How to Make Homemade Dough Enhancer


Dough enhancer is just what you need to make whole grain homemade bread light and wonderful, just like white bread, only better. You can buy dough enhancer, but it’s more frugal–and fun–to mix it yourself!

What goes into a dough enhancer? I use a combination of wheat gluten, lecithin, ascorbic acid crystals, pectin, gelatin, nonfat dry milk, and ginger. Wheat gluten improves the texture and rise of bread. Lecithin teams up with the gluten to make bread lighter. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) helps the yeast work better. Pectin adds moisture, as does the gelatin. The dry milk helps the dough relax (man, who needs uptight dough?), and the ginger is another yeast booster (you won’t taste it in the finished product). Most of these are also preservatives, so they help keep your bread fresh longer, and they are all natural.

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How to make Homemade Dough Enhancer:

1 cup wheat gluten
2 tablespoons lecithin granules
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals
2 tablespoons powdered pectin
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 100% whole grain breads, use 3 tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe along with the flour.

I love dough enhancer so much I make it in triple batches and keep it in a quart-size jar.

Happy whole grain bread baking!

Note: While it’s not necessary to use dough enhancer in white bread recipes, you can! You’ll have higher loaves, and loaves that stay fresh longer. Especially in summer months, if you don’t use air conditioning, dough enhancer will help you keep your bread fresh longer.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on May 6, 2008  

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78 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 5-6

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try this – I had no idea enhancer would allow for 100% whole grain flour.

    Another source, if anyone needs one – for all kinds of bread/dough/flour/special ingredient stuff – probably not the cheapest but fun to look at and they also have their proprietary mixes for those days that get out of hand…

    and from my home state:

    Wheat Montana has flours, grains and mixes but no specialty ingredients.

  2. 5-6

    Yum. How’s Lucky and the gang? :heart: :chicken: :heart:

  3. 5-6

    Wow…..I had no idea you could mix up dough enhancer your self. I can’t wait to try this! :woof:

  4. 5-6

    :butterfly: Don’t you have a book to write???? LOL! I’m glad to know you’ve perfected the whole wheat Grandmother bread. I wish I had the time to try it. Have a great day!! :treehugger:

  5. 5-6

    Man that bread looks yummy. I would make some if I knew how to bake. Mine would come out looking and tasting like a brick.LOL

  6. 5-6

    I wish you lived closer. I’m too lazy to do this but I’m hungry.

  7. 5-6

    wow, who knew? I hope this will help my homemade wheat bread. Which is just a little, well, you know. Whole wheaty. Not nearly as yummy as my white dough. I’m going to try this!

  8. 5-6

    Look at you! Makin’ your own dough enhancer. I would LOVE to try this, but we have a child with a severe dairy allergy (what milk protein does to this kid is SCARY) so I am milk-free in all my baking.

    But I’m so glad you found a way to do this stuff yourself. It’s ALWAYS better to make your own, IMO.

  9. 5-6

    Amy, you could experiment and mix up your own combination without the dry milk!

  10. 5-6

    I don’t bake, but my mom makes homemade bread almost every day. :purr: She can’t wait to try this and I get to be the taste tester! :hungry:

  11. 5-6

    The bread looks delicious!

  12. 5-6

    How COOL is THAT?! This will save me $7.95 (as is written on the lid of my dough enhancer) about every 2 months!! Thanks so much. I was JUST at my local bulk for store today, as a matte of fact.

    ALSO…your readers might want to know that you get more bang for your buck if you refrigerate it.

    Blessings from Ohio…

  13. 5-6

    Tho I’m a decent cook, I can’t bake for the LIFE of me! :hissyfit:

  14. 5-6

    Wow, Suzanne, thanks! I have wanted to try this stuff for a long time, but was too frugal, (pronounced “cheap”) to buy the little can for $7.95 plus shipping. Especially since, if I liked it, I’d want it again.

