So you want to make a fresh loaf of homemade bread but don’t have any bread improver. What should you use as a bread improver substitute? Do you even need to use a bread improver?
We have all the answers to help you make the perfect loaf of bread that the whole family will love.
But firstly, what is bread improver and what does it do exactly?!
What is bread improver?
Bread improver is a mix of various acids and enzymes that help activate the gluten in the flour and feed the yeast. It improves the kneading and fermentation of bread dough.
Gluten is a protein that helps give the wheat dough its elasticity and makes bread soft and chewy.
Yeast is a microorganism that is a member of the fungi family. As it ferments, it releases carbon dioxide that makes bread rise.
Do I really need bread improver?
Is bread improver an important ingredient when making your own bread?
You actually don’t really need bread improver but it does make for a lighter loaf of bread with better texture and flavour.
Bread and flour agents like bread improver are mainly for commercial baking.
When you speak to experienced home bakers, who use bread machines regularly, they will tell you bread improver isn’t really needed as an ingredient in your homemade bread.
It does give the bread a pleasant texture, but with a little practice, you can achieve this yourself using a good flour with high gluten content.
What is a good bread improver substitute?
If you’ve started baking bread at home, what can you substitute for bread improver?
Bread improver is an unflavoured acidic substance. You can substitute with citric acid, vinegar or even orange juice for bread improver.
The vitamin C in orange juice helps the gluten form. You can replace the water with an equal amount of fresh orange juice for a lighter rise and texture.
How does bread improver work?
So how does the bread improver actually work?
The various acids and enzymes in the bread improver activate the gluten in the flour and feed the yeast to make for a lighter and tastier loaf of bread.
You only need to add 1-2 tbs of bread improver to your flour as you measure it out.
Where can I buy bread improver?
You should be able to buy bread improver at your local supermarket. It’s usually found in the same area as flour, yeast and other bread-making products.
Tips for the perfect loaf of bread
We all know Gran was usually the best baker in the family, but if you are hoping to show her up then follow these tips for the perfect loaf of homemade bread:
- For the best loaf of bread, you really should use fresh ingredients
- Make sure the ingredients are all room temperature
- Make sure you measure your ingredients correctly. Use a dry utensil to measure the dry ingredients and use a glass or plastic cup to measure the liquids
- Don’t use your cup to measure out your flour. It may result in a rough measure, meaning you may use too much flour and your loaf will be heavy. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off with a knife-edge.
- Make sure you knead the dough for at least 8-10 mins.
Easy, homemade bread recipe
There are hundreds of various recipes for that perfect loaf of bread. Trial and error is often the key to finding the loaf that best suits you.
Maybe start with the recipe that comes with your bread machine. They are often nice and basic for a beginner just starting out on their baking journey.
Don’t forget to flour the surface and your hands so you don’t end up with sticky dough all over the place.