WonderMix Bread Dough Mixer

Dough Enhancer’s: And How-To Use Them

See more in Sourdough Recipes, Tips

There are many reasons you would want to use a dough enhancer. Dough enhancers can improve the texture, taste and crust of the bread. Most of them also act as preservatives which helps keep your bread fresher long. Best of all they are natural and so are perfectly safe to add to your bread.

I am also going to bet that you add dough enhancers to your bread already and didn’t even know it. Everything other than flour, water and yeast is a dough enhancer in some fashion or another. For example sugar or any sweetener acts as a food for yeast thereby giving the yeast more energy and that in turns gives you a better risen and lighter loaf of bread. Now if you use honey for your sweetener you are also getting a natural preservative that will help keep the bread fresher a little longer.

If you recipe calls for eggs, here again we have a dough enhancer. First the egg is a leavening agent that gives you a lighter loaf of bread and the lecithin rich yolk also helps improve the breads texture, moisture level and it is also a mild preservative.

So, you see you have been using dough enhancers all along. These information contained in this document is here to help you understand the different ingredients and what they do to your dough, how the help preserve it and how to combine them to get the best effect.


Lecithin helps keep bread fresher longer & works with the gluten to make a lighter bread. It also helps make the bread moister and acts as a mild preservative. Made from soy or egg yolks. Comes in liquid or granular form.

Use: 1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

Non-Diastatic Malt

Super food source for the yeast which give the bread better structure & makes the bread softer & tender. Made from dried sprouted barley and is not the same as malted milk powder. Comes in liquid or granular form.

Use: 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour

Ascorbic Acid

Creates an acidic environment for the yeast which helps it work better. It also acts as a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth. If you can’t find pure ascorbic acid crystals you can use Fruit Fresh (canning isle) or a crushed/powdered vitamin C tablet.

Use: 1/8 teaspoon per loaf

Dry Acid Whey

It is the essence of buttermilk with out the milk solids. Like with Ascorbic Acid it helps create a good environment for the yeast work quickly and vigorously, giving a maximum rise in short periods of time. Acts as a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth. When buying Dry Acid Whey make sure it says “acid” on the package. If it doesn’t assume it is sweet whey which isn’t the same and won’t work correctly.

Use: 1 teaspoon per cup of flour

Vital Wheat Gluten

Vital wheat gluten occurs naturally in all wheat and wheat derived white flours. Some white flours have more or less than others. Vital wheat gluten only does one thing, it helps improve the rise and texture of bread. With out it you have a rock, door stop, paper weight. Generally, if you are using white bread flour you don’t need to add any. However, all-purpose or whole grain flours need Vital Wheat Gluten.

1 Tablespoon per cup of flour


Pectin adds moistness to the bread and it replaces fat in the bread. This is the same pectin used to make jams and jellies. It comes in liquid and granular form. The granules are easier to work with and store.

Use: 1 teaspoon per loaf


Ginger is a yeast booster it gives it a “quick-start”, and keeps it working. Because of its astringent properties it also helps keep the bread fresher longer and it deters mold and bacterial growth. It is best to used powdered ginger in your bread. You don’t have to worry you won’t taste it in the amount used.

Use: 1/4 teaspoon per loaf

Dry Milk

Milk helps with crust browning, bread moisture, taste and nutritional value. It also helps the dough to relax for those times you want to roll it out or shape it. Dry milk or powdered milk work the same.

Use: 1 Tablespoon per cup of flour


Gelatin helps with bread texture and moisture. It is also of nutritional value and is good for the hair and fingernails. Make sure to use unflavored gelatin.

Use: 1 teaspoon per loaf


Fats. Fats help with taste, texture and the moisture of the bread. Most French bread recipes don’t contain fat as it takes away the chewiness of the bread. You don’t need to be worried about the fat content of most bread. Most recipes use a tablespoon or two and that is for the whole loaf. A single slice is very low in fat.

1 Tablespoon per cup of flour


Eggs add rise, color, texture and taste to bread. Also, if you use the yolk as well you get some of the effects like using lecithin.

Use: 1 large egg replaces about 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe.


Buttermilk helps the yeast work quickly and vigorously, giving maximum rise in the time frame allotted by bread machines. It also softens the texture of the bread. Like with any acid type addition it also helps keep the bread fresher longer and it deters mold and bacterial growth. You may need to add 1/2 to 1 tsp. of baking soda to the bread to offset the tartness of the buttermilk. I personally, like the tartness as it reminds me of sourdough.

Use: 1/2 Cup replaces the same amount of other liquid in the recipe.