    Now if you can come up with a recipe for “Pizza dough enhancer”, like that sold at KAF, I will be forever in your debt!

  15. 5-6

    That was a wonderful tip, and one I hope to use soon. I like to make bread and it’s so much nicer than the commercial stuff I buy at the store. Thanks so much. xxoo

  16. 5-15

    I am so excited to try your recipe for dough enhancer! I looked at quite a few different ones on line and I like the combination of yours the best. One question – I was reading somewhere else that the powdered milk should not be the instant non-fat powdered milk – do you know why??? Thanks a bunch!

  17. 5-15

    I really don’t know why that is, but I used regular instant non-fat milk and it still worked, so I didn’t worry about it. The dry milk could probably even be left out of it and other elements would do the job, too. I’ve seen a lot of different recipes and just experimented.

  18. 5-15

    Thanks Suzanne! You know that is what I have on hand too and thought that would be just fine :) I really liked that you took a picture of your ingredients – that was very helpful.

  19. 5-19

    I love this recipe!

    I bake dairy-free and use powdered soymilk in bread recipes all the time. It does improve the texture for whole grain sandwich breads. I can’t wait to try all of enhancers mixed together. The ginger was a completely unknown one to me

  20. 6-20

    My daughter and I have just started grinding wheat for fresh flour. White wheat or soft wheat as we have used not sure if it the same thing makes the breads lighter also. Nothing can beat the taste of fresh ground also. I enjoy reading yur blogs. Oh we felll in love with that puppy too. blessings.

  21. 6-22

    Hello! I am a long-time lurker. I really enjoy your blog.
    I made a batch of your bread enhancer and shared some with my grandma. She entered a loaf of bread she made with it into the local fair. (Bread machine division) She won second place with a special mention of the superior texture of her loaf. She says she would have won first if the first-prize winner hadn’t been a family member of one of the judges!!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  22. 6-26

    How long can you safely store the homemade dough enhancer in the frig?

    Can’t wait to try it!

  23. 6-26

    Hi, Karen! You could store it in the fridge for several months, but if you need to store it for longer than three or four months, it would be fine to put it in the freezer. Just take it out a little bit before you start preparing your dough to let it come to room temp, take out what you need then put the rest back in the freezer.

  24. 10-28

    My health food store is out of pomona pectin. Can I leave this ingredient out? Michaella

  25. 10-28

    Hi, Michaella! I’ve never made it without the pectin, so I can only guess, but I’d say one ingredient won’t ruin the overall effect of the dough enhancer, just might lessen it some? If it was me, I’d go ahead and make the dough enhancer mixture and try it with a loaf or two and see. You can always pick up the pectin when you can and add it to the mix later. Let me know how it comes out!

  26. 12-6

    Don’t know if it’s too late to ask a question about this, but I’m going to try. When you say, “Use 3 tablesppons per loaf,” does that mean I’d use 6 tablespoons for one recipe of Grandmother Bread since it makes 2 loaves? Is that a stupid question? If it is, I’m ok with that.

  27. 12-7

    Yes, that’s three tablespoons per loaf that the recipe makes, so for a two-loaf recipe, it would be six!

  28. 1-2

    Really glad to have this recipe! Sure beats the commercial stuff. Will make whole wheat bread making soooo much more satisfactory. Thanks! :elephant:

    (OK, so I have very bad memories of azodicarbonamide and potassium bromide causing deadly explosions. Large scale commercial bakeries put them in bread to extend the shelf life and stabilize the dough. Yuk!)

  29. 1-7

    Question: At the Amish Farms bulk store, they had several forms of clearjel, cook, non-cook, etc. All in plastic bags. The one which looked/sounded most like the brand name Sure-Jell is labeled “Clearjel (Cook Type).” The label says that it is “waxy corn.” That sound like cornstarch instead of pectin. We never found anything there labeled “pectin.”

