cross-links in gluten, causing the gluten structure to be weaker and less elastic. Oxidants, on the other hand, promote the formation of disulphite cross-links from free sulphydryl ( - SH) groups. Cysteine works best when combined with potassium bromate. The fast acting cysteine weakens the dough during mixing and machining. Later on, the slow acting bromate reforms the disulphite cross-links giving a stronger, more elastic dough that can hold gas better during baking.

The action of a reducing agent can be reversed and the disulfide bonds renewed through addition of an oxidant. Combination of a reducing agent with a slow-acting oxidant, such as ascorbic acid, reduces the mixing time of straight dough to be more in line with that of a sponge or liquid pre-ferment without the need for any extra equipment and space required. However, addition of a reducing agent may require an increase in floor time to achieve machinable dough, thus offsetting the gain from a decreased mixing time. Many combinations of reducing agents with oxidants are offered commercially, enabling optimization for specific situations in a bakery.


A surfactant is an amphipilic molecule. That is, one portion of the molecule has no charge (non-polar) and associates with the lipid or air phase, while another portion of the molecule is charged (polar) and associates with the water or aqueous phase of a system. These molecules migrate to the interfaces between two physical phases, with each end of the molecule associating with the preferred medium. In bread products, surfactants function less as a true emulsifier than as a surface-active agent that modifies the behaviour of the proteins and starches with which they interact. Gluten protein contains about 40% hydrophobic amino acids and interacts with the non-polar portion of surfactants.

In yeast-leavened baked goods, surfactants have been shown to strengthen the viscoelastic gluten-starch film, delay setting of the dough during baking, and to interact with starch molecules to inhibit starch retrogradation and staling.

The most commonly used emulsifiers in baking are:

The use of surfactants can increase product volume, create a fine, uniform crumb, produce a more tender crumb and crust, improve moisture retention, improve sheeting properties, and reduce staling. This chapter will review a few of the more commonly used surfactants.

Some emulsifiers form complexes with the starch and slow down the retrogradation process during storage stages. Glycerol mono-stearate (GMS) is one such emulsifier possessing this property and has been used extensively in the past as a bread improver. GMS may come in a number of forms and with varying monoglyceride contents and is at its most effective against bread staling when used as a hydrate in the alpha gel form. This condition is achieved over a limited range of GMS concentrations and preparation temperatures, and careful preparation is required to ensure most effective use of this emulsifier.

Other emulsifiers that may be included for their anti-staling properties are DATA esters, and CSL or SSL. These too, have the ability to form complexes with flour components and to influence the rate at which gelatinized starch retrogrades during storage and can have an impact on reducing the staling rate.

DATA esters, CSL, and to a lesser extent, GMS, are able to play a similar role to that of fat in bread making with respect to maintaining freshness in bread.

Mono- and diglycerides are the surfactants most widely used in baking. They are esters of glycerol and one or two fatty acids. When one fatty acid is bound to glycerol it can be in either the first or the second position. The fatty acid is depicted by an "R" in the slide. These are also referred to as alpha- and beta- monoglycerides, respectively. In the production of mono- and diglycerides for commercial use, approximately 40-60% of the finished product will be monoglycerides, 30-40% diglycerides and the balance a mixture of triglycerides, glycerol and fatty acids. The alpha-monoglycerides have been described as the functionally important components and interact with amylose to inhibit recrystallisation of the starch to bring about a crumb softening effect. Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids function in much the same manner as mono- and diglycerides.

Lecithin is a naturally occurring surfactant comprised of a glycerol backbone and two fatty acids, phosphoric acid and choline. Lecithin is used in bread dough at 0.15-0.20% of the flour weight. Lecithin functions in bread dough to reduce mixing time, increase water absorption, improve machinability, yield a more uniform crust colour, a more tender crust, and to produce a softer crumb with a decreased rate of staling.

Ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides are strongly hydrophilic surfactants and function as dough strengtheners by forming strong hydrogen bonding with dough components. Use of this conditioner improves the tolerance of dough to shock in mechanized bread production.

There are no restrictions in the amount of mono- and diglycerides, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, lecithin, and ethoxylated mono-and diglycerides that can be used in yeast-leavened baked goods, as overuse causes detrimental changes, such as an open and irregular cell structure.

Diacetylltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (DATEM) are both hydrophilic and lipophilic. They function well in dispersing shortening evenly throughout the dough, thereby improving the elasticity and extensibility of the gluten, dough handling characteristics, tolerance to mechanical shock, and improved gas retention, to yield products with greater loaf volume and a finer crumb. Diacetylltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides function in a manner similar to monoglycerides to complex with starch and retard crumb staling.

Sodium and calcium stearoyl-2-lactylates are multifunctional surfactants that complex with gluten proteins and the amylose fraction of wheat starch to increase dough absorption, improve mixing tolerance and dough machinability, increase loaf volume, improve the texture of the crumb, create a more tender crust and improve shelf life. Both conditioners are limited in usage levels to less than 0.5% of the weight of flour used.

Nol Haegens