Garlic is a flavoring in larger amounts, but in smaller amounts it helps the yeast, it make the dough easier to roll out and it is a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth.

Use: 1 teaspoon per loaf, will affect flavor

Cake Flour

Cake flour makes for a softer more tender bread. It also makes a good addition to pizza dough as it helps make rolling out the dough easier.

Use: Replace up to 1/4 of the flour called for in the recipe (no more).

Commercial Dough Enhancers

There are several commercially available dough enhancers on the market. They all work well, but they can be expensive for what you get so be careful. There are several commercially available dough enhancers, they can be expensive and with a little effort on your part are often needed. But, the choice is yours.

It is affordably priced, you get a good amount and it works well and doesn’t contain anything you wouldn’t want in your bread.

Making Your Own

If you want to gather the ingredients (health food stores, large supermarkets) there are currently two recipes for dough enhancers in the recipe section of this site. The Bread-Fresh™ Dough Enhancer helps with dough conditioning, rise improvement and bread freshness.

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  • Another thing my Grandma used to add to a loaf of white bread was a little less then 1 teaspoon of vinegar. You couldnt taste it but she said it would help the bread stay fresh. Who knew?!! The fresh bread that grandma made never seemed to last more then a day anyway.

  • Oh, and also: you are better off taking vitamin D supplements to prevent colds. There is alot of new evidence emerging that vitamin D is very important to a strong immune system, and most people in northern (of the equator) regions are low in vitamin D.

  • what were we talking about again before everyone got up in arms about vitamin C, and grannies and coffee? Oh ya, how to make homemade bread taste better….
    lets stick to the topic at hand shall we? sheesh!

  • I am a baker and I only use ascorbic acid in the form of lemon zest. If one has a problem with that then they should not eat any type of citrus or drink any carbonated beverage.

  • The natural food sources for dough conditioners that I have tried in my bread machine include: vinegar (WOW!Really seems to help the natural gluten development as well as helps bread be softer, more tender); instant (dehydrated) mashed potatoes help bread to stay moist and soft longer, in a way seems to help bread to avoid becoming stale; gluten definitely helps whole wheat or other whole grain flours to make a loaf that is light & tall, whereas the same recipe made without additional gluten may be heavy, coarse, and unappealing; dry milk also helps with crust browning and flavor, but I did not know before reading this log that milk makes the dough easier to roll out. I would never have thought of adding cake flour to bread dough in order to make a more tender loaf, but it totally makes sense! Of course you would have to limit it to the small amount recommended, or the bread wouldn’t have enough gluten content to rise well. I want to try the ginger sometime, as long as I can remember it, LOL! I appreciate the tips to help us make better bread in our bread machines! (Or regular bread!)

    Becky W.
  • Iwill share with you all my favorite bread recipe that my sister Liz Turpening created that I have adjusted for a bread machine. Our Mom has gall bladder disease and is on a very restricted diet that this bread is the base of. It is a pretty forgiving recipe and makes a loaf of homemade bread people will actually beg for! (Not kidding!)
    Oatmeal Wheat Bread
    Measure into a 4 cup measuring glass:
    1 c. + 3 Tbsp. HOT water
    1/2 c. oatmeal (doesn’t matter if original or quick)
    2 Tbsp. honey
    1 Tbsp. molasses
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 tsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil of your choice)
    1/4 tsp. vinegar

    Measure these ingredients into your bread machine pan with the paddle already in it-
    1 c. + 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
    1 c. white bread flour
    1 Tbsp. instant mashed potatoes
    1 Tbsp. gluten
    2 tsp. yeast

    Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and turn the bread machine on. I use the regular bread cycle, but you could use the whole wheat cycle if your machine has it. Watch while the dough is mixing, and if it looks too wet (if your whole wheat flour isn’t ground super fine, sometimes this will happen), add 1 Tbsp. of gluten or dehydrated mashed potato flakes and allow it to mix in to see if more is needed or not. Add more if needed, 1 tsp. at a time. If the dough looks too dry, add 1 tsp. of water at a time, letting it mix a bit to see if it needs more or not.

    We sometimes will add 2 Tsp. of flax seed meal, or 2 Tbsp. powdered milk, or if I want to make cinnamon raisin bread, I will add 1 tsp. cinnamon, and when the bread machine beeps for adding more ingredients, I will add 1/2 c. raisins. We sometimes make this bread with all whole wheat flour instead of using the white bread flour. This recipe really does lend itself well to variations.
    When the bread is done baking, remove it from the pan, and wrap it in a clean bath towel to cool completely. Letting it cool in the bath towel helps the crust to become softer. Particularly if you like the soft crust of storebought bread, this method is a great help! If you like a crisp, hard crust, just set the loaf on a cookie rack to cool. You can slice it while hot if you like, but it can make the loaf get squished a bit and the inside will be more likely to gum up where you cut it. If we want to eat it right away, I only slice the amount we will eat right then, then wrap the rest of the crust in the towel again. Try it, you’ll LOVE it! Happy Eating!

