By Beth Brown, Kitchen Store Specialist
Dough enhancer: what is it, exactly? Some bread recipes call for it, others don’t. Is it really necessary? Does it even make a difference? Well, we decided to celebrate back to school season by conducting our own little science experiment! Of course, we took pictures to share our findings with you. It’s totally scientific, you guys.
Background: Dough enhancer is a compound blend of whey, yeast, salt, corn starch, and honey – among other things – that claims to provide fluffier bread, enhance the natural flavor, and provide a softer texture. The NutriMill Dough Enhancer is also gluten free, so it can be used with gluten free baking, where good texture can be harder to achieve than in regular baking.
The experiment: What will happen if you bake two loaves of equal weight, one containing dough enhancer, the other not? Will there be a noticeable difference between the two loaves?
My hypothesis: The dough enhancer will provide a noticeable difference in the rise and texture of the bread vs the non-enhanced loaf.
Using my favorite bread recipe, the Bosch Universal Mixer, and an Escali scale for scientific accuracy, I conducted my experiment.
Even after the initial mixing, the difference is becoming clear. I could really feel how much silkier and lighter the enhanced dough was. Note the smoother texture of the enhanced dough vs. the non-enhanced dough!
After rising for an hour, the difference is increasingly clear. The enhanced dough clearly rose better than its counterpart. (Tip for proofing bread: The countertop can be too chilly for dough, especially in Alaska. Placing your dough, covered, in the oven with just the light is a nice, warm proofing environment. The heat from the light bulb creates just enough warmth for the dough to be happy, but not so hot that it bakes the dough.)
After shaping and weighing the loaves, they rose for another 30 minutes in the lit oven. Check it out! The dough enhanced loaf is still clearly winning.
After baking in the oven for 30 minutes, part one of my hypothesis was proven. The dough enhanced loaf rose much better and more evenly than the non-enhanced loaf. But what about the texture?
I, along with several willing volunteers, tested both loaves and came to the conclusion that the enhanced loaf was indeed fluffier, and had a more even texture and crumb.
Hypothesis: Proven! According to my research, dough enhancer can also improve the shelf life of your bread. Our loaves didn’t last long enough to find out! We served our loaves with homemade rhubarb preserves, and honey butter.
Try the experiment yourself with your favorite bread recipe! We’d love to hear about the results. Trust us, this science experiment has delicious results!
Nana’s Famous Bread Recipe:
5 Cups warm water
2 TBS yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
12-14 cups flour
3 TBS dough enhancer
1 tsp salt
In the bowl of your mixer, make a sponge by combining the warm water, eggs, two heaping tablespoons of yeast (SAF yeast is the best!), sugar, and oil. Mix gently and let the mixture get bubbly, for about ten minutes. Add six cups of the flour, until the mixture looks stringy.
Add dough enhancer and salt, and knead for five minutes in mixer. Add the rest of the flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is moist and stretchy, but not overly wet or sticky, continuing to knead in your mixer. After the desired consistency is achieved, place the dough in large bowl, oiled, and let rise for an hour.
After rising, hand-knead the dough for five minutes and shape into four loaves. Place the loaves in well-oiled bread pans, and allow to rise for another thirty minutes.
Bake at 375 for thirty minutes until dark golden brown on the top. Rub the tops of the hot loaves with butter for a beautiful finish!