Dough Conditioners – What Are They And Why Are They Used?
It is fascinating to know, Dough Conditioners didn’t come to the market until the 1950. In the 1980s, advances in functional enzymes became a key focus for improving dough handling and bread properties.
So Before We Go Further let’s answer the question:
What Is A Dough Conditioner?
A dough conditioner is any ingredient or CHEMICAL added to bread dough to strengthen its texture or otherwise improve it in some way. They also improve dough processing, as well as the overall quality of baked products in high-speed production environments. Dough Conditioners include enzymes, yeast nutrients, Redox agents, oxidants and reductants, emulsifiers, and vital wheat gluten (VW Gluten or VWG)
All these things are added to make the bread feel, look, taste, or smell different.
They save the baking industry time and money. We all know time is money, especially when it is so much easier to run bread through a quick bread line and so little profit comes from letting dough sit. The fast buck is made by hurrying everything through production lines as fast as possible, but in long term, look what it does to overall health!
Here's The Worse Side:
We can talk about the horrible dough conditioners with long names such as Bromide (Potassium Bromate), which messes with the thyroid’s ability to produce and use iodine, and is also said to cause many different kinds of cancers specifically in the kidneys and thyroid, cause DNA damage and have harmful effects on digestion and gut health. It also is banned in Europe, Canada, Brazil, and China. California also requires products containing this to have a cancer warning. Azodicarbonamide, which is primarily used in plastic rubber production. It is known to increase the risk of asthma, allergies, and skin problems. It also is said to raise a person’s allergic reaction to other ingredients in a food. It is banned by Australia and many countries in Europe. Datem – Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides, which is a synthetic compound typically derived from soy, palm, or canola oil, and sometimes made from animal fats. In 2002 a study on rats showed that Datem caused heart muscle fibrosis and adrenal overgrowth.
These are among the most common and we could go on with their side affects, but since these are not allowed in Certified Organic facilities all of us who eat Certified Organic are safe!! YES! But wait! What about the others we didn’t talk about yet? What about the enzymes, acids, lecithin, and added gluten?
Enzymes are used to replace dough conditioners and they hide in the label ingredients as a “clean label” ingredient. But what does your body do with these? Anytime we take enzymes and vitamins out of their original source, they become synthetic. That is why it is so important to be sure what we are eating has original nutrition not from synthetic or dead sources. Our food should be coming directly from the farm or as in our case, from mill to baker to consumer without stopping at the lab first!
Acids are used in bread as dough conditioners as well also to keep the bread “fresh” longer! These can include ascorbic acid, citric acid, etc. These should be completely avoided if you are trying to eat well! We highly recommend and use in our family’s diet everyday Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) This is also what we use in our baked goods as well since we only use what our family uses!
Lecithin is also found in most baked goods and a wide variety of other foods. It is usually derived from soy, which is highly processed. This again is used as a “natural” alternative which some bakeries use. But let’s stop here and ask… why do we need an alternative? What did they bake with before these “new and improved” bread textures came and are ruining our health and causing us to have so many sensitivities, intolerances, and finally allergies!
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital Wheat Gluten, also called Gluten or VW Gluten is found in almost all baked goods. This concentrated form of gluten is highly depended on by bakers to speed up the natural process of bread so it will rise faster, have a better texture, and be more “consistent”. 7% of bread can be made up of this concentrated gluten.