    Becky in Lincolnton NC

    Becky W.
  • Becky, I’m going to try that recipe. Thanks for posting!

  • When I first met my wife more than 40 years ago, we attended the Texas/OU football game which is held at the State Fair of Texas. We decided to walk through the animal barns, as she’d spent a lot of time at 4H animal events when she’d been younger. I ended up getting my first lesson in asthma attacks when she turned blue from exposure to the we can only guess what in the dust being blown around in the barn. All of this is to say that I have a great deal of empathy for anyone who suddenly finds they can’t breath, and has a bit of a panic attack as they try to figure out what caused it.

    So in the spirit of trying to help, I looked up the ingredients of three popular commercial Dough Enhancers, which all contained a subset of the list of ingredients above. It doesn’t take long to find that with the exception of ascorbic acid (taking Ginny’s post from March of 2009 as a factual reference), all of those ingredients are cheaply produced byproducts of raw foods (example: Lecithin is most commonly centrifuged out of soy oil or egg yolks). The point of this statement is that it’s unlikely that Earlene has reached adulthood without eating each and every one of the ingredients of the Dough Enhancer in larger quantities than would be found in a slice of bread or cinnamon roll.

    I take the vitamin C/ascorbic acid as an example. If I use the recommended 1/8th teaspoon of ascorbic acid per loaf, and use the 14 slices of bread my wife gets with her whole wheat bread recipe, a slice of bread contains 0.04 mg of ascorbic acid/vitamin C. Now a list some common foods and their estimated vitamin C contents:
    – 1/2 cup of Shredded Romaine Lettuce 5 mg
    – 1/2 cup canned asparagus 9 mg
    – 1/2 cup orange juice 43 mg
    – 1 tablet One-A-Day multivitamin 60 mg

    I would also point out that while I find reference to ascorbic acid allergies with a quick web search, I find that it is extremely rare and that the only symptom I find listed is sores in the mouth from what I understood was fairly large dosages. I’m no expert, but with the probable dose of less than a mg of ascorbic acid and symptoms that do not point to ascorbic acid as the source, I’d look elsewhere first.

    Another quick search of the web finds an National Institute of Health paper that claims that 20 to 50% of allergic bronchial asthma issues result from food allergies. That says while Earlene was not off-base by looking into what she had eaten recently, but that she should also be looking at airborne allergy sources as well as an airborne source is slightly more likely than a food source.

    I’m guessing Earlene isn’t the only person that found this site as a wonderful resource, and that the reason they came here is that they like knowing what is in the food they eat. I, for one, hope that she finds baking for herself rewarding and maybe even help her avoid whatever food allergy she may have.

    By the way, my wife is already having fun experimenting with coming up with her own version of dough enhancer with ingredients already on hand so she doesn’t have to order a commercial product online anymore! Thanks for the excellent article!

  • Earlene you may have a corn allergy that caused your reaction. Most ascorbic acid used in products these days is derived from corn, because it’s so cheap and plentiful.

    My wife has corn and wheat intolerances, so we have to be extremely careful with her diet. When ascorbic acid began showing up in lots of food products, even organic and natural ones, we were a bit suspicious of it’s source. Most resposible companies will tell you what their ingredients are derived from so you may want to ask.

    There are so many hidden things in our food these days that it is almost impossible to keep track of ingredients, what they are or what they are derived from. This is a very important issue for those with true life-threating allergies or even mild intolerances.

    Bill Morrison
  • Do you dissolve the gelatin before adding to bread dough?

  • Or do we add it dry.

  • Thanks for the great info on dough enhancers. I keep hearing the term “Dough Enhancers” for bread but no explanation of what the enhancers do. While I don’t want commercial bread, I would like to stop making bricks instead of bread.

  • If you want a slightly chewy but tender bread, fresh ground grains is the way to go. The Urban homemaker.com has a whole wheat recipe that it excellent, which uses a dough conditioner. There is no taste comparision with fresh ground grains (using a grain mill).

