bread improver

What’s a Bread Improver and Why Do You Need It?

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  • Post last modified:August 12, 2023
  • Reading time:22 mins read

Are you curious why your favorite bread is so pillowy and bouncy? Well, it likely owes its charm to a little-known hero: the bread improver.  More than just mixing the basics, adding bread enhancer fine-tunes the perfect bread. In a gist, this wonder enhances every ingredient’s role for that consistent, delightful bread. 

But what exactly is a bread improver? What does it do? Can you substitute it with yeast?

In this post, we’ll talk about bread improvers and how they can take your bread recipes to the next level. 

What Is a Bread Improver?

what is a bread improver

A bread improver is a blend of ingredients often added to the dough to reinforce the baking process and enhance the bread’s quality. It aims to make the bread-making process more reliable, especially in varying conditions. 

Whether it’s inconsistencies in flour for baking, temperature, or other unpredictable factors, bread improvers help produce uniform results in terms of volume, texture, and crust.

In addition, using a bread improver can make the dough easier to handle and shape, particularly in automated processes common in commercial baking. Moreover, they can optimize the fermentation process, ensuring that the yeast functions optimally, leading to a better rise and airier structure.

Often, bread improvers include enzymes like amylases. They break down starches into simpler sugars. These sugars are food for the yeast, allowing it to produce carbon dioxide more efficiently. This then leads to a better rise. Additionally, proteases, another group of enzymes sometimes found in bread improvers, modify gluten, making the dough more pliable.

Apart from enzymes, some bread improvers contain oxidizing agents. These agents can strengthen gluten networks in the dough, resulting in a more structured and voluminous loaf.

While bread improvers are valuable tools in the commercial baking industry to maintain consistency and optimize production, they’re not always used in artisanal bread-making. Traditional bakers usually rely on prolonged fermentation and natural ingredients to achieve their goals.

Why You Need a Bread Improver

why you need one

Planning to add a bread improver to your baking arsenal? Here are the reasons why you need a bread improver:

Uniform Outcomes

The world of baking is full of surprises. It’s often influenced by factors such as room temperature and moisture levels. Bread enhancers help you get predictable and uniform results every time.

Rapid Fermentation

Want your dough to puff up quicker? Bread enhancers can hasten the fermentation, cutting down your waiting time.

Superior Bread Feel

Who can resist a loaf that’s feather-light with a delicate crumb? Bread improvers play a role in making your bread irresistibly soft.

Nice Bread Height

A full-bodied loaf always gets the taste buds excited. Bread enhancers ensure your bread reaches its maximum height for a bakery-worthy look.

Extended Freshness

Stale bread always disappoints customers. With the help of bread enhancers, your baked goods stay soft for days. 

Fortified Dough

Dealing with fragile dough can be frustrating. Enhancers give you a more pliable dough to work with.

Flavor Enhancement

Certain bread enhancer components can strengthen flavors, resulting in a richer, more savory loaf.

Minimalist Crust

Not everyone loves a thick crust. Bread improvers can help you get that thin, amber crust ideal for soft bread types.

Clean Cuts

Bread that maintains its structure when sliced is a joy. Enhancers contribute to these promising neat slices.

Economical Choice

Bread enhancers can reduce the chances of loaf rejects for those in the baking business. This ensures top-notch quality and savings in the long run.

How to Choose the Best Bread Improver

how to choose the best bread improver

Not all bread improvers are equal. Keep these tips in mind so you can choose the right bread improver:

1. Identify Your Needs

Understand why you need an improver. Do you want a faster rise, softer texture, longer shelf life, or all of these benefits?

2. Read the Ingredients

Make sure the improver contains ingredients that are beneficial for your baking needs. These include ascorbic acid, enzymes, and emulsifiers.

3. Natural vs. Synthetic

Decide if you prefer natural ingredients or don’t mind synthetic additives. Some improvers may contain artificial agents.

4. Check Expiry Dates

Like any other product, bread improvers have shelf lives. Always opt for a fresh pack to ensure its efficacy.

5. Brand Reputation

Research the brand. Established brands like HICAPS often have tried-and-true products. On the other hand, newer brands might offer innovative solutions.

6. Reviews and Recommendations

Read reviews online or ask fellow bakers about their favorite bread improvers. Remember, personal experience can give you useful insights.

7. Specific Baking Needs

Some bread improvers are formulated for specific types of bread, like whole wheat or gluten-free. Make sure the product matches your baking style.

8. Dosage and Usage

Check the recommended quantity on the package. It’s cost-effective to use an improver that requires minimal addition to the dough.

9. Cost Factor

While you must choose a quality product, you can also compare prices and see which one offers the best value for money.

10. Avoid Unwanted Additives

If you’re health-conscious or catering to a specific dietary need, look for improvers without additives like excessive salts, sugars, or preservatives.

11. Trial and Error

Sometimes, the best way to find the perfect bread improver is by experimenting. Try a few different ones to see which gives your bread the features you want.

What Is a Bread Improver Made Of?


Here’s a glimpse into the world of bread improver components:


Think of these as little protein workers that boost specific processes in your dough. For example, amylases convert starch into sugar, providing a better food source for yeast and aiding in crust browning. Meanwhile, proteases tweak gluten, which makes handling the dough a breeze.

Oxidizing Agents

They act like personal trainers for gluten. In particular, these agents strengthen gluten for a more robust dough and volume. Familiar names here include Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid), potassium bromate, and azodicarbonamide. It’s worth noting that certain agents like potassium bromate have raised eyebrows in some places for health reasons.

