What is the process and ingredients used to create Bread Improver and Softener?


Dough improver and softener have been used to improve all aspects of bread and gives bakers the required tolerance and flexibility during all stages of the baking process: mixing, fermentation, baking and shelf life.

Ingredients of Bread Improver

A bread improver is a combination of ingredients: technological auxiliaries, additives and various raw materials, whether of cereal origin or not, all mixed according to a suitable formula.

The formula comprises all or part of the following components:

  • Enzymes
  • Emulsifiers
  • Oxidizing agents
  • Reducing agents
  • Various ingredients with specific effects such as hydrocolloids
Components Examples of Ingredients Functions
Enzymes Amylase, Proteases and Lipoxygenase
  • Enables yeast to operate effectively, without requiring added sugar. It is a food source to encourage the growth of yeast to increase fermentation.
  • Amylase: Ability to breakdown starch in flours into simple sugars and speed up yeast fermentation.
  • Proteases: Improves extensibility of dough by degrading some of the gluten.
  • Lipoxygenase: Oxidizes the flour.
Oxidizing agent Flour Bleaching Agents (Benzoyl Peroxide, Calcium Peroxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Chlorine, Chlorine Dioxide and Azodicarbonamide), Azodicarbonamide (E927), Carbamide (E927b), Ascorbic Acid, Phosphates and Malted Barley
  • Increases dough strength by oxidizing sulfhydryl groups (-SH) to disulfide bond (S-S). Oxidation generally affects the resistance and extensibility of dough.
  • Calcium Peroxide: Used for it’s dough drying capabilities and tends to take away the stickiness without stiffening the dough. It reacts immediately when in contact with water.
  • Ascorbic Acid, most widely used in baking, as it improves gluten quality and dough stability.
Reducing Agent L-Cysteine (amino acid), Glutathione (tri-peptide),  Fumaric Acid, Sodium Bisulfate, Non-leavened yeast and Ascorbic Acid
  • Serves to encourage the development of gluten by helping to weaken the flour and then by breaking the protein network, thus shortening the mixing time and decreasing the amount of mixing energy that is needed.
  • L-Cysteine: Softens the dough, making it smooth and easy to process.
Hydrocolloids Guar Gum
  • Improves the hydration capacity of doughs by taking up water during dough preparation, making the dough much drier and easier to process.
  • The increase in moisture contributes to optimum starch gelatinisation which also improves fresh keeping properties.

Ingredients of Bread Softener

Bread softener, more commonly referred to as an emulsifier, is an additive. Lecithin, for example is an extract from soy bean, which binds water and fat in the dough to stabilise the mixture. It improves crumb and the slicing behaviour of the bread, and enhances the dough with a sense of freshness.

Components Examples of Ingredients Functions
Emulsifier Lecithin, DATEM (E 472e), SSL, CSL (sodium and calcium stearoyl lactylates), stearoyl Lactylate, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides
  • Helps in strengthening the dough, gives improved mixing and handling tolerance, increase loaf volume, improve mechanical slicing characteristics, and can retard staling.·  Lecithin is used in bread dough at 0.15-0.20% of the flour weight. Lecithin can reduce mixing time, increase water absorption, improve machineability, yield a more uniform crust colour, form a more tender crust, and produce a softer crumb with a decreased rate of staling.
  • DATEM can strengthen wheat gluten and improve gas retention and dough stability. This results in baked goods with a high volume and good crumb structure which are characteristics of high quality bread.
  • DATEM, SSL and CSL and are commonly used in amounts of 0.2–0.5 %, in the production of bread and rolls; for monoglycerides, the maximum quantity is 1% (calculated on flour).

Comparison of Using Bread Improvers and Softener in Bakery

General Process Flow of Bread Improver and Softener

The traditional spray-drying method to produce bread improver has been improved in order to reduce dusts and increase the flow ability of the powders. Instead of drying the liquid in one stage, the drying is done through two steps: one at the top (single effect) and second for an integrated static bed at the bottom of the chamber.

Diagram 1.0 Spray-Drying Method

(Woo et al., 2010).



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