  • Really Good Gluten/Dairy Free Sandwich Bread
    1 Tbsp. bread machine yeast
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1 ½ c. water (105 degrees or a little less than hot)
    2 ½ cups of my gluten free flour mix
    2 tsp. xanthan gum
    1tsp. salt
    3 eggs (or 9 Tbsp. water and 3 Tbsp. ground flax seed) (Or Ener-G Egg replacer)
    1 ½ Tbsp. oil
    1 tsp. cider vinegar
    1. Start by combining the yeast and sugar in a small bowl (I use the smallest in my set of three nested mixing bowls). Add the water while gently stirring the yeast and sugar. Let this mixture sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients – bubbles and foam should form if the yeast is happy.
    2. Combine the flour mix, xanthan gum and salt in the largest mixing bowl and stir well.
    3. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and vinegar until the eggs are a bit frothy.
    4. By this point the yeast mixture should be foamy, so you can pour the two liquid mixtures into the flour mixture. Blend the dough with a mixer for 4 minutes.
    Bread Machine Directions:
    Scoop your dough into the bread machine and smooth the top of the dough. I bake my bread using an 80 minute setting that allows for 20 minutes of kneading, 18 minutes of rise, and 42 minutes of baking. However, since I don’t use the paddle in by bread machine, I’m effectively doing a 38 minute rise and a 42 minute bake. (The advantage of not using the paddle is that you don’t end up with a hole in the bottom of your bread.)
    Conventional Oven Directions:
    Scoop the dough into a greased loaf pan. Allow the dough to rise in a warm area until is is about 1 inch from the top of the pan. Then bake at 375 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes.
    Other Notes:
    • The masa harina in the flour mix for this recipe is usually available in the Hispanic sections of most grocery stores. Due to the way it is processed, masa harina is very absorbent and you cannot substitute corn meal or corn flour. You can purchase masa harina on Amazon.com if it is not available locally.
    • If you are allergic to corn then you can make the following substitutions in the flour mix: use tapioca starch instead of corn starch and almond flour instead of masa harina
    • If you are allergic to soy, then you can substitute any of the following flours for the soy flour in the flour mix: sorghum flour, garfava flour, or quinoa flour.
    • If you are on a dairy-free diet, then you may use soy milk or rice milk. Just make sure that they are gluten free.
    • If you are allergic to eggs, use the flax substitute listed in the recipe, or follow the instructions on your favorite egg replacement powder. When I use the flax eggs, the bread is usually slightly wetter than otherwise

  • I use Peter Reinhart’s delayed fermentation method to bring out more flavor in my bread. I also find potato water absolutely essential for my sandwich bread. I cook 2-3 small potatoes and reserve the water. I use about 1/3 c per cup of flour. You can also mash the potatoes and put them in the dough as well. They make for a more pillowy dough.

  • Can anyone suggest how to store fresh baked bread used for white bread so it will last for a week or so?

    Diane A
  • I’ve been on a bread baking kick, and it’s driving my wife & kids crazy. I have sourdough starter in the fridge, and home made burger buns in the freezer. When I bake a loaf or two, I put it in my wife’s plastic “Cake Take”, and leave it out on the counter. If it is a good batch, it won’t last the week. But I had a loaf of french bread last for almost two weeks, stored that way. I have also saved old bread wrappers, and used those to store bread in, too.

  • What a wonderfull site this is.I live in uk and have been making my bread for many years in a bread maker and have always added an egg to my bread
    Ido not try to keep it but make it when I need it fresh.I love to read all your comments even angry ones. best wishes to everyone in usa.

  • I agree with Toni, what a great site this is. I came upon it purely by chance looking for bread enhancers. I live in South Africa and hadn’t even heard of bread enhancers until I started scanning the American recipes. I’ll have a really good look at all the options, but unfortunately whatever I try has to be juggled for high altitude as I live 6000ft above sea level. I already use less yeast, slightly less sugar and slightly more salt but I’m working on other possibilities now, like substituting some of the liquid with buttermilk. I’ll definitely try adding the egg as Toni does as my bread is still too chewy for me and adding lemon juice will come when the lemons on the tree in the garden are ripe. Keep the recommendations coming as it’s really informative between all the arguments. Regards to all

  • I can not find a place to buy acid whey for the dough enhancer. It is not longer available at King Arthur. Does anyone know where I can buy it?

  • The Amazing Acid Alkaline Cookbook by Bonnie Ross might prove helpful.

    Mary Brander
  • For Diane A:

    Can anyone suggest how to store fresh baked bread used for white bread so it will last for a week or so?

    Just freeze it Diane. I used to buy “fresh” italian loaves, cut them in half and freeze them in the thin veggie bags you get at the market. I have kept them like that for a week with no ill effects to the bread.

