The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough conditioners - buttermilk, Vit C, gluten, lecithin, soy flour, etc.

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KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Dough conditioners - buttermilk, Vit C, gluten, lecithin, soy flour, etc.

My first question concerns buttermilk & vitamin C.  These both acidify the dough, which gives the yeast a boost.  Does the buttermilk do anything else - or anything different than regular milk?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

...my comments are restricted to the use of buttermilk in loaf breads only. By this I mean a bread recipe designed to be baked in a loaf pan made with commercial yeast. It does not apply to hearth breads or sourdough breads.

IMHO, the use of buttermilk produces a somewhat softer crumb for a "sandwich loaf" made primarily or wholly with white flour. The crust also may be somewhat softer. This assumes that the liquid in your recipe calls for buttermilk, OR whole milk OR 50/50 whole milk and water plus some fat (usually butter).

I have found the difference to be quite subtle and that, in general, for this kind of bread, most ppl can't tell the difference.

For basic white sandwich bread or rolls, I personally seldom bother with purchasing buttermilk. While I enjoy the taste of buttermilk, I find that I don't use it up. I prefer using whole milk, sometimes enriched with the addition of some butter (butter! - not margarine).

Cooky's picture
Cooky

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

Cooky's picture
Cooky

I add buttermilk to a basic white artisan recipe to make sandwhich rolls, reducing water content to maintain the right texture. I believe you could use 100% buttermilk, though it might take a bit more mixing to get all the ingredients incorporated.

The result is a softer texture, a more even crumb (although that may be due more to the extra handling required to shape the rolls) and a subtle tang in the flavor. I believe softer texture is the  main reason to use buttermilk, although there is a flavor component

 

I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

charbono's picture
charbono

Buttermilk, like yogurt, is acidic.  Acidity, in moderation, strengthens gluten.  It also helps to keep enzymes such as amylase and protease under control.  However, it liberates the enzyme phytase.  These issues are important in whole wheat, where gluten is typically weak and there are lots of enzymes. 

 

Why do you think acidity boosts yeast?

   

I use buttermilk in powdered form, which has almost no fat and keeps a long time.

 
sharonanne's picture
sharonanne

Buttermilk: One tip that hasn't been mentioned yet, is that many yeast bread recipes using buttermilk, often include a bit of baking soda. This small addition offsets the zing to your tongue that buttermilk can give.

Basic Formula: per 1 cup of buttermilk, add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Vitamin C: Adding just a dash, can also help inhibit mold growth.

Warmly,

Sharon Anne

My personal cooking site: http://www.sharonanne.com

suave's picture
suave

Modifiers... Truth be told when I want bread that won't get mold I go to Aunt Millie's outlet just down the street.  "All Natural Crunchy Oat".  Costs 90 cents, tastes ok, and keeps a month.  Nine line list of ingredients too.

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi,

with buttermilk as the only liquid you can extend hydration to 100% and even more.
At least I can do it with the buttermilk that we have here.

I sometimes bake hearth-breads with 100% hydration. Makes the bread lovely juicy.

Harry

---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

sharonanne's picture
sharonanne

Hi, with buttermilk as the only liquid you can extend hydration to 100% and even more. At least I can do it with the buttermilk that we have here. I sometimes bake hearth-breads with 100% hydration. Makes the bread lovely juicy. -- Harry

Harry, do you also have (hydration %) experience with buttermilk, for sandwich breads, as opposed to hearth-breads?

Warmly,

Sharon Anne

My personal cooking site: http://www.sharonanne.com

JERSK's picture
JERSK

   According to RLB's "Bread Bible" commercial buttermilk contains 90.5% water and 1.75% fat. She's a pretty reliable source on these matters.

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi Sharon Anne,

unfortunately I have no experience with sandwich breads. Very sorry.
The normal bread over here is a wheat-rye-bread, made with sourdough. No pure wheat breads.

