Thursday, March 3, 2011
Homemade Dough Enhancer
This blog post has been one of the favorite ones I have done. Not because it is a spectacular post or is very exciting, but because it is one that made me learn a lot and one that I know I will use almost every day. This information has changed the way I make bread, especially whole wheat bread
I have experimented with lots of different bread recipes and found many that I really like. However, when you are making whole wheat bread or even bread that is partially whole wheat, it is a whole different ballgame.
Many recipes make good whole wheat bread and it tastes really good, right out of the oven, but in my thinking, it’s better if you eat it up the first day. However, if your bread rises properly and the texture is good, it even tastes good after that.
Enter dough enhancer. I’ve tried several different types of dough enhancers and they work great. My problem is that I hate being dependent on dough enhancer to make good bread. Or maybe I should rephrase that; I hate being dependent on the availability of dough enhancer to make good bread. The reason for my excitement with this post: Homemade Dough Enhancer.
I have found two different dough enhancer recipes. They both work great. I’ll post both recipes here today. However my favorite one I’ll post first. The only reason it is my favorite is because the ingredient list is short and sweet however the second recipe works equally as well.
If you really want to make whole grain homemade bread light and wonderful, just like white bread, only better, dough enhancer is what you need. You can buy dough enhancer, but it’s more frugal–and fun–to make it yourself! You know I get excited about being able to make things myself rather than buying them; to me that is fun!
What is a dough enhancer? A dough enhancer is a natural product used to make a better bread product. It will make your bread beautiful, light, fluffy, and delicious. Most breads that you buy use this product and you will see the biggest difference if you use a dough enhancer in your whole wheat bread because the whole wheat flour is heavy and course unlike all-purpose flour.
When you buy a dough enhancer from a store it has basically four key ingredients. Gluten, acid, starch, and sugar (of course they are called other things but that is what they are). Those four ingredients serve key roles in developing a better bread texture by developing and strengthening the bubbles that make your bread.
1. Gluten: is the natural protein portion of the wheat grain. It is responsible for the stretchiness of dough and for the shapes that baked goods hold. You can think of it as the elastic in the balloon. I promise your breads will be softer, lighter and you will never go back to baking without it.
2. Acid: strengthens the balloon so that it doesn't pop too early (if it pops too early your bread falls.)
3. Starch: adds an extra layer to your balloon so it won't break or pop-think of it like the additive they add to helium balloons to last longer. And when you're dealing with whole wheat, the flour, is course and can pop or weaken the gluten.
4. Sugar: this is what the yeast eats. When it eats the sugar it creates the air that fills the balloon or bubbles.
This homemade dough enhancer is made from things you probably have around your house. All you need is gluten, WHITE vinegar for your acid, and potato flakes or instant mashed potatoes for the starch, and sugar which your bread recipe will already call for.
Tips for using your own everyday items in:
Homemade Dough Enhancer #1
Gluten: use ½ T. - 1 T. per cup of flour (before you measure a cup of flour put ½ T.-1 T. gluten in the bottom of your cup then measure flour as usual)
WHITE Vinegar: use the same amount of vinegar that you are using for yeast (for example 1 t. yeast - 1 t. vinegar)
Potato Flakes: use 1/8 to ¼ c. per loaf of bread you are making, experiment to see what works best in your recipe. (Do not substitute potato pearls they won’t work!)
You can buy the vital wheat gluten in almost any store; Macey’s, Whole Foods, Winco (very cheap in the bulk section), Wal-mart and Smiths or Fred Meyer as well as any preparedness supplier. It is an essential for bread making. I like to buy the gluten in bulk and dry pack it for future use also. Potato flakes can be bought in bulk or dry packed for long term storage. Sugar and vinegar you probably already have.
This gluten recipe and the bread recipe below are from Crystal Godfrey who has made my whole wheat bread making life so much simpler. Thanks Crystal!
EZ Wheat Bread recipe
1 1/4 c. warm water
1 T. active dry yeast
¼ c. honey or 1/3 c. sugar
2 ¾ c. whole wheat flour (or whatever combination white/wheat you like. I use 100% hard white wheat1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 t. salt
2 T. nonfat non instant dry milk
1 T. butter/margarine/oil
1 T. vinegar
¼ c. potato flakes (NOT potato pearls)
Mix ingredients in order listed in mixing bowl of mixer with dough hook attachment (like kitchen-aid) for 12-15 minutes. Let rise until double, 1- 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, and shape into loaf or rolls. Let rise again until double and bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.
This second recipe uses a combination of wheat gluten, lecithin, ascorbic acid crystals, pectin, gelatin, nonfat dry milk, and ginger. Wheat gluten improves the texture and rise of bread. Lecithin teams up with the gluten to make bread lighter. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) helps the yeast work better. Pectin adds moisture, as does the gelatin. The dry milk helps the dough relax, and the ginger is another yeast booster (you won’t taste it in the finished product). Most of these are also preservatives, so they help keep your bread fresh longer, and they are all natural.
Homemade Dough Enhancer #2
1 c. wheat gluten
2 T. lecithin granules
1 t. ascorbic acid crystals
2 T. powdered pectin
2 T. unflavored gelatin
½ c. nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 100% whole grain breads, use 3 tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe along with the flour.
I love dough enhancer so much I make it in triple batches and keep it in a quart-size jar.
*Note: While it’s not necessary to use dough enhancer in white bread recipes, you can! You’ll have higher loaves, and loaves that stay fresh longer. Especially in summer months, if you don’t use air conditioning, dough enhancer will help you keep your bread fresh longer.