Dough conditioners/enhancers/rye sours/flavors

blueberrier1March 16, 2008

Do any of you yeast bread bakers use any of these-that you assemble personally from recognizable ingredients?

Am only a home baker-not commercial. Make all of our breads and freeze extras. Currently, I only use a bit of ground ginger and ascorbic acid as addenda.

Sometimes. I add wheat gluten and malt syrup when making whole grain and seedy breads.

I do notice a slight difference when I 'comparison bake with and without.

Curious whether anyone buys the mixes from KA.

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annie1992

I bake all my own bread and don't use any enhancers, etc., other than an occasional dose of vital wheat gluten for low gluten loaves.

I really like King Arthur flour and use it regularly, but I don't buy any mixes from anywhere, including KA.

Annie

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:43PM
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ann_t

I make all my own breads too and like Annie I don't use enhancers or mixes. I have my own sourdough starter that is about 18 months old.

Ann

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 10:49PM
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grainlady_ks

Conditioners/enhancers/rye sours/flavors. I stay away from the list of trendy things you'll find in King Arthur's Baker's Catalogue or Lora Brody items. Many of these products came to the fore when people started using the QUICK CYCLE in bread machines. You just can't get the same type of bread in one hour that an all day method takes. You miss the complex flavors that only time can achieve. Adding flavorings is neither right or wrong, just a choice. But if you use different methods, your bread will develop many of the "flavors" naturally.

Since I rarely make French- or Italian-style breads (flour, yeast, water, salt) most of my breads are "enhanced" and I commonly use these enhancers.

Ascorbic Acid- (also found in yeast)
I use 1/8-t. ascorbic acid per loaf anytime I use 100% whole wheat flour or wheat germ. There's a substance in wheat germ called Glutathione and this substance breaks down the gluten. Ascorbic acid in your dough will help to counteract the negative effects of Glutathione and will help the gluten bonds from breaking down. Ascorbic acid helps sustain the leavening of loaves during baking and promotes yeast growth so the yeast will work longer and faster. Ascorbic acid promotes an acidic dough in which yeast grows best.

I don't use ascorbic acid in sourdough breads using whole wheat flour because it's already acidic enough.

Vital Wheat Gluten-
I add vital wheat gluten when a recipe uses a large amount of low-gluten flour.

Dry Milk Powder, milk or other dairy product. I use homemade kefir in my breads. The fermented product contributes some acid that helps bread stay fresher longer and deters mold as well as a great amount of flavor.

Fats added to dough are enhancers. They add taste and contribute to the texture and moisture of the bread.

Eggs - also an enhancer. They add to the rise, color, texture and taste. The naturally-occuring lecithin in eggs also contributes.

Chia seed goop - This helps maintain moisture in the crumb rather than moisture wicking to the crust, increases fiber and other nutrients.

The chemical bleaches in bleached flour is also considered a dough improver. When flour was bromated, the bromites aided in giving the gluten more extensibility. I never use bleached flour and bromated flour is no longer available.

Non-Diastatic Malt - When I use it I make my own. It's supposed to give the bread better structure and make it softer and more tender. The live enzymes help yeast to grow. It contributes to the flavor as well. I don't know that it made all that much difference to use it or not.

Spices such as ginger, ground caraway, cardamom, cinnamom, mace, nutmeg, and thyme all improve yeast activity. Many bakers add a pinch of ginger to dough for this reason.

I never use dough relaxer. The gluten strands in dough will "relax" if you allow it to - it's called resting it 10-20 minutes before you form it. If you have a problem with pizza dough being difficult to form or roll out even after a rest, try using a small amount of a lower-gluten flour in the mix.

Rye Sour is another mixture of ingredients that quickly adds a taste and acidity that normally develops in dough if allowed enough time. One of the ingredients in it is rye flour - DUH! The taste most people associate with rye bread is actually nothing more than the caraway seeds. Try adding crushed caraway seeds to white bread and you'll assume it's rye bread. The deep dark coloring associated with dark rye is because of the additions of molasses, cocoa, or coffee to the recipe. Rye flour has very little flavor on its own until it's allowed some fermentation time. Rye flour ferments very quickly, which is why it's a good flour to use when you begin a starter. I often use freshly-milled rye flour in quick breads and cookies.

Those are some that come to mind...

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:13AM
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pkguy

All I use is the vital wheat gluten. Lecithin when I have it otherwise it's olive oil. Sometimes some skim milk powder or a bit of real milk in place of some of the water and when I remember perhaps an ounce of real lemon juice.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:17PM
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shambo

I'm not the bread baker that Annie, Ann, or Grainlady are. But I do make homemade breads frequently because of my husband's low sodium diet restrictions. I like what Grainlady said, "Adding flavorings is neither right or wrong, just a choice."

Because I half the salt content in all the yeast breads I make, they can sometimes taste a bit flat. If the bread recipe includes some sort of dairy, fat, or sweetener, there's no problem. The same is true if it's flavored with herbs, spices, garlic, cheese, etc.

