Thursday, April 7, 2011

My answer to my gluten gelatinisation question

As promised, this is my final baking investigation on gluten gelatinisation method.

This time, I'm using a basic sweet dough recipe and made the buns without using its original gelatinisation method. For one half of the dough, I've added bread improver for further texture comparison.

What is bread improver? The one that I'm using is mainly ascorbic acid which is vitamin C which is known to strengthen gluten in bread.

And this is my final conclusion...

In my opinion, gluten gelatinisation does not improve bread texture. These buns made without gluten gelatinisation are as soft as the ones made with gluten gelatinisation. In fact, these buns are even better than the previous batch because I've increased the proving time to 1 1/2 hrs just like what Lena did with her Ham and Cheese Buns. The addition of bread improver does not make any difference to the freshly baked buns. Essentially, I would say that it is the recipe and longer proving time that make good texture in bread, not gluten gelatinisation.

This is not the end of my investigation yet...On the next day, my husband and I did a blind test on these buns - sounds like fun *giggles*. As expected, the buns with the bread improver are the ones that retains their moisture better than the ones without bread improver. There isn't any dramatic difference between these buns but the difference is still detectable. For this instance, I can clearly see the role of bread improver now; it does not improve the bread texture but retains the bread texture on the next day. Now that I know this, I don't have to add bread improver into the bread mix if the bread is to be consumed within the day that it's baked.

Comparing to my previous gluten gelatinisation buns, these buns with the improver are much more softer on the next days and wouldn't think that gluten gelatinisation helps to retains texture on the next days.

Now, I'm totally convinced that water roux / Tangzhong method or gluten gelatinisation is NOT necessary for my bread making. For bloggers who think that these methods work the best for you, please regard my opinion being just my personal opinion. I reckon that all bread making recipes and methods varies in different circumstances with all sort of contributing factors like climate, humidity and types of flours, water and yeast used and this is just what happened to my breads, baked in Melbourne.

These series of bread investigation has been a fun and exciting experience for me. My son was having fun too, having a go shaping his mini breads. Best of all, he enjoyed the most with his "bread disappearing act"..."Bread is here...Bread is gone..." We both had a great time with this bake.


Can you spot any difference? I can't...both buns are very soft and delicious. On the next day, there is difference.
Breads that are shaped by my little baker...

Here's the recipe for the basic sweet bread dough without gelatinisation method
(modified from the gelatinisation method from Frozen wing)

400gm bread flour
100gm plain flour
80gm sugar
6gm salt
20gm milk powder
1 tsp bread improver (add 1/2 tsp for half the batch of dough)
9gm instant yeast
245gm cold water
60gm cold eggs
60gm butter

1.Mix all flour, sugar, salt, milk powder and yeast until well blended. Add in the cold water and eggs and knead to form rough dough.
2.Add in butter till form elastic dough.
3. Let it proof for 1 1/2 hr (instead of 40 min as stated in original recipe)
4. Divide the dough into 60g each and mould it round. Let it rest for 10 mins and flatten it. Shape it as accordingly.
5. Place onto a greased pan and proof for 45 mins. Bake at 190°C for 12-15 mins.

Happy Baking
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  1. These rolls look soft and delicious, Zoe!
    Your little baker did a fantastic job helping you! :)


  2. rolls look amazing Zoe, and this post is absolutely interesting, love this, gloria

  3. The bread looks so soft and fluffy! Thanks for the investigation, Zoe!

  4. That's some interesting investigation. I should plunge into it and extract some conclusion out of it.

  5. I can't tell the difference as well! :O

  6. hey your bread looks equally soft and fluffy like the previous! also feel that your hubby is very nice! he actually makes an effort to participate in your investigations, really sweet of him :)

  7. thank you so much for sharin your investigation. it sure comes handy when i get my hands on bread making (: anyways, those bread look so soft and fluffy! i want to eat it tooo! :D

  8. Great investigating. I want both buns please :D

  9. Your bread looks good, soft & fluffy.

  10. Ur bread looks super soft and fabulous..

  11. I just realise that i have been a few months not make any bread. These days i keep on doing bao for breakfast.

  12. OMG it's so soft! Delicious ♥

  13. hi zoe,
    since my breadmaker was down..i have not been doing bread menu in my kitchen..u sure have the patience to test out...they look so soft & fluffy!!...
    by the way where was your hometown?..Malaysia or spore? you know how to speak malay?

