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Do you use dough enhancer? Make your own?

A whole wheat bread recipe I've got calls for both vital wheat gluten AND dough enhancer. I'm new to bread baking, but I kind of thought the VWG was a dough enhancer. Think both are necessary?

And to confuse me further, a recipe I've found online for homemade dough enhancer includes VWG:

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups wheat gluten
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
4 tablespoons dry pectin
4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
4 tablespoons lecithin granules
1 tablespoon ascorbic acid, crystals

So if I'm putting so much VWG in a dough enhancer, why would I add more by itself?

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  1. I don't use that stuff. It looks like it's supposed to help preserve the bread to give it a longer shelf life. (pectin, ascorbic acid)

    1. VWG just ups the "strength" of the flour.
      Most Enhancers are a combo of extra gluten, yeast, yeast foods, textural add-ins and preservatives. If you are not trying to make store bought textured breads(spongy, puffy and soft crusted) there is no need to use them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        So if I've been happy with my homemade bread as-is, I don't need to bother with all this? Just stick with the VWG?

        I'm mostly trying to come up with a whole wheat sandwich bread that my husband will like as much (or more--but it's hard to imagine) as white bread. Maybe what he's wanting is spongy, puffy, and soft-crusted...

        1. re: Thanks4Food

          So if you are trying to imitate "Wonder" type bread use the dough enhancer.
          If you are happy with the texture and flavor of your bread with out it then do not use it.
          You could also look for recipes that use White Whole Wheat Flour which will yield a softer textured bread. http://www.breadworld.com/Recipe.aspx...

      2. Another dough enhancer is Tangzhong roux.

        15 Replies
        1. re: Antilope

          I was also going to suggest tangzhong. I have yet to try it myself because I love crusty rustic breads, but am insterested in learning the technique just to expand my repertoire.

          1. re: ohmyyum

            Here's a recipe that I have developed.

            Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread

            This makes a tender, lighter, longer lasting loaf of whole wheat bread using
            the Tangzhong roux method.

            The Tangzhong roux method was developed in Asia. It is a roux of water and flour heated to 65-C (150-F). The roux is thick and creamy and a translucent brownish-white color. The cooled roux is mixed with the other wet ingredients. Its use results in a lighter, fluffier bread with a longer shelf life.

            The Tangzhong roux is usually made from 5% by weight of the total flour used. It is mixed with a 5 to 1 ratio of water (by weight). The water used in the roux should be subtracted from the total liquids used in the recipe.

            Tanzhong roux
            1/2 cup water (for Tanzhong roux)
            3 Tbsp whole wheat flour (for Tanzhong roux)

            Bread Dough
            3/4 cup water
            Prepared, cooled, Tanzhong roux (from 1/2 cup water and 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour above)
            4 Tbsp honey, molasses or dark corn syrup
            1 tsp table salt
            2 Tbsp dry milk powder or dry coffee creamer
            2 1/4 tsp (or 1 packet) bread machine or instant yeast
            3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
            3 Tbsp butter, softened

            I make the TangZhong roux in an 1100-watt microwave. Use a pyrex´╗┐ cup. 100-gm (about 1/2 cup) room temperature water, 20-gm (about 3 Tbsp) whole wheat flour. Mix well with whisk.
            -Microwave 24-seconds. Stir, take temperature. Will be about 125-F.
            -Microwave 14-seconds. Stir, take´╗┐ temperature. Will be about 145-F.
            -Microwave 8 more seconds. Stir, take temperature. Will be about 155-F.
            The roux will be thick and creamy and a translucent brownish-white color.
            Cool to below 130-F, mix with other wet ingredients.

            Combine 3/4 cup water, prepared Tanzhong roux, honey, salt, milk powder and yeast. Mix well. Add to bread machine.

            Add whole wheat flour to bread machine. Mix until moistened with rubber spatula.

            Add softened butter to bread machine.

            Select WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, 1 1/2 LB LOAF, MEDIUM CRUST. Press START.

            **To bake in regular oven, see below.

            Makes one 1 1/2 lb whole wheat loaf.