    Take out a half at a time to defrost or leave it frozen and slice it frozen. Virtually as good as the day you bought it. Naturally being in a thin not-so-airtight bag as that you don’t want to leave it in the freezer too long. But 5-6 days is not an issue (my experience anyways).

  • You can get liquid acid whey by using a coffee filter to strain buttermilk, yogurt or cultured sour cream. The almost clear and very sour liquid is the whey. You can also just add yogurt or buttermilk to the bread recipe. Both contain whey & lactobacilli very similar to those found in sourdoughs.
    Sourdough starters help with whole grain breads that need a long time to rise. Otherwise, you get the brick-like black bread that prevented starvation among serfs during the Middle Ages. Very healthy, but unpalatable to the modern diner.
    The combination of yeast and lactobacilli also act as a natural preservative.
    The lady who wants her white bread to last longer might want to experiment with a sour dough white bread or try adding fresh buttermilk.
    Be careful about adding too many acids. Whey, vinegar, lemon juice, ascorbic acid, etc. If you lower the pH by too much, you could possibly damage the yeast.

  • Woa, I can across this site looking for breadmaker idea’s, what a bunch of hostile and angry people, I would almost be afraid to eat any of your breads, due to the fact you guys are so angry, I cant imagine going through life as some of you guys, must be hard to try to get up and go through each day being that angry and ready to strike at any moment( Elarlene’s comment ), guess I wont be back to this site as I’m afarid now after my comment , of getting my eyes scartched out,

  • Lilly,
    Thanks for posting this complaint, it brought my attention to some of the harsh talk in the comments of this post. I decided to delete a majority of those comments and will try to keep those type of harsh comments from being posted in the future.

  • I make NY style bagels from scratch with no preservatives and as you can imagine, a few of the clients asked about extending the shelflife etc. So would adding vinegar or an egg to my dough assist in the extension of shelf life to the bagels? Please advise, as I have had no luck sourcing enhancers to prolong “shelf life”.

  • thank you so much for the sharing of ideas. I have been looking for the Vital dough enhancer for weeks and now know it is gluten flour which our local Bulk Barn carries. Thanks too for the recipes which I look forward to making. This site is a great resource!

  • This is a great site and has help me understand how to be a better bread baker. In my family(5 generations now) we have always used potato water(or boiling a small potato until it is mush & add to water)as Alex shared here. For those looking to add shelf life to bread this will do it. The bread has a wonderful texture and tastes better too.

  • Love all the options that have been provided on this site. Mt sister-in-law just started using a bread machine and is disappointed in the texture of her bread. Most people expect it to come out like the packaged store bought bread that is full of preservatives etc. I will pass this site on to her, I’m thinking she’ll store her new machine and never use it to experience all the amazing things she can do with it. I use mine several times a week, for bread, rolls, etc. I never buy any bread, buns, rolls etc. I can make them so much cheaper.

  • Can someone tell me what salt is used for in bread making? Only genuine opinions please

  • Sam,
    I believe salt is just for taste, bread taste fairly crappy with out it. I once forgot salt in my bread and it was the worst bread I ever tasted, I only took one bite and tossed the rest.

  • Where can I find Dry Acid Whey?

  • Salt helps keep the yeast from rising too fast, however too much will kill the little buggies. Don’t use iodized, it inhibits rise. Kosher, plain, or sea all work fine as far as I can tell.

  • All these comments are food for thought. Remember that cooking and baking is a science unto itself. You need salt as a chemical reaction for the rising of the bread. Thatsaid, the same goes for the eggs and the buttermilk. They all react in tangent with the yeast and the sugar, so that the bread rises. Remember your basic chemistry in school. That is why it is so important to read a recipe at least 2x before starting.
    I use my bread machine a lot and I really thing about the ingredients for several reasons. Some I never try because they just don’t add up. I have learned that the hard way… and yes bread without salt tastes awful !!

  • I have been making whole wheat bread by grinding my own wheat for years. I bought some organic wheat berries this time and now my loaves dont rise as much and are very heavy. I haven’t changed anything else in terms of ingredients and the process i go through. Any thoughts?

  • I used various dough enhancers and I am tired of adding them one at a a time. However I am not sure I want to add the vital wheat gluten to the mix at all. I use it once in awhile if a recipe calls for it but adding it to all APF recipes would change the crumb. When you say APF recipes “need” vital wheat gluten I am confused. I thought that the whole point of using APF versus a higher protein content flour was to get a more tender softer crumb. When I started out baking I put the gluten in everything and I am not sure if I liked my results better or not. I know I am all over the place with this issue. I am just unsure. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Kathy Tobacco

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