    Of course, I finally found some real Sure-Jell and bought it. The house brand (at Kroger) looked like it would be very similar. Is this a case where using the band name is better, and worth the few cents difference in price?

    Will try the first batch exactly as pictured above before trying any substitutions.

  30. 1-7

    Pete, I’m using bulk powdered pectin now. (Not Clearjel, pectin.) The bulk pectin is easier to measure than the packets!

  31. 1-30

    Thanks! When the weather breaks, will look around for some bulk pectin. So far, it worked just fine. Am keeping all the parts for the mixture together in a little box. Unmixed, should they be refrigerated?

    And that gluten is about the stickiest stuff ever! Guess it would be, huh…

  32. 1-30

    I’m not sure whether it has to be refrigerated or not, but since I buy some of these ingredients in bulk and I make the dough enhancer in large quantities now, too, I keep it refrigerated. I bring the dough enhancer out and let it set a little bit before I make bread so it doesn’t go into the dough cold.

  33. 3-24

    where you can buy those ingredients like the ascorbic , lecitin etc>

    would like to try it to my recipe


  34. 3-25

    Hi! I got the ascorbic acid and lecithin online. Try or I’ve also seen them at some larger grocery stores.

  35. 4-2

    In what bread recipes would you know to use a bread enhancer and how much bread enhancer:

  36. 4-2

    And in what bread recipe it is not necessary to use a bread enhancer?

  37. 4-2

    Use three tablespoons per loaf in whole grain doughs. I don’t use it for white bread as it’s not necessary.

  38. 4-24

    Wow! Who would’ve thunk! Thanks so much for sharing. I don’t think I’ll be able to purchase everything but I’ll get what I can and give it a try.

  39. 7-28

    I went into our local health food shop and they looked at me like I had lost my mind when I aksed about dough enhancer …. I tried to explain what it was and they looked at me like I was violating some hidden rule of bread making … they must like eating really dense breads.

  40. 9-26

    Hi… Can I use crushed Vitamin C tablets (400 mg each tablet) instead of the Ascorbic Acid crystals. I was reading online and some have had major reaction to the Ascorbic acid crystals in bread recipes. And would I be able to use equal amount of Vitamin C for the Ascorbic Acid crystals. Thanks and God bless you.

  41. 9-26

    Hi, Christiane! I’m sorry, I can’t tell you as I have never tried it that way.

  42. 10-25

    Hi Christiane,
    I used crushed vitamin C tablets and they worked fine. If I remember correctly I used two tablets. I saw them used in another dough enhancer recipe on another site. (Don’t remember what site~~)

  43. 11-5

    I just found your blog and the first thing that caught my eye was the Grandmother Bread. I will definitely be trying the dough enhancer and the recipe for bread.

    This is my kind of blog!


  44. 11-15

    i have been making the dough enhancer and was just here to make another batch when i noticed i am supposed to add the dough enhancer when i add the flour. oops, i have been adding with the water while the yeast activates. does this hurt the bread or the enhancer when i did this? still tasted ok, but i never tried adding it with the flour. what is the difference? Thanks a ton! :) :wave:

  45. 11-15

    Well if it’s working for you, then it probably doesn’t matter that much. Just as a matter of form, I let the yeast, water and sugar activate separately, but it’s not a big deal. I’m not big on rules in cooking! I haven’t tried that, adding the dough enhancer in with the yeast, but if it’s working, then I wouldn’t worry about it. I might even try it as an experiment!

  46. 1-13

    do you just crush up the vitamin c tablets until you get a tsp worth?just curious?

  47. 1-13

    Some people have mentioned crushing them up but I buy the Vitamin C as ascorbic acid crystals (already crushed). Here is one the type I use, which you can get at Amazon and other places, here’s just an example:

    You can get lecithin on Amazon, too, I know, as I’ve seen it there. If you can’t find the ingredients locally, they’re easy to find online. Just do a search on google, or do a search on Amazon if you want to buy through Amazon.

