The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

super market breads

norco1's picture

super market breads

I have been making bread at home for a number of years and have never been able to replicate the light crumb found in most super market breads . Is there a formula for this type of bread making?

Jw's picture

do you have a picture. Is 'light' referring to the colour only?


Yumarama's picture

I'm afraid we don't have much info to go on here. 

We don't know what sort of bread you're aiming for - even grocery stores have a variety of breads. At my local store, I can get everything from Wonder type bread (in a few varieties and brands) to German ryes to naan to numerous Italian and French types, both of the bakery style loaves and commercial "bagged" sort. Although all of these are mass produced, they can still have great differences in crumb texture. We can "assume" you may mean one or the other but that would just be a guess.

Nor do we know what you're currently making and why it's not getting you the desired texture. And without seeing the recipe you're using, there's no way to advise on what to do to improve it.

If you can fill in a little more of these details, I'm sure plenty of folks will be able to offer lots of possible suggestions.



suave's picture

I can't help you as far as formula goes, but at least I can tell that your question is perfectly clear and I understand exactly what you are asking about.  As far as I understand it is done by using strong flours, often with extra gluten, adding dough conditioners - fats, emulsifiers and such and by using intensive mixing.

norco1's picture

I'm pleased that you apparently understand what i'm describing as a 'super market' commercial bread. Is there anyone out there that might have a clue as to the specifics of that formula?

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

I think chain store brands or generic white bread contains additives to achieve that airy texture that are not available to to the home baker so you're not likely to get a satisfactory answer here.  Besides, it seems that this type of bread  would probably be cheaper to buy than to make even if you could make it at home. 

But I agree that "supermarket bread" can mean many things.  For example, my neighborhood supermarket (a small regional chain store) doesn't even carry  generic white bread, if that's what you're referring to. 

ananda's picture


You need access to commercial improvers.   These contain a veritable cocktail of all things lovely/nasty, depending on your take.   This is what they are:

Improvers: these work on the structure of the dough.   The usual improver is l-ascorbic acid, or, Vitamin C.   Potassium Bromate has been banned in the UK, but may still be legal in the US.   These strengthen the dough by creating a network of cross bonds to interlink and form an elastic dough.

Supermarkets are not big on time, so they want the bread on the shelves as fast as possible.   All their doughs are made "no time".   So, they use a "reducing agent" in the improver too.   This was l-Cysteine di-Hydrochloride, but the evil ingredients manufacturers in the UK use enzymes now.   This is because enzymens are classed as "processing aids", so they do not have to be declared...hey presto, "CLEAN LABEL!!!!"   The reducer cuts away some of the cross bonds, and creates an extensible dough, as opposed to an elastic dough.   Just a quick thought here: as the yeasts react, so carbon dioxide gas is produced.   So the dough will expand to hold in the gas.   So the protein chains need to soften in order to be able to stretch, so the dough can expand.   This is all about what fermentation is about.   Alas, the big boys are somewhat impatient, so they use chemicals, or, enzymes instead.   Incidently, plant bread [ie sliced loaf in a wrapper]is made using high speed mixers.   The mixers are so powerful, that the energy imparted is sufficient to do the reducing job fulfilled by the supermarkets lovely chemicals.

Other ingredients in an improver?   Well, there will be some sort of emulsifier, usually Datem Ester.   This will make your bread nice and fluffy and light, as it allows you to trap extra water into the dough, and gives a lovely cotton wool/toilet tissue texture to the bread; mm, yummy!

Oh, yes, then there'll be some other enzymes too.   Probably some hemicellulose from GMO soya bean husk.   Nice and fibrous, great way to tie lots of extra water into the dough.   No flavour whatsoever, but folks have been trying to make water stand up in a tin for donkeys years.   This is the most successful the ingredients makers have been so far.

Preservatives: ah yes, well sour dough is far too technical, so let's add some Potassium Sorbate, or, Calcium Propionate instead.   Some go for acetic acid [vinegar], but most don't want to err on the side of caution.   Afterall, maximum shelf life is a great bonus to these people.

What else?   Well some food for the yeast; again enzymes would be popular.

Lastly, more enzymes, especially amylase.   It's generally added by the miller, but those ingredients boys may well add some more for good measure.

There you have it: the secret of making good supermarket bread: you like?

Millions of people eat this s--t every day!!   And think it's proper bread too!

These lovely substances are added at controlled rates based on ppm, or, parts per million, on flour.   An Improver, or, Dough Conditioner, has all these additives combined in balanced and legal amounts, using a filler such as soya flour to hold the mix together.   The Improver would be added at between 1 and 2% on flour, depending on thetype of bread being made.   If not available in a dry sachet, it is available as a pouch containing a paste.   This has all the obnoxious listed ingredients above, plus some fat.

I'm sorry to say, I have no grudge about this: it is the truth!   Thought you might like to know 

Best wishes


Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

When I was in college (decades ago), my roommate and I were cleaning out the cupboards before heading home for the summer.  We found a full loaf of sliced white bread that had obviously been there for weeks, maybe even months (neither of us could remember buying it, and we didn't often eat in since we had a university meal plan).  The loaf was entirely covered with blue-black mold, but it was still soft as any freshly baked loaf on the store shelves!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It's one way of getting softness without all the chemicals in store bought. Those are the recipes that blend a little bit of the flour with water and just bring it up to a boil.  Amazing!

This is on the "Feed aggregator":