The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Anybody has expirience with using alginat in bread baking ?

leostrog's picture

Anybody has expirience with using alginat in bread baking ?

I read this article

and now I want to try a new "wonder", but i haven't found  any recipe in Google.

Please, i appreciate any piece of information or idea.


clazar123's picture

The last video is really a cool concept! Not in the breadbaking family but definitely a wow factor!

I wonder how the alginate would affect the bread dough. I have tried adding Benefiber (wheat detran)to a whole wheat recipe and what it did was make the dough stickier, which makes sense. It adds a gel structure to the dough. However, I determined that rye flour did exactly the same and actually has about the same amount of fiber. I don't know the fiber profile on alginate so I can't compare. Try adding a few tablespoons (??not sure of amount) of alginate to a recipe but be prepared for it to absorb the water and be a stickier dough.You may need a little more water. DON'T add more flour to compensate for the stickiness! Let it be sticky and handle it with either wet hands or oiled hands (whatever works best for you) and a plastic bench scraper. It is tricky but can be done.



leostrog's picture

Thank you for links and ideas.

I'll try with a little batch of dough.

The main question is -  what quantity of flour I can replace with alginate. It  may be something same as for not-gluten recipe or less. And , I think , it's possible to use "no-knead' bread's  method of Lahey.

I have purchased alginate from here.

and, yes pearl-making it's real wonder and, actually, it's very simple ( I  prepared pommegranate juice pearls) and quick process, and very attractive.

FoodFascist's picture

hi there,

I've used agar (aka agar-agar) which is one a seaweed derivative and one of the oldest known gelling agents (although much overshadowed by gellatine which is a great shame). It's a great alternative to gelatine for vegetarians/vegans/muslims/Hindus, and is also meant to be much healthier than gelatine. I found it quite easy to use and it sets well (used it for fruit mousse and to stiffen whipped egg white), the only problem I found is that the flakes didn't always fully dissolve no matter how eagerly I stirred. Maybe it's just the brand I used (Clearspring) or maybe I should have let them swell up more before heating. Agar also comes in a powder form, perhaps that one is easier to work with.

The reason I know about agar is that is was widely used by the Soviet food industry, esp. in sweets and ice-cream, and when they moved to gelatine the taste of most of these foods changed for the worse. Although who knows, it may have been some other changes to the recipe that ruined the taste.


clazar123's picture

When you are changing a recipe I recommend you start small. Since a small amount of alginate seems to have a big effect, I would just add (not replace) only about 1-2 tbsp to a recipe for 1 loaf of bread (a recipe that has about 3 cups of flour). Don't change anything else. SInce it is a water absorber, add the liquid to the alginate and then add to the flour. If the dough seems dry, add water a tablespoon at a time (keep track) and mix thoroughly after each addition to see where the dough is at. This is the only way to see how to change a recipe. After the loaf is baked,make a note of how the crumb looks and tastes and write it down. Then do it all oaver again, making any single change on the next bake and keeping track in your notebook. USe the same basic recipe,also, so your chosen change is the only variable.

Keep us posted!

leostrog's picture

Thank you for you support. I'll try this way.

Darxus's picture

I just had to point out part of the article:

"...the next step was to... study whether... such foods are truly acceptable in a normal diet."

Nobody has eaten this stuff in the quantities they're suggesting, and they didn't even say what those quantities are.  

It seems unlikely to be dangerous, but nobody knows for sure.

leostrog's picture

Not exactly wright- it's a fact that Irish were eating seaweeds for centuries

leostrog's picture

I decided to try and bake a bread, based on the principle of “no - knead bread”  of Lahey, but I also added alginate sodium. 

The quantity that was used:

500 gr. Flour (300 rye + 200 wheat flour)

400 ml. fresh whey (80% from weight of flour)

1 flat Tsp of alginate

1 Tsp salt

10 gr. Of fresh granulated yeasts

1 Tbsp of honey

1 Tbsp of Treacle (to add color)


The dough was prepared according to the authors receipt with only the change of adding alginate.

Why alginate?

As I added 300 gr. of rye flour, poor with gluten, alginate was supposed to play a role of a binder. Because alginate also binds water, I had to add 80% percents of water, instead of 70%.

The bread was baked in 230C with a baking stone.

It came out pretty high, not sticky, but the bread and the crust was too dense.  Maybe I should have put less alginate..?


clazar123's picture

You have what looks to be a great rye texture, which is understandable since you have more rye flour than wheat flour. It looks delicious but sounds like it isn't what you want in regards to the texture of the crumb. I believe it must taste good and probably tastes better after a few days-another rye characteristic.

Remember, adjust 1 thing per bake so you can get an idea of what is changing the texture. If you achieve the crumb you want by adjusting just the flours, then later it will be more apparent what effect adjusting the alginate has. So get the flour ratio where you want for the crumb you want and then adjust the alginate.

So try reversing the flours-300g whole wheat and 200 g rye. It may still be a  fairly dense crumb as this is still a 66% rye loaf. If you want more of an airier sandwich loaf crumb, go even further toward more whole wheat. In all these loaves, make sure you develop the gluten well.

The hydration sounds high on paper but that just illustrates how the alginate is absorbing it. At some point you may even want to increase it.But-one thing at a time. That can come later. You are learning about more than just alginate here. And through you, so am I!

Whole wheat needs a lower baking temp for a slightly longer period. Maybe 190C . This will also change how the crust develops. Did you use a covered, preheated container? I've only read about the Lahey method-I don't have his book.

My impression of the gel aspect of a dough is that it traps the gases the yeast produces but is not too strong and will tend to hold many smaller bubbles rather than any larger bubbles, hence the dense crumb.Gel is also more evenly distributed and more uniform. Gluten is stronger and not so uniformly distibuted and can trap larger bubbles, hence the greater rise and bigger holed, more irregular texture. Bread needs both textures so work with the characteristics of the flours to achieve this aspect of texture. Rye = lots of gel and almost no gluten and wheat=some gel but lots of gluten.

I should have said this at the beginning-that loaf looks lovely! It may not be the crumb you wanted but it sure looks like a delightful loaf! Yum!

Keep going-it is very interesting seeing where you are going with this ingredient.

Can you post a picture of treacle? It is an ingredient we don't have in the United States. For color, we'd add molasses-dark brown,almost black syrup-it also adds a flavor of sugar,burnt sugar,metallic (it is iron-rich). Does treacle taste just sweet (like honey or corn syrup) or is there another dimension to the flavor?

Thank you!

leostrog's picture

I translated the text to English from Russian - so I used the British word Treacle, but it's equivalent to molasses. What I used is blackstrap molasses.

The bread was baked on a stone, using a well heated dutch oven which covered It during the baking. It was used to maintain the humidity around the loaf.

I started baking bread a long time ago, but not regularly. Now I am experimenting with hydrocolloids, and It's very interesting to discover how can they be used in bread baking.
It's possible that by adding alginate one can get a great textured, tasty bread also by using other kinds of flours , like quinoa or millet.