Flour treatment agent
Flour treatment agents (also called improving agents, bread improvers, dough conditioners and dough improvers) are food additives combined with flour to improve baking functionality. Flour treatment agents are used to increase the speed of dough rising and to improve the strength and workability of the dough.
While they are an important component of modern factory baking, some small-scale bakers reject them in flavour of longer fermentation periods that produce greater depth of flavour.
There are wide ranges of these conditioners used in factory baking, which fall into four main categories: bleaching agents, oxidizing and reducing agents, enzymes, and emulsifiers.
Flour bleaching agents:
are added to flour to make it appear whiter (freshly milled flour is yellowish), to oxidize the surfaces of the flour grains, and help with developing of gluten.Oxidizing agents:
are added to flour to help with gluten development. They may or may not also act as bleaching agents. Oxidizing agents primarily affect sulfur-containing amino acids, ultimately helping to form disulfide bridges between the gluten molecules. The addition of these agents to flour will create a stronger dough.Reducing agents:
help to weaken the flour by breaking the protein network. This will help with various aspects of handling a strong dough. The benefits of adding these agents are reduced mixing time, reduced dough elasticity, reduced proofing time, and improved machinability.Enzymes:
are also used to improve processing characteristics. Yeast naturally produces both amylases and proteinases, but additional quantities may be added to produce faster and more complete reactions.
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