straight dough

Dough conditioners are added to leavened wheat doughs to enhance their bread making properties.

Dough strengthener. Bread improver. Crumb softener.  A host of regulators and oxidizers.

The whole list falls into the category of dough conditioners. Their definition is pretty open-ended. If you’re looking for a way to improve consistency or quality, assist with mechanical dough processing, or optimize the supply chain, you’re looking for a dough conditioner.

How Do Dough Conditioners Work?

Simply, they enhance your dough. Enhance how? That depends on the type. Here what’s happening in the dough with a few common categories of dough conditioners:

  • Emulsifiers (crumb softeners)
    Interaction at the surface of the starch granule, less swelling and leaching of amylose, resulting in less starch retrogradation.

Examples: Monoglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL), calcium stearoyl lactylate (CSL)

  • Enzymes
    Break down specific substrate molecules and change their properties.

Examples:  Amylases, xylanases, lipases, proteases, oxidases, cellulases

  • Oxidizing agents
    Oxidize free sulfhydryl groups of gluten to form disulfide bonds, which produce more cross-linked gluten structures.

Examples: Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), azodicarbon-amide (ADA), potassium iodate, potassium bromate

  • Reducing agents
    Undo disulfide bonds (opposite reaction to oxidizing agents).

Examples: L-Cysteine, inactivated yeast

Learn more about many other types of dough conditioners and uses here!