-----

Hi JERSK,

I have never read any "Bread Bible", sorry. So I do not know what you are going to say.
If buttermilk contains 90.5% water and 1.75% fat, fine for the buttermilk. But what has it to do with the hydration of a bread dough?

-----

Harry

---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

MAFinOKC's picture
MAFinOKC

While looking for sources of wheat gluten a while back we discovered the Prepared Pantry mail-order house in Idaho, which has some really great products. We ordered a "bread baker's starter pack" which included their "Professional Dough Conditioner." It is touted as "indispensable to the baking of great breads. Add this conditioner with your flour for all yeast baking for lighter, better loaves and pastries." Sounds great, but the instructions are to add just 1/2 of a teaspoon per loaf. The ingredients start with wheat flower, dextrose, soy flour, and calcium salts and include the kind of chemicals that seem to show up in the list of preservatives for processed food, except maybe fungal enzymes. The rest of the starter pack included gluten, barley malt flour, and potato flour. Adding the recommended amounts of all of these to our bread recipes has in fact made our breads much better. I'm just not convinced about the dough condtioner. I just can't see how the addition of those small amounts of commonplace products could improve bread. Does anyone else have any opinions or information?

mw's picture
mw

I'm not sure about your professional dough conditioner. I'm new to sandwich loaf baking, and I was just researching dough conditioners. Here is an article that I found interesting and very informative, maybe you will too.


http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/2814


I don't know how accurate the information is, but I do plan to try these ingredients to find out for myself, as my goal is to make bread that is similar to storebought sandwich bread, to make my family happy.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

If you want 100% whole wheat bread that is amazing without buying another bread book look up Txfarmer's recipe in her blog. It has oatmeal in it and is amazingly soft and easy to make.  One that is a huge hit here.


If you soak your grains prior to baking you get soft breads that do not need any dough conditioners....at least that has been my experience using the whole grain recipes in Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread Book....

mw's picture
mw

Can you recommend a recipe for a white bread? I'm working on converting a life-long white bread eater, and would like to bake a white whole wheat version that would make him happy. I have yet to find that, though. I thought maybe dough conditioners would be the way to go, but I'm really striving to make the simplest sort of loaf possible, with the least amount of ingredients. I used KA white whole wheat flour to make a loaf of sandwich bread about a year ago, and it was just terrible. Very dense. I'm new to bread baking, and that one recipe was enough to put my family off from having me make bread for quite some time!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sorry, I don't have a recipe for a white bread. I only use whole grains that I grind myself with the recipes from Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart.


When I want a lighter bread I use Kamut flour or White Whole Wheat but are both home ground.  Soaking the grains makes them very soft though.  You will be very surprised!



 



 


Here are 4 links for you to check out.  I have baked 2 of them with outstanding results. Two need sourdough levains instead of yeast.  Reinhart's recipes are written for yeast and sourdough.  (I borrowed the book from the library and baked with it before buying it.  Only took one loaf to sell me on the technique and book...)


Good Luck!


 

lepainjersey's picture
lepainjersey

Hey there, MAFinOKC. We use the stuff all the time at my bakery. While no, i can't particularly say it improves the bread itself, it does however improve the keeping quality of the dough. We usually add it to doughs that are portioned and are needed to stay active for a few days. It saves time in high production scenarios in that respect, but for home use, i think it's a waste of money.

mw's picture
mw

As I said, I'm new to baking sandwich breads, and really quite new to baking breads in general. I have never tried soaking grains, nor grinding my own. These are things I will certainly do some research on!


I don't have a sourdough starter going, but have been toying with the idea of making one. For the moment I'm using yeast, because I don't want to be wasteful and I don't know how much of a commitment to regular bread baking I can make right now. I'm 11 days away from the birth of my first child, so I'll probably wait a few months until I get into a routine before I try my hand at a sourdough starter and weekly or bi-weekly bread baking.


 


I appreciate your input, and will be marking this thread as a fave for future reference. And I think I will skip the dough conditioners for now. :)


 


Thanks so much!