Reducing Agents

Ever wanted a more pliable dough? That’s where these agents come in. Reducing agents make sure your dough becomes soft and easy to shape. 


They make the dough holds onto the gas well. This ensures your bread has a good volume and a crumb structure to die for. Commonly used emulsifiers include lecithin, SSL (sodium stearoyl lactylate), and mono- and diglycerides.

Soaking Agents

Ever heard of soy flour in bread? It’s a fantastic agent for soaking up more water, making sure your bread stays soft for longer.

Acidity Regulators

They act like the guardians of bread. Ingredients like calcium propionate work like preservatives, shielding the bread from mold and prolonging its life.

Can I Use Yeast Instead of Bread Improver?

can i use yeast instead of bread improve

Yeast and bread improvers have distinct roles in the bread-making world. So, they’re not exact swaps for each other. However, you can still make bread without a bread improver by leaning into age-old baking traditions and techniques.

Yeast, a staple in many bread recipes, is at the heart of fermentation. It breaks down sugars into carbon dioxide, giving the dough its rise and shaping the bread’s unique texture. Beyond its leavening role, yeast also adds depth to the bread’s taste.

In contrast, bread improvers act as enhancers. They boost the dough’s strength, refine its texture, prolong its freshness, and offer a touch of consistency, especially when baking in bulk or in commercial settings.

What Can I Use Instead of Bread Improver?


You can use other options if you’re caught without a bread enhancer or lean towards a traditional touch in your bread creation. These choices might not mirror the precise capabilities of a store-bought bread enhancer, but they can uplift your bread’s texture, taste, and quality.

Vitamin C

A sprinkle of this vitamin in its powdered form can enhance the dough and elevate its stature. As an oxidizer, it fortifies the dough’s gluten strands.


Extracted from sources like soy or sunflowers, lecithin functions as a wholesome emulsifying agent. It preserves moisture, potentially producing a plusher bread.


Incorporating malted barley in powder or extract form brings inherent enzymes. These enzymes convert flour’s starch to sugars. As a result, it fortifies the food for yeast and produces deeper flavors and a richer crust hue.


Introducing potato― as flakes or in its cooked form― to your dough helps produce softer bread, thanks to its moisture-locking properties.


Opting for milk instead of or alongside water introduces fats and dairy proteins. This results in richer and more tender dough.


An egg, with its yolk and white constituents, can enrich and fortify your bread, giving it a distinctive taste, structure, and hue.


Beyond its primary role in sourdough creations, a sourdough starter introduces wild yeast and favorable microbes to bread. The result? Extended longevity and better consistency and taste.

Gelatinized Mix

This intriguing blend involves combining boiling water with a modest amount of flour. As the mixture cools, it transforms, adopting a gel-like consistency. When integrated into the primary dough, it works wonders. It enhances the bread’s overall texture, making it tender. Additionally, it gives the elasticity ideal for certain bread.

Bread Recipes You’ll Love

Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread

Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread

The beloved Korean cream cheese garlic bread combines savory garlic with rich cream cheese. Using a bun often shaped like a star, they have pockets filled with cream cheese.

Bakers then soak the bun in a garlic-butter mixture, often with honey and parsley. Next, they bake it until it becomes golden brown. This results in a crispy outside with a soft, flavorful inside, offering a delightful mix of sweet and savory. Popular in Korea, this bread has captured millions of taste buds worldwide.

Chicken Salad Bread Cone

chicken salad bread cone

This chicken salad bread cone is a creative twist on the traditional chicken salad sandwich. This culinary delight includes a bread cone, baked to a golden brown, with chicken salad inside. 

The chicken salad typically combines tender chunks of chicken with ingredients like celery, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. The cone’s crispy exterior contrasts wonderfully with the creamy, flavorful chicken salad within. 

Ham and Cheese Bread Roll

ham and cheese bread roll

This ham and cheese bread roll melds the comforting flavors of ham and melted cheese with soft, golden bread. 

This roll begins as a rectangular sheet of bread dough spread with slices of flavorful ham and topped with generous portions of cheese. Cooks then roll it tightly into a log shape, similar to a cinnamon roll. Next, they bake it until the bread becomes golden and the cheese inside melts. The result offers a harmonious balance of salty, creamy, and bready textures.

Spanish Bread

pinoy bread spanish bread

The historic Spanish bread is a cherished bakery item in the Philippines. People love it for its tender, pillowy exterior and sweet, buttery filling. 

Its name reflects the Philippines’ historical ties to Spain. The bread comes from soft dough enveloped around a filling made of butter and sugar. After being filled, the dough is typically rolled in breadcrumbs. This enhances its exterior texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is in a bread improver?

A bread improver often contains enzymes, oxidizing agents, reducing agents, emulsifiers, soaking agents, and acidity regulators. 

Do I really need bread improver?

No, you don’t really need a bread improver. However, it makes your bread lighter and gives it better flavor and texture. 

What happens if you don’t use bread improver?

If you don’t use bread improvers, your bread might have a slower rise, different texture, and reduced shelf life. While they enhance bread, especially in commercial settings, many traditional recipes don’t use them and still produce delicious bread.


If you’re just dipping your toes in baking or have years of experience, a bread improver might be the magic sprinkle you need. By adding bread enhancer into your mix, you streamline the baking journey and enhance your product. 

So, think of this nifty addition the next time you want to bake bread. Happy baking!


Over the years, HICAPS has helped bakers and