  14. Zoe, what a great experiment. But we're not encourage to use bread improver because according to the research it is harmful to our health especially for children. It is still best to use natural gelatinization. For instance, by using flour gelatinised or glutinous gelatainised or water roux. But I have to agree with you regarding water roux method. I don't really like using that method as well. Btw, you got very lovely baked homemade bread here. Thanks for sharing. Hope you're enjoying your day.
    Blessings, Kristy

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  16. it's nice to know that thru your own findings, you are able to come up with the best method that works for you! Happy baking!!

  17. I really need to learn your bread making skills! These buns look absolutely wonderful and soft!

  18. Interesting investigation. Thanks for the useful tips. What a wonderful soft, fluffy bread you baked.

  19. Thank you for sharing your experiments. I have not use bread improver before and your experiments are really interesting!

  20. I love your experiments! These rolls do look very fluffy!

  21. hey zoe,

    great post and analysis on ur bread making experience. sometimes, methods that work for a baker might not work well for another baker.

    I know who to turn to for advice if i wanna further my bread making skills.

    Over here, we have two kinds of bread improver. One is for crusty bread and one is for 'super texture'. I have only used the one for crusty bread. It does indeed made my bread crusty.

    Your bread looks really nice and fluffy! wish I could make bread like this soon =]

  22. Feel like I've learnt so much from your investigation...almost like I 'cheated' in a way - knowing more about breadmaking without actually doing any of the investigation myself lol. Now don't think ill try the gelatinisation method or use the bread improver. Still have only tried the tangzhong method (as the normal method - chuck everything in the bread machine without doing anything) and tangzhong beats the normal method for me!

  23. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments.

    Ayu: I was born and raised in Singapore. I'm not a Malay but can understand and speak very basic Malay language. I love Malay food and culture as I used to live near the Malay village at Eunos (Singapore. And all your traditional Malay cooking reminds me a lot of home.

    Kristy, My Little Space: Like you, I've came across some negative comments about bread improver and have also concerns about adding them into my breads. For this reason, I'm curious to see the role of the bread improver and would try to avoid using it if possible. The bread improver that I'm using is commonly available in most supermarket (Aussie made Wallaby brand)and wouldn't think it contains as high amounts of preservatives, synthetic chemicals and enzymes like most stabilizers that are strictly available for commercial use.

    Bakertan: I wonder what is difference in content of two different bread improver. I can only find one common bread improver in our local supermarket.

    Vivienne: I will be happy if either water roux, Tangzhong or gelatinisation works for me but they didn't. For this reasons, I'm disappointed because I don't wish to add any bread improver into my home baked loaves. Now, knowing all these, I will keep looking out for great bread recipes and I'm sure that the recipe will work well if the bread is well fermented even without the use of the additional gelatinisation steps.

  24. ooo your bread looks so soft and fluffy!! i can never get my bread to puff and be light like that!! ... any tips???

  25. So sweet of you to share your findings. I too prefer the gelatinization method, so much more easy to handle and produce good results. I've never tried with bread improver before. I'm having a Kenwood breadmaker and there's no mention of any bread improver. I use both breadmaker and mixer with dough hook to whip up bread. Yup, I was told that the bread improver sold in Aussie land is organic, harmless, etc but am quite sceptical about those sold here, that's why I stay away from it.

  26. Hi Zoe,
    Have you tried using a bit more water in your recipe to 57% (of total flour weight)? It may help to make the bread stay fresh and soft longer. I tried the cold pre-ferment method ( and it gave me a very silky bread that remain soft for up to 4 days, just like the tongzhong bread. I have tried using Vit C as a bread improver and it did extent the shelf life of the bread but I don't think it helps to improve the texture.

    1. Thanks Phoebe for your advices. Totally agree with you that the pre-fermentation method does help to improve most bread texture. Heard of the use of vit C too as bread improver. I have tried using orange juice before and it works pretty well.

  27. Hi Zoe, been an avid follower of your recipes. I'm browsing to look for best hotdog bun recipe (Asian version of sweet bread bun with sausage). I saw your recipe on soft rolls under "bobby flat sloppy joe recipe". I'm tempted to try the bun recipe from there. I have tried tangzhong method but I found my bread/rolls are not soft the next day. Makes no different with straight/direct method. Therefore I'm still searching for good direct method without bread improver. I might try the rolls from "bobby flay sloppy joe" recipe from ur site to make my hotdog bun. Any recommendations?