Dough conditioner

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Sandwich bread
Loaf of bread in a basket
Main ingredients Flour, water
Cookbook: Sandwich bread  Media: Sandwich bread

A dough conditioner is any ingredient or chemical added to bread dough to strengthen its texture or otherwise improve it in some way. Dough conditioners may include enzymes, yeast nutrients, mineral salts, oxidants and reductants, and emulsifiers.[1]


Examples of dough conditioners include ascorbic acid, distilled monoglycerides, citrate ester of monoglycerides, diglycerides, ammonium chloride, enzymes,[2] diacetyl tartaric acid ester of monoglycerides or DATEM, potassium bromate, calcium salts such as calcium iodate, L-cystine,[3] azodicarbonamide,[4][5] sodium stearoyl lactylate, sucrose palmitate or sucrose ester, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate or polysorbate, soybean lecithin, and soybean lecithin enriched with lysophospholipids.[6]

Less processed dough conditioners include sprouted- or malted-grain flours, soy, milk, wheat germ, potatoes, gluten, yeast, and extra kneading. Malted, diastatic flours are not typically added by manufacturers to whole-wheat flours. Robertson et al. point out that some of the better information is found in baking books published back when bakers were still kneading by hand.[7]


In the early 1900s it was discovered the use of calcium chlorid [sic], ammonium sulfate, and potassium bromate halved the amount of yeast needed to raise dough. These mixtures were generally known as mineral yeast foods or yeast nutrient salts. After they became popular among bakers, one patented yeast food was analyzed by Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station chief chemist J.P. Street who published in 1917 that it contained, "calcium sulphate, 25; ammonium chlorid, 9.7; potassium bromate, 0.3; sodium chlorid, 25; patent wheat flour, 40."[8] They contain water conditioners, yeast conditioners, and dough conditioners.[9]

Yeast nutrients[edit]

Yeast requires water, carbon sources such as starch and simple carbohydrates, nitrogen preferably as ammonium as it cannot assimilate nitrate, sulfur, phosphorus (often as inorganic phosphate), and minute quantities of vitamins and elemental mineral ions including B, Ca, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mo, Mn, Mg, Ni, and Zn.[10] Ammonium chloride, ammonium sulfate, or ammonium phosphate may be used as sources of nitrogen.[11][12][13][1] Phosphoric acid, an acidulant, is used as a yeast stimulant.[14] Calcium iodate,[15] an oxidant,[16] is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally recognized as safe or GRAS source of calcium.[17][18]

Oxidants and reductants[edit]

Dehydroascorbic acid and potassium bromate are oxidants, acting on sulfhydryl groups and disulfide bonds in wheat dough, in particular oxidizing glutathione. Potassium bromate acts more directly or with fewer chemical conversion steps than ascorbic acid. Glutathione increases wheat dough's extensibility, or relaxes it, while oxidizing a dough's glutathione increases elasticity. Like glutathione, cysteine and bisulfite[note 1] are reducing agents which relax wheat dough.[20][21] Adding minute amounts of oxidants or reducing agents alter the post-mix handling characteristics of dough.[22][23][24][25]


Lecithin, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and DATEM are considered emulsifiers. They disperse fat more evenly throughout the dough, helping it to trap more of the CO2 produced by yeast.[26] Lecithin added at a rate of 0.25-to-0.6% of the flour weight acts as a dough conditioner.[27] Based on total weight, egg yolk contains about 9% lecithin.[28] Monoglycerides and diglycerides replace eggs in baked goods.[29] Emulsifiers tend to produce a finer grain, softer crumb, and with longer proof times, increased baked volume.[30][6]


  1. ^ Sodium metabisulfite has been used in the cracker industry as a rapid acting sheeting aid.[19]