            **After the first rise, you can remove the dough from bread machine, shape into a loaf, place in a 9x5 loaf pan and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 350-F for 50 - 60 minutes.

            1. re: Antilope

              Interesting...I'll have to try this. Thanks for the detailed instructions.

              1. re: Thanks4Food

                As with any bread recipe, you may have to add slightly more water or flour, as needed, to make a non-sticky, non-crumbly kneadable dough.

              2. re: Antilope

                Thank you for the recipe, antilope! I especially appreciate the microwave instructions, and I am also glad to see that the tangzhong technique can be used successfully to make a whole wheat bread. What I am really after, however, is a bread with a soft, rich, elastic crumb (similar to what one might find in a Japanese or Korean bakery), and to achieve that, I may have to use white flour. Anyway, I am excited to try this!

                1. re: Antilope

                  The Japanese won't eat bread which isn't soft like 1950's bread. You can't even get a bagel over here because they won't eat anything chewy, like bagels or German breads. I still have teeth, so I'm not interested in that degree of softness. Is that what this TangZhong method results in?

                  1. re: DonLargo

                    It makes a loaf of bread fluffy and light, similar a loaf Wonder Bread. The starch created by the roux retains moisture in the loaf that would normally be baked away and evaporated. This also makes the loaf have a longer shelf life.

                  2. re: Antilope

                    Hi Antilope---

                    Thanks so much for posting this recipe. Could you please answer a question re this step: "The water used in the roux should be subtracted from the total liquids used in the recipe." Does that mean that you should use only 1/4 cup water in the dough (3/4 -1/2 = 1/4), or did you already subtract the water used in the roux from the water amount in the dough?

                    Thanks very much.

                    1. re: soccermom13

                      The recipe uses a total of 1-1/4 cups of water. Use 1/2 cup of that water to make the water roux.
                      .
                      I have since found a Light Wheat bread is even fluffier. Use 1/2 Bread flour and 1/2 Whole Wheat flour in the recipe instead of all Whole Wheat Flour. Make the water roux from 3 Tbsp of the Bread flour.

                      1. re: Antilope

                        Antilope---
                        Thank you for the info.
                        Do you by any chance have weight measurements for the flour and water in your recipe? I much prefer weighing flour and liquids for bread.
                        Thanks again.

                        1. re: soccermom13

                          I adapted the Peter Reinhart's "White Bread variation 2" recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice for the bread machine. I also adapted the recipe to make a Light Whole-Wheat loaf.
                          .
                          In addition, I added a Tangzhong roux to make an even lighter loaf. This makes the best, lightest sandwich bread and the best white bread and light wheat breads that I have seen come out of a bread machine.
                          .
                          .
                          .
                          Volume Ingredient Bakers %
                          .
                          - Light Whole-Wheat Bread (add 3 ingredients below and Remainder of Ingredients)
                          .
                          1-2/3 cups Bread flour (200 g) 47 %
                          1-2/3 cups Whole-wheat flour (200 g) 47 %
                          1/4 cup Wheat germ (25 g) 6 %
                          .
                          - White Bread (add bread flour below and Remainder of Ingredients)
                          3 cups Bread flour (425 g) 100 %
                          .
                          Remainder of Bread Ingredients 57.8 %
                          1/2 cup Water (approx.) (115g) 27.0 % (used in Tangzhong roux)
                          1/3 cup Buttermilk (80g) 18.8 %
                          1 Egg (55 g total wt) 12.9 %
                          2 Tbsp Powdered milk or Dry Coffee Creamer (13 g) 3.0 %
                          2 Tbsp Malted Milk Powder (13 g) 3.0 %
                          1 1/4 tsp Salt (7.5 g) 1.8 %
                          2-1/2 Tbsp White or Brown Sugar (32 g) 7.5 % (white sugar for white loaf & brown sugar for whole wheat loaf)
                          3-1/3 Tbsp Butter, softened (32 g) 7.5 %
                          2-1/4 tsp Instant yeast (7 g) 1.6 %
                          .
                          To make the Tangzhong roux in a microwave:
                          .
                          Take 1/2 cup (120 g) of water and 3 Tbsp (20 g) bread flour
                          and mix well in a Pyrex measuring cup with a fork or small whisk.
                          .
                          Heat 25 seconds in a microwave (Mine's an 1100-watt). Stir well.
                          Heat 10 seconds more in a microwave. Stir well.
                          Heat 5 seconds more in a microwave. Stir well.
                          .
                          The Tanzhong roux should now be be over 150-F creamy and pudding-like.
                          .
                          Add to remaining Ingredients:
                          .
                          Stir the Tangzhong roux together with the buttermilk and beaten egg.
                          Stir the powdered milk, salt and sugar in to liquid ingredients.
                          Mix well until smooth.
                          .
                          Pour the liquid ingredients into bread machine. Add the softened butter.
                          .
                          Add the flour(s) to the bread machine. Finally add the yeast to the
                          top of the flour.
                          .
                          Set the bread machine on WHITE or REGULAR CYCLE, 1-1/2 LB (0.75 KG) LOAF.
                          .
                          Press START.
                          .
                          In the first few minutes of kneading, add a small amount of water or flour as required to make a firm, slightly sticky dough that could be kneaded by hand.
                          .
                          Makes One 1-1/2 LB (0.75 KG) loaf.