  48. 2-5

    :wave: When I was newly married it was the 70’s. We liked to think we were all natural. Therefore, I taught myself canning, knitting, crochet, embroidery, some baking and wanted desparately to try cheese making. Baking bread eluded me, it came out like bricks and still does even with a bread machine. What the heck is wrong with me? Please come to my house and teach me, you know hands on.

  49. 3-3

    I use either 1/2 whey or 1/2 milk in my bread recipe. I keep on experimenting with the ingredients and amounts to try to improve on it. I don’t use sugar in it anymore. My aunt (who I will pass this recipe on to) told me that it wasn’t necessary for the dough to rise, and you know what? She was right! So cool! :shimmy: My experimenting certainly has made it come a long way from my mom’s white bun recipe!

    I read somewhere just yesterday, that if whole wheat (I am sure whole grain too) is left to rise too long, that is why it gets crumbly. I have always wondered why that happens, although I found that real milk helps avoid some of the crumbly-ness.

    Now that brings me to my question: if I use real milk in my bread, I should be able to skip the dry milk in the dough enhancer, shouldn’t I?

  50. 3-4

    LK–that sounds right. I rarely use milk in my doughs, though the amount of dried milk in the dough enhancer doesn’t hurt if you are using milk in the dough, too.

  51. 3-24

    Just amazing to know …thanks :sun:

  52. 4-1

    Hi just want to know if safeway has all this ingredients? also what is ascorbic acid crystals? where can i buy them?

  53. 4-2

    I’m so glad I found your site! I make a low carb bread and it is very dense. The main ingredient is vital wheat gluten (1 cup per loaf) so I’m going to try and add some of these enhancer ingredients to the loaf I’m making today and see what happens! I don’t have all of them on hand – but maybe the ones I do have will be good enough until I get the others.

    I’ll be adding: lecithin, gelatin, and ginger

    Since the recipe calls for 1 cup of gluten, I’m thinking about using the full amount called for in your enhancer recipe – except maybe that would be too much ginger.

    How many loaves does your recipe enhance, typically?

  54. 4-2

    Bonnie, use three tablespoons of dough enhancer per loaf in the recipe you’re using.

  55. 4-2

    Thanks Suzanne – I understood that is the application for a typical recipe. Since I’m making a very a-typical bread (the recipe already uses 1 cup of vital wheat gluten – which leads to a very strong flavor and I don’t want to add any more). My question was how many tablespoons an entire recipe yields – but I thought it through and can figure it out. I’m going to have to make some modifications but I think I can make it work.

  56. 4-2

    Sorry, Bonnie! I didn’t understand. I haven’t made any bread quite that way, so I’m not sure I can say, actually.

  57. 5-18

    Hello! Thanks for this information. Where do you buy the supplies to make your homemade dough enhancer with?


  58. 5-18

    Peggy, you can order them online or you can find them in your local grocery stores!

  59. 5-29

    Thank you! I made this recipe exactly as you said to… I added it to my husband’s recipe for 100% whole wheat bread that came with the bread machine he bought. When we tried it the first time, we both liked it, but it was as heavy as a brick. It worked beautifully. Okay, it worked beautifully the second time. The first time the bread was doughy. I don’t thing I let it rise long enough. I wanted it to hurry and be done. Oh, and I cut into it when it was still hot to check the texture.

    My husband is growing wheat in our backyard. Now I will no what to do with it after it is harvested.

  60. 10-19

    Thanks for this great recipe. I’ve been adding just vital wheat gluten to 100% whole grain for years with success. But I bet this is even better. I have one problem with this recipe, though. Gelatin is made from the ground up hooves of animals that have been factory farmed and slaughtered — that means they’ve lived and died by horrific means. Definitely not an industry I want to support by buying this gelatin products. Mary Jane’s Chillover Powder is a cruelty free alternative that works better than regular gelatin in all recipes. I would like to suggest that you promote this as an alternative to the gelatin in your recipe. I think you will find that Mary Jane is a kindred of yours as well. Check out her blog at and her magazine Mary Janes Farm. You can buy the gelatin alternative powder on her site at: or I’ve also found it Also, both Azure Standard and Mary Janes Farm are great resources for you and your readers. Thanks again, and cheers. Ellie Martin

  61. 12-21

    Would vitamin c capsules work if you can’t find the crystals that you need? (I have plenty of vitamin c capsules) if so how much would I need to use?

