Bread Improver has been a staple ingredient in bakeries for many years and offers benefits for every baker. If you lack variety in your equipment or are worried about the consistency and quality of your flour supply, it can help.
Since the art of baking began, there have been two things that bakers cannot control.
1. Once the bread has left the oven, there is no controlling the rapid ageing process of the wheat starch resulting in the toughening of the loaf. The threat of going stale means that freshly baked bread has had short life-spans for time eternal.
2. The baker has little, if any, control over the quality of the flour they use. In times past, the ageing process would ensure this quality and this raw storage technique was paramount for the baker to create their best batches. But with time and efficiency becoming more of an issue, the storage time decreased, and then vanished.
If your bakery chooses to use bread improver, these age-old issues can become a thing of the past. Not only can you take back control of the baking process, but you can better master some tough challenges, even across your less experienced staff.
What is a Bread Improver?
Improvers are mixtures of substances that each contribute specific functions in dough mixing, proofing, and baking of various bread and roll products.
It helps fight against inconsistency in batching and will help to prevent line stoppages caused by sticky or otherwise unusable dough. One poor batch can be the difference in making your quota, and perhaps even your profits for the day.
Bread improver makes the baking process more manageable.
What is in Bread Improver?
The most functional components of improvers are emulsifiers, enzymes, and flour treatment agents. Each ingredient provides technological benefits to the dough by interacting with the flour components. Some of these interactions complement those of others, so an improver needs to be carefully balanced to provide the correct characteristics in the finished baked product.
Enzymes are denatured during baking and are treated as processing aids, therefore they need not be labelled. Emulsifiers and flour treatment agents are E-number additives and must be labelled. Where a ‘Clean Label’ product is needed, enzymes can be used to replace E-numbers.
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Why would you use a Bread Improver?
1. Bread Improvers are used to improve the quality and palatability of bread made using shorter processes, which would otherwise yield products with poor volume, rubbery crumb texture, and that are quick to stale.
2. Longer processes and better quality flour can produce fantastic products without the need for improvers, but the skills and resources are not always available for this type of bread and such processes are less suited to mass production. Thus, improvers allow bakeries to produce bread of consistent quality and quantity.
3. Many of the ingredients in improvers have very low dosage rates and would be inconvenient to prepare in a factory or in-store bakery. Improvers deliver the correct dosage of these ingredients in a convenient dosage rate – usually given as a percentage of the recipe flour. Some recipes require more improver than others. For example, the protein quality in wholemeal flour is lower than for white flour, so it needs more support during the whole process, whereas for rolls the product needs extra stability because there is no tin to support the shape of the product during proofing and baking.
What are enzymes?
Enzymes, like all proteins, are long chains of amino acids made by all living organisms. The specific sequence of amino acids gives each enzyme its unique three-dimensional shape. This shape gives each enzyme its catalytic activity, and is tailored by nature to perform a specific task – much like a specific key is needed to open a lock. Enzymes perform many of the reactions that occur in our bodies, such as digesting food.
Enzymes are used in many industries besides bakery: dairy, brewing, cleaning products and textiles, to name just a few. Every industrial use of enzymes helps to make the process faster, cheaper, cleaner or more environmentally friendly.
How are enzymes made?
In nature, enzymes are produced by living organisms according to a genetic code. Industrial enzymes are made by microorganisms like yeast and bacteria. The microorganisms are fermented and the conditions are carefully controlled so that they produce particular enzymes in sufficient quantity. The resulting broth is filtered, purified, stabilised and standardized to a convenient strength.
Enzymes in baking
The catalytic activities of enzymes are useful for bakers because they can modify mixing time, dough rheology, proof tolerance, bread volume and crumb texture. They can even extend the shelf-life of bread, keeping it soft for several days. Each enzyme works on a specific component of the flour. For example, amylases break down starch whilst lipases modify fats and lipids.
As a Centre of Competence for Bread, British Bakels manufacture a wide range of general-purpose and bespoke bread and roll improvers, to help bakers consistently produce top quality bread and roll products.
Promoting the productivity of your bakery
If you’re a growing bakery who are looking to expand your range or increase the demand on your bread production, improver can be that helping hand on the way.
Bakels produce a wide range of Improvers, according to different customer profiles. Lecitem and Quantum brands provide a range of robust solutions, tailored to specific bakery requirements such as clean label, immediate softness, volume, stability and economy-in-use.