Dough Enhancer or Dough Conditioner
This product improves the rise, taste, texture, color, crumb and shelf-life of whole grain breads. It contributes softness and lightness to breads. Although you can purchase ready made "dough enhancer", you can get the exact same results (I actually prefer the homemade ones!), at a fraction of the cost.
How to make your own dough enhancer:
It’s best to use all three of these enhancers when making whole wheat bread.
Gluten: Use 1/2 Tbsp. - 1 Tbsp. per cup of flour (this means before you measure a cup of flour, place the measured gluten in the bottom of your cup and then measure the flour as usual). Or, you can just add the gluten with all of the other dry ingredients. Gluten holds the air bubbles. It is a non-animal form of protein.
White Vinegar: Use the same amount of vinegar as the amount of yeast called for in the recipe (i.e., 1 tsp. yeast = 1 tsp. vinegar). Acid strengthens the bubbles. You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar. I have used both, but generally use vinegar as it is so much cheaper.
Potato Flakes: Use 1/8 - 1/4 cup per loaf of bread you are making. Experiment to see what works best in your recipe. Do not substitute potato pearls for the flakes! They don’t dissolve as easily and add artificial flavoring to your breads. The starch in the potatoes adds an extra casing around the bubbles. The bran in the wheat is coarse and can pop or rupture the bubbles, so this helps maintain the fluffy texture of the bread.
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat gluten only does one thing. It helps improve the rise and texture of the bread. Vital wheat gluten occurs naturally in all wheat and wheat derived white flours. Some white flours have more or less than others. In a dry form, it is used to give the yeast a boost because it contains a high amount of gluten forming proteins. Use it in your heavier breads that rise slowly, such as whole grains, rye, or ones loaded with sugar, dried fruit and nuts. Generally, if you are using white bread flour you don’t need to add any gluten. However, all-purpose or whole-grain flours need vital wheat gluten.
As a general rule, use 1 tsp. per cup of all-purpose or 1 1/2 - 3 tsp. for every cup of whole grain or rye flours. Or 1 Tbsp. for each loaf of bread. Some recipes will differ in the amount of gluten to use.
Make sure that you store a year supply of vinegar, potato flakes and gluten. I buy vital wheat gluten at the health food store in the bulk section. It is quite inexpensive if purchased this way. I then put it in #10 cans.