The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making bread better.

australian artisan's picture
australian artisan

Making bread better.

Hi all I am looking for some advice.

First off, I work at a Bakery in Victoria, Australia. And I have been tasked with improving the quality of our products as I have a background in Artisan Baking, the thing is we make bread using "Improver" for you Americans Improver is a dough conditioner and I am not sure how to use it. At the moment we do not let our doughs bulk ferment at all and I see that as a problem.

So that leads to what I want to talk about:

How long should the bulk ferment be for a white dough with improver in it. And mixed for 4 minutes on slow speed and 8-10 minutes on fast? Or will there be no difference?

Would mixing it using the Improved Method produce a better product? And if so how long should I rest it for?

White Dough Percentages:
Four 100%
Water 60%
Yeast 1.6%
Improver 1%
Salt        2%
Fat         2%

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

What is the improver made out of? 

Even with dough conditioners i would bulk ferment my dough.

as for mixing, is it a spiral?  If so i would mix all ingreeds together until it forms a rough dough, then 2nd speed until you get your window pane.  

gerhard's picture

I think most dough conditioners are trying to replace what is lost when you take time out of your recipe.  


ananda's picture

Hi australian artisan,

the improver you describe is designed to alllow bakers to process dough on a "no-time" basis...given other provisos such as relatively intensive mixing, relatively high yeast [are you using instant yeast?], and the use of a small quantity of hard fat.   Anything more than a 10-15 minute rest will have an adverse impact on dough quality.

Adopting the use of an overnight ferment allows the baker to find an alternative to the improver.   Whilst it does not allow for "no time" processing, it does speed up the final process as bulk time is reduced.   It also allows for less intensive mixing, as the dough will develop more quickly with the addition of a pre-fermented portion of dough.

Best advice is to stop using the improver.   I won't bore you with information about the contents of the improver, but would add that they are not ingredients many of us would associate with actual real food!

Best wishes


yozzause's picture


i'm here in Perth, Which improver are you using?

Does your employer want you to make Artisan styles of bread with artisan style methods or just improve what they are currently doing? there is a very big difference, and the way the bakery is set up will also determine what you can do. It may be that you can start introducing some new lines and see how they go.

The types of improvers that you are using are essential to the doughs that you are currently being asked to produce, so just chopping them out will change things substantially. Using those same improvers and using bulk fermentaion of the dough will not work either.

We have a bread improver here from Bakels,  Dobrim 50 which i am sure none of the Chefs here are aware of its handling requirements,  ie no bulk fermentation When used at the rate of 0.5%. they still go for 1 hour bulk fermentation period

I would suggest you do some small trials, the formula that you are suggesting would be fine minus the BI the temperature of the dough would need to finish @ 28C  the bulk fermentation time you would need monitor but likely to be somewhere in the region of 3 hours but i will need to check that for you. My baking experience goes back to dough making 3 and 4 hour bulk fermented wholemeal doughs and white doughs.White sandwhich breads being hi speed instant doughs with no bulk fermentation periods and then in a hot bread shop where all the doughs were again instant doughs with no bulk fermentation period. Here i am now with no previous experience with sourdoughs but revelling in long retarded cold fermentaion sour doughs and breads but more as a hobby now but on occasions assisting with bread classes for some of the Patissiere students and some adult education classes after hours stuff with Tafe.

 Kind regards Yozza


australian artisan's picture
australian artisan

I will have to come up with something new then because I do not like the way the white bread is coming out of the oven. I get a lot of tares on the loaves and the crumb colour is very pale and bland. I want to use a poolish and I have made a few attempts but none have been great.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Poolish fermenting times vary as do the flours that make them.   One of the biggest problems with poolish arises in letting it ferment too long or adding too much yeast into the ferment.  Better to err on the side of not enough fermentation than too much.   The idea being to lower the phytic acid and bring out natural flavour inherent in that particular flour without destroying the gluten bonds.

Antilope's picture

For texture improvement I use a Tangzhong roux. To add or improve flavor, I add malt powder (like Nestle-Carnation Original Malt powder or Ovaltine Original Malt powder - not the chocolate flavor).

australian artisan's picture
australian artisan

Tangzhong roux? What is that! It sounds cool as. We use what the company pinnacle call "Tru Malt" in a two of our products at the moment but I want to find out what it is exactly because anything called "Tru" cannot really be natural.

Tonight I tried using warmer water with the white dough and it came up quite well. A three hour bulk ferment may be too long for us. I used to make a dough that used a polish and we would rest that for 1 hour and it would come up great but it is hard here because the white dough is used for many different products (Vienna loafs, French sticks, Pizzas, Rolls, Knot Rolls and so on) So Ill need to come up with something that can do everything.

Antilope's picture

Tangzhong roux creates a lighter, fluffier, moister, longer lasting loaf of bread. The technique was developed in Asia a few years ago. You create a water roux from flour and water heated to 65C. Google Tangzhong roux for more into. There are videos on YouTube showing the technique and results.

Tangzhong roux details:

You create a water roux from 5%, by weight, of the recipe flour, mixed with 5 times the amount of water, by weight (example 20g flour mixed with 100g water). This is heated to 65C (150F) to form a pudding like mixture. I usually only make a loaf or two of bread, so I heat the roux in the microwave. Others heat it in a saucepan on the stove top. The roux is cooled to room temperature (so it won't kill the yeast or starter) and added to the other recipe wet ingredients. The recipe then proceeds as normal. The flour and water for the roux come from the original recipe amounts. No extra amounts of water or flour are added. 

I have tried the roux using all purpose flour (plain flour) and bread flour (strong flour), both worked well and improved the loaves. It didn't seem to work as well using 100% whole wheat (wholemeal) flour. When I make a light wheat bread (half bread flour and half whole wheat flour),  I make the roux from the bread flour and the light wheat loaf turns out lighter, fluffier, moister and lasts a day or two longer.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in some German to English translations of German recipes.

Yerffej's picture

"...I have been tasked with improving the quality of our products..."

The only way to complete that task is to throw away the improver.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


australian artisan's picture
australian artisan

Ok I am making an attempt at a white dough using a poolish. I will let you all know how to gos.