Pro tip: Oxidizers and reducers can be useful tools in dealing with changes in flour quality from batch to batch.
In my last pro tip, I shared what you should look for in flour quality. Now, let’s learn how to control it or work with it in this pro tip.
If you are a baker using bulk flour, you will see differences in flour quality from load to load. One of the tools that you can use is oxidation.
Oxidizing agents are the ingredients that improve the strength of the dough. These ingredients mimic aged flour. Click here to learn more about the different types of oxidizing agents.
Overall, here’s what the industry uses them for:
- They improve gluten reformation, which helps control the strength and elasticity of the dough during high speed mixing, rolling and breading.
- Used as dough conditioners, oxidizing agents are a necessity in high speed bread production.
- Potassium bromate and ADA were the most commonly used oxidants. They became popular when high speed lines, with flour that had not aged, needed additional strength for processing.
Rapid oxidants are ingredients like potassium iodate, sodium iodate, calcium peroxide, and potassium bromate. A slower, cleaner oxidant is ascorbic acid.
If you have the option of using enzymes, you can use alpha amylase, proteases, xylanase, and lipase to improve the stretchability of your dough. On the other hand, glucose oxidase, lipoxygenase, transglutaminase and laccase can improve the elasticity of your dough.
These clean label options are more difficult to implement in most industrial bakeries. Therefore, it is best to discuss these options with your dough conditioner ingredient supplier. For more information on these enzymes, search for them on BAKERpedia.
Reducing agents are the complete opposite of oxidizing agents. From a chemical point of view, they add hydrogen atoms to the reactive sites of molecules. This results in embrittlement of the dough and a reduction in kneading times. Reducing agents help to increase stretch and decrease elasticity.
It is common in many industrial bakeries to use a complete dough conditioner blend from an ingredient supplier. To learn more about these individual ingredients, check out this link.
Mixtures of enzymes, emulsifiers, oxidizing agents, reducing agents and vital wheat gluten are usually added to the dough mixing station as minor ingredients. It is recommended that each flour in each mill has its own dough conditioning system, even in the same factory!
Not all dough conditioners are created equal.
It is tempting for bakery companies to use the same dough conditioners for the same product baked in different facilities. However, this is not always the best approach as each plant would have different sources of wheat flour. Different sources would mean different quality of flour. Therefore, different flour qualities would require different dough conditioners.
Lin Carson, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Bakerpedia. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.