slicing gourmet pizza

Reducing agents can help the stretching aspect of pizza dough.

Reducing Agents


Reducing agents are the opposite of oxidizing agents. They break down gluten structures and cause the gluten network to be extensible (or slack). Reducing agents can either be used separately or be coupled with a slow oxidizer.


A reducing agent decreases elasticity that can cause shrinkage or curling of products, such as pizzas, tortillas, cookies and crackers, after they have beenformed. These agents are most commonly used in high protein flour and with high-speed processes as to reduce mix times and improve the machinability of the doughs through dough pumps.


More bread makers around the world are modernizing their baking techniques with high speed lines and shorter processes. This poses an issue for wheat growers and flour millers who then need to select wheat varieties that will give the dough extra strength; however, this comes at the expense of dough extensibility. Thus, the use of reducing agents as well as oxidizing agents has become very common practice over the last 25 years.

Types of Reducers

1. Sulfites—commonly used in cookie and cracker production, require special label declaration in the U.S. if used at a level above 10 ppm.

2. Protein-based— L-cysteine (most common agent used in bread), glutathione (peptide containing cysteine, possibly more effective), and inactivated yeast (natural source of glutathione).

3. Ascorbic acid—used only in certain closed continuous mix systems and without the presence of oxygen (functions as an oxidizing agent in the presence of oxygen).