                          1. re: Antilope

                            Antilope,

                            Thanks very much. Just want to be sure I understand: is the only liquid in this recipe what I've listed below?

                            ***1/2 cup water for the roux
                            ***1/3 cup buttermilk
                            ***one egg
                            (and the butter too if you count that as a liquid)

                            And malted milk powder is the stuff you'd use to make malts with ice cream, right? Sorry if that's a dorky question, but I want to use the right stuff. I am really pumped to try this recipe.

                            Thanks again.

                            1. re: soccermom13

                              The total liquids are 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup butter milk, 1 egg (approx 1/4 cup)

                              Most bread machine loaves should be about 58% to 65% hydration. In this loaf 250 grams liquid / 400 grams flour = 62% hydration. I count the water, buttermilk and egg. I don't count butter and most professional recipes don't count butter, oils or sugar syrups in the hydration figure.

                              The malt is malted milk powder for flavoring. You can leave it out if you wish. I use either Nestles-Carnation Malted Milk Powder (not chocolate) or Ovaltine Original Malted Milk powder (not chocolate). I get them at Walmart.

                              http://www.walmart.com/ip/10291966?wm...

                              http://www.amazon.com/Ovaltine-Classi...

                              Even though weights are used for this recipe, some adjustment to the dough has to be made to form a smooth, non-sticky, non-crumbly ball of dough. The dough should be firm enough hold its shape. Monitor the first couple of minutes of kneading and add more flour or water, a tablespoon at a time to make a dough of a consistency you could knead by hand.

                              1. re: Antilope

                                Many thanks, Antilope, for your generosity in sharing all this info.

                                1. re: soccermom13

                                  We've used a Tangzong like roux for years but haven't called it that. Heating the flour to around 150-F in water gelatinizes the starch, creating a translucent, unflavored pudding. A cornstarch pudding is similar, it is heated in milk until the starch gelatinizes.
                                  .
                                  What have we added pudding to for years, to make it more moist? Cakes! Pudding cakes!
                                  .
                                  Adding a Tangzhong water roux to a bread recipe is similar to adding pudding to a cake recipe, and the result seems to be the same. A more moist, light and fluffy product.

              3. Don't commercially-available dough enhancers contain L-cysteine? Google this amino acid and you'll find that in addition to being a common bread ingredient, it is often/usually derived from human hair, an ick factor for many folks.

                1 Reply
                1. Ascorbic acid...or even a little lemon juice..will enhance the yeast with heavy breads. Gluten helps it to form nice air-bonds. But.if you are happy with what you have, you don't really need it. I use a old "bread machine" trick with 100% whole wheat. I let it go through one 15 minute or so knead cycle. Shut the machine off.....wait 20 mins...then start it all over on a whole wheat setting. Seems to get plenty of rise and "oomph"