  1. ^ a b Lallemand Baking Update. "Dough conditioners" (PDF). 
  2. ^ Wolfgang Aehle, ed. (2007). Enzymes in Industry: Production and Applications. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. ISBN 3-527-31689-2. 
  3. ^ Yamada, Y.; Preston, K.R. (1994). "Sponge-and-dough bread: Effects of oxidants on bread and oven rise properties of a Canadian red spring wheat patent flour." (PDF). Cereal chemistry. 73 (3): 297–300. 
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions on Azodicarbonamide (ADA)". FDA. 
  5. ^ Clyde E. Stauffer (1990). Functional Additives for Bakery Foods. Van Nostrand Reinhold. p. 8. ISBN 0442003536. LCCN 90-37356. Azodicarbonamide is frequently added to bread flour at the mill [in one-third of the cases in the survey done by Kulp (1981) referred to earlier]. Potassium bromate was added to 19% of the flours, and ascorbic acid to one (out of 63). This is done as a convenience for the bakery customer, who specifies the level of addition to obtain the best performance on the production line without having to add more oxidant in the plant. In the United States the maximum level of addition to flour is 45 ppm for ADA, 75 ppm for potassium bromate, and 200 ppm for ascorbic acid, although more typical dosing levels are 10 ppm, 25 ppm, and 50 ppm, respectively. Certain other materials may be also added at the mill, notably a-amylase (as malted barely powder or fungal enzyme) and vitamin enrichment to meet FDA standards for enriched flour.... 
  6. ^ a b Gómez, M.; Del Real, S.; Rosell, C.M.; Ronda, F.; Blanco, C.A.; Caballero, P.A. (2004). "Functionality of different emulsifiers on the performance of breadmaking and wheat bread quality" (PDF). European Food Research and Technology. 219 (2): 145–150. 
  7. ^ Laurel Robertson; Carol Flinders; Bronwen Godfrey (2003). The Laurel's kitchen bread book: a guide to whole-grain breadmaking (Random House trade paperback ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0-8129-6967-7. Retrieved May 14, 2011.  See also article: Laurel's Kitchen.
  8. ^ "The Journal of the American Medical Association". 71 (1). American Medical Association. 1918: 282. 
  9. ^ Yiu H. Hui, ed. (2006). Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering. 4. p. 148-32. ISBN 0-8493-9849-5. LCCN 2005050551. 
  10. ^ Dennis E. Briggs; Chris A. Boulton; Peter A. Brookes; Roger Stevens (2004). "12.3". Brewing Science and practice. Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85573-490-7. 
  11. ^ Rodrigues, M.S.; Ferreira, L.S.; Converti, A.; Sato, S.; Carvalho, J.C.M. (2010). "Fed-batch cultivation of Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis: potassium nitrate and ammonium chloride as simultaneous nitrogen sources". Bioresource technology. 101 (12): 4491–4498. 
  12. ^ Fulmer, E.I.; Nelson, V.E.; Sherwood, F.F. (1921). "The Nutritional Requirements Of Yeast. II. The Effect Of The Composition Of The Medium On The Growth Of Yeast". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 43 (1): 191–199. 
  13. ^ Di Carlo, F.J.; Schultz, A.S.; McManus, D.K. (1951). "The assimilation of nucleic acid derivatives and related compounds by yeasts." (PDF). Journal of Biological Chemistry. 189 (1): 151–157. Table 1 
  14. ^ Claudia Ruiz-Capillas; Leo M.L. Nollet, eds. (2016). Flow Injection Analysis of Food Additives (PDF). CRC Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-1-4822-1820-6. 
  15. ^ Pearce, E.N.; Pino, S.; He, X.; Bazrafshan, H.R.; Lee, S.L.; Braverman, L.E. (2004). "Sources of dietary iodine: bread, cows’ milk, and infant formula in the Boston area". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 89 (7): 3421–3424. Conditioners are added to store-bought bread to maintain freshness and prolong shelf life. In the 1960s, iodate bread conditioners were widely used. London et al. (13), in 1965, reported that bread was a source of large quantities of dietary iodine, with iodine content as high as 150 μg per slice. This was considered to be a contributing cause to the decreasing radioactive iodine uptake in the U.S. during the 1960s (14, 15). Because of the concerns about high bread iodine content, commercial bakeries now less commonly use iodate bread conditioners. The decreasing use of iodate bread conditioners is thought to have contributed to the reduction in dietary iodine levels between the 1970s and the early 1990s. 
  16. ^ "CALCIUM IODATE". 
  17. ^ Fairweather-Tait, S.J.; Teucher, B. (2002). "Iron and calcium bioavailability of fortified foods and dietary supplements" (PDF). Nutrition reviews. 60 (11): 360-367. 
  18. ^ Swoboda, F.K. (1922). "Nitrogen nutrition of yeast" (PDF). Journal of Biological Chemistry. 52 (1): 91–109. CaCl2 
  19. ^ Manley, Duncan (2000). Technology of Biscuits, Crackers, and Cookies (3rd ed.). Woodhead Publishing Limited and CRC Press LLC. p. 197. ISBN 0 8493 0895 X. 
  20. ^ Lallemand Baking Update. "A Guide to Reducing Agents" (PDF). 
  21. ^ Baking Association of Canada. "L-Cysteine" (PDF). 
  22. ^ Dong, W.; Hoseney, R.C. (1995). "Effects of Certain Breadmaking Oxidants and Reducing Agents on Dough Rheological Properties" (PDF). Cereal Chemistry. 72 (1): 58–64. 
  23. ^ Elkassabany, M.; Hoseney, R.C.; Seib, P.A. (1980). "Ascorbic Acid as an Oxidant in Wheat Flour Dough. I. Conversion to Dehydroascorbic Acid" (PDF). Cereal Chem. 57 (2): 85–87. 
  24. ^ Elkassabany, M.; Hoseney, R.C. (1980). "Ascorbic Acid as an Oxidant in Wheat Flour Dough. II. Rheological Effects" (PDF). Cereal Chem. 57 (2): 88–91. 
  25. ^ Popper, Lutz. "18.3 Oxidation and Flour Maturation" (PDF). 
  26. ^ Brown, Amy L. (2008). Understanding food: principles and preparation. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth. p. 352. ISBN 0-495-10745-X. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  27. ^ O'Brien, Richard (2008). Fats and Oils Formulating and Processing for Applications, Third Edition: Formulating and Processing for Applications, Second Edition. Boca Raton: CRC. p. 319. ISBN 1-4200-6166-6. Retrieved 2013-03-20. Protein complexing: The ability to complex with the protein in flour (gluten) provides the basis for a good dough conditioner. Lecithin can function as a natural bread-dough conditioner at addition levels generally between 0.25 and 0.6% based on the weight of the flour. 
  28. ^ Chris Clarke (2004). The science of ice cream. Cambridge, Eng: Royal Society of Chemistry. p. 49. ISBN 0-85404-629-1. Retrieved 2013-03-20. Egg yolk has the approximate composition (by weight) of 50% water, 16% protein, 9% lecithin, 23% other fat, 0.3% carbohydrate and 1.7% minerals. 
  29. ^ "Hostess Bankruptcy And Science Prove Twinkies Are Not Immortal.. (n.d.)". The Free Library. 2014. Retrieved Sep 28, 2014. The cake also has emulsifying chemicals called monoglycerides and diglycerides, which replace most of the eggs that would normally be used in a baked good. 
  30. ^ Sun, Da-Wen (2011). Handbook of Frozen Food Processing and Packaging, Second Edition (Contemporary Food Engineering). Boca Raton: CRC Press. p. 518. ISBN 1-4398-3604-3. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 

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