  62. 12-23

    Is there a certain type of pectin you need to use for the dough enhancer? I have no sugar needed pectin and was wondering if that is ok to use or do you need a certain brand/ type?

  63. 12-23

    Sheila, I use regular pectin out of the box or bulk pectin from the Amish store, which is also just regular pectin. I’ve never tried no sugar pectin, but that’s probably fine.

  64. 12-27

    I used some of your dough enhancer in some grandmother bread and I got three monster sized loaves of bread , but the fourth one came out pretty normal sized (not that I’m complaining mind you LOL).

  65. 5-22

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am anxious to try it and have all the ingredients except the ascorbic acid. Do you think it will be a waste of time to try the recipe without it?

  66. 5-22

    PurpleMommy, no, not at all, the ingredients all contribute various things, so it’s fine to still make it even if you’re missing one!

  67. 7-10

    So many have asked about leaving out an ingredient due to various reasons. Just wanted to add that its ok to skip an ingredient, you dont even have to mix up the enhancer. I often just add powdered milk and ginger. The ginger is like super food for the yeast and the milk helps with the texture of the bread. Also I have heard, havent tried but heard that you can substitute Fruit Fresh for the Vitamin C. Each thing has its own purpose, the vitamin c is a preservative.

  68. 7-10

    This got me to thinking about additives so I thought would share this link with you all, its a list of common food additives found in many purchased products. :sun:

  69. 4-12

    I make all of our bread products from non GMO flour purchased at the local farmer’s coop. I have never used anything other than gluten flour in my wheat bread (or heavier breads). This can be bought in bulk bins at many stores (like Winco) very cheaply. Sub 1/2 c of gluten flour for 1/2 c of whatever flour you are using. It is not necessary to add any of those other ingredients. People buy my bread all the time-it is light,airy, and delicious. And you don’t even need it for white or oatmeal bread, or any of the lighter floured breads.

  70. 12-12

    Fruit Fresh is primarily Vitamin C, with some citric acid and dextrose (sugar)as well. May try it with that if I can’t find the ascorbic acid crystals.

  71. 12-29

    Would you recommend instant dry milk; I have the baker’s dry milk that I orginally bought for a yeast rolls recipe on King Arthur Flour and I’m wondering if it will work out ok. I don’t want to play too much around with this recipe because I LOVE soft whole wheat bread from the store and want to bake my own.

  72. 12-29

    Also, could you explain the taste of this bread? Some of the ingredients are kind of pricey so I just want to know if this is the type of bread I’m looking for (Soft 100% whole wheat bread, not tough or hearty like some whole wheat breads are)

    THANKS! :D :D

  73. 12-30

    You can use instant dry milk. The bread is soft, not tough!

  74. 6-7


    I know this post is from a while back, but I have been working on making homemade bread for a couple years now and finally think I’ve come up with a WW sandwich bread recipe that can work for our family. Now I am wanting to buy ingredients in bulk so that I know I’m not wasting time and money by making bread at home instead of from the store. We are trying to learn how to be frugal. I use this recipe for bread enhancer in my bread making. Where do you buy your ingredients for this recipe? Thanks! I think I have good frugal solutions for the other ingredients but not the bread enhancer ingredients.

  75. 6-8

    I can find all the ingredients at local grocery stores. Try Kroger!

  76. 10-29

    Can citric acid be substituted for the ascorbic acid crystals, and if so how much :hungry:

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