This post is for all of my baking buddies out there who browse the King Arthur Baking catalog, marvel at the interesting products, then don’t put in an order because “you think you don’t need it”. That used to be me. I’d see intriguing ingredients like dough conditioners and bread improvers, but figured if they weren’t available at the grocery store they probably weren’t necessary. Oh, how I have changed my stance! Maybe it doesn’t apply so much to the usual cookie baking, but some of the bread baking products have been game changers. The latest one for me is the King Arthur Whole-Grain Bread Improver. I wasn’t planning on taking a photo of the bag, so please excuse the fact the bag is dusted with bread improver.
Whole-Grain Bread Improver Changed My Life
When did I realize I needed this? It was shortly after I started trying to make a homemade version of Wegman’s Marathon Bread, a chewy yet still kind of fluffy sandwich bread made with different grains, seeds, vegetables and fruits. I became (still am) completely obsessed with this bread and came up with a similar recipe. It would rise just fine, but collapse during baking. Usually when bread dough collapses it’s because it rose too long, but in this case it was a matter of the dough not being strong enough to stay risen due to all the various grains.
I almost gave up on strengthening the loaf, but then I saw a picture of King Arthur’s tall and stately fluffy Seeded Rye Sandwich Bread in which they’d used their Whole-Grain Bread Improver. Since my husband just so happened to be in Vermont (he was picking up Fuzz, who goes to school nearby) I asked him to stop at KA’s store for some dough improver. So 750 miles and 12 hours later, I made the rye bread and it was probably one of the best loaves ever. Next up came my experimental Marathon Bread copycat. Whole-Grain Bread Improver kept it from collapsing. A miracle!
What’s In Bread Improver?
So what’s in it? It’s a mixture of vital wheat gluten, soy flour, inactive yeast and ascorbic acid. Interestingly, in my quest for cloning the Marathon bread I’d already acquired soy flour (Indian grocers sell it) and I always have vital wheat gluten on hand. I suppose now that I know the other ingredients are ascorbic acid and inactive yeast, I could just buy everything separately, but why? Not when there’s this life altering product.
I hope some of you found this helpful. I haven’t been posting as many recipes lately because I’ve been busying making bread and testing new ingredients. Expect more reviews here and there for things from King Arthur and other sources. Like this one (and most every review) these are not sponsored, but rather my opinion.