The Basic Raw Materials

2. Which auxiliary raw materials can you use in the bakery?

Bread Improver




In the bakery industries around the world “Bread Improver” preparations are intended to improve the quality of the bread. It makes the bread more flavourful and extend its shelf life. Because of the complexity and the fact that there is a whole regulation behind it, makes it very difficult and impossible for bakers to prepare it themselves.

Bread improvers are in practice made by specialised companies. Specialised firms make these complex compositions, because these additives are fully regulated by a Royal Decree in Belgium.

What is in a preparation?




There are usually six categories of elements in the preparation:
- Sugars
- Enzymes
- Dry milk ingredients
- Oxidizing & reducing agents
- Fats
- Emulsifiers



SUGAR serves to make the yeast work better and to color the bread crust. The fact that not all sugars are converted by the yeast at the same speed. A preparation contain different types of sugars to ensure that the yeast works optimally during the entire fermentation process. A mixture of sugars usually contains: cane or beet sugar (sucrose), grape sugar (dextrose or glucose), fruit sugar (fructose) and milk sugar (lactose).

ENZYMES are proteins. Together with flour and yeast, it will improve the bread volume, shelf life and tenderness of the bread.

Examples of DRY MILK: Full milk powder, skimmed milk powder, buttermilk powder, or soya milk powder. You will get a different taste depending on which milk powder you use. It also improve the colour of the crust.



OXIDIZING AGENT (Ascorbic acid or vitamin C) strengthens the gluten in flour, which can give a better rise, and help dough to rise more quickly. REDUCING AGENT (L-Cysteine) is an amino acid that helps to relax and soften the gluten for better and easier dough handling.

FATS are an important part of a preparation. It has a major influence on the flexibility of the crumb, the volume of the bread and stays tender longer. The dough becomes more elastic and less dry.



The EMULSIFIERS help to strengthen dough for better gas retention and for better volume. It also distributes the fats better over the dough.

Examples of emulsifiers: Lecithin (E 322) from soybean, but with a rather weak effect.

Monoglycerides (E 471), it gives a softer crumb and a lasting tenderness. Mostly used with bread improvers.

DATEM (E 472e), mainly used for crunchy products.

SSL or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (E 481), a product from fatty acids and lactic acid, is used in fine bakery products for soft crust yeast doughs.

The E's




The use and application of additives is regulated by an implementing decision of the European Community. The aim is to inform people as well as possible about what exactly they eat. Anyone who produces packaged food products is obliged to put the ingredients and additives on the packaging by means of a print or label. Here we often find E's. What do they want to say in practice?

E100 to E199: dyes
E200 to E299: Preservatives
E300 to E399: Anti-oxidants
E400 to E499: Emulsifiers and thickeners

The E’s are permitted in food by public health and are proven harmless, despite the negative publicity about it by the media.

Michael Lim

Author