However, the lean breads consisting of just flour, yeast, salt, & water are problematic. I haven't delved into the world of sourdough yet, but I've discovered that a pre-ferment adds flavor and compensates for the lower salt content. I also add dry buttermilk powder for a flavor boost.

I confess that I sent away for King Arthur instant sourdough flavoring. I wanted to experiment and see if adding some to a plain, lean loaf would help with the flavor. The package says to add 2-3 tsp. per cup of flour. A few days ago I tried it for the first time. I didn't want to over-sour my bread, so I only used 1 tbsp. for 4 cups of flour. The bread tasted pretty good, so next time I'll use 2 tbsp. I'll keep adjusting the amounts until I get it right and then decide if it's worth the trouble & cost.

Here is a link that might be useful: Please, DON'T Pass the Salt!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 3:35PM
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grainlady_ks

shambo -

There's a little rule-of-thumb for salt/yeast that might help you...

If you reduce the amount of salt in a yeast bread, reduce the yeast by an equal amount. In other words, if you reduce the salt by 50%, then reduce the yeast by 50% as well. Salt regulates the yeast and when you reduce one without reducing the other, that might be a problem.

That being said, I'm sure many of us have completely forgotten to add the salt and ended up with "bread", although it may have risen very rapidly and was ultimately tasteless.

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 6:09PM
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shambo

Thanks for the tip. My low sodium bread baking is an ongoing experiment.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:55PM
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blueberrier1

Thanks for the 'rich' input!

Grainlady-what a moniker- how do you make your kefir and diastatic malt...and how much do you use per cup/s of flour?

Do you use them in your sourdough breads alone or for all yeast breads?

Over many years of baking, I have migrated from 5"x9" bread pans to 3 1/2"x 7 1/2"...when I am not using flat sheets, french bread pans or 6" round pans...so would appreciate a ratio.

Thanks, cella jane

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:09PM
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grainlady_ks

blueberrier1 -

The kefir I make is made with real kefir grains and milk (of choice) and renders a curd similar to yogurt. You have to get the grains from someone else who has them. They cannot be manufactured. The grains look a little like a cauliflower (gelatinous lumps) and contain "good" bacteria necessary for culturing the milk. Real kefir grains are self-renewing. They are constantly growing - you break them into small pieces and the small bits continue to grow. Kefir grains last essential forever. You keep the grains in a small amount of milk in the refrigerator until you need to make kefir. They aren't active in cold temperatures.

Kefir is much easier to make than yogurt. Milk + kefir grains + 12-24 hours at room temperature = kefir. No critical temperature windows for pasteurizing the milk, nor temperature windows for adding the starter and no temperature controled yogurt maker. Kefir is also better for you than yogurt.
----------------

Diastatic and non-diastatic malt powder are easy to make from sprouted barley. I've also made it with sprouted wheat and I understand it can be made with sprouted rice.

The temperature you dry the sprouted grain is the determinant between diastatic and non-diastatic. Heating the grain above 130F will destroy the enzymes and you'll end up with non-diastatic malt - a sweetener. Drying the sprouted grain at 100°F will maintain the enzymes and the malt powder will help to break down the starch in dough to convert starch to sugar to feed the yeast - diastatic malt. Some people like the "wheaty note" it adds to breads. I think I missed that particular trait because I use freshly milled wheat flour which adds a lot of flavor. I did get a shiner crust and a darker crust on the sourdough breads - which can sometimes be rather anemic-looking.

King Arthur used to sell malted rye berries (sprouted and dried) and I used to mill it into flour and add it. I went through a "malted grain" phase many years ago....

I use 1 teaspoon per loaf (1.5 to 2 pounds of dough).

How-to...

Soak 1/2 c. wheat or barley in enough water to cover them for about 12 hours. Drain and rinse the grain. Place the grain in a quart jar. Cover the top with a sprouting lid or a piece of cheese cloth held on the jar with a rubber band. Place the jar in a dark place (inside a cabinet). Once or twice a day rinse/drain the grains to keep them moist. Avoid letting them sit in a pool of water or else they will rot. In 2-3 days they will begin to sprout. When the sprout is as long as the grain, dump the sprouts out onto a tray or cookie sheet lined with several layers of white paper towel. Allow to dry. They can sun dried or you can place them in a dehydrator on a fruit roll-up sheet to dry.

Make sure you dry them at 130°F or warmer for non-diastatic malt powder.

You can also dry roast the dried sprouted grain to add to the sweetness to make non-diastatic malt powder.

Make sure the grain is absolutely dry before milling it. You can test it by chewing on a few pieces of grain. It's crunchy, not chewy, when it's dry. If you don't have a mill for grinding the dried sprouted grain into a powder, you can put small amounts in a coffee/spice mill and grind it until it's a fine powder.

I kept my diastatic and non-diastatic malt powder in a small jar in the refrigerator.

I find it somewhat ammusing that we've gotten so "into" purchasing (do I hear King Arthur's name?) these things that were commonly made at home. Bulgur is another easy-to-make item that costs only pennies to make at home.
-Grainlady

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 9:23AM
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blueberrier1

grainlady, thanks for the information. Do not know any local bakers and will search for Kefir grains on the next coop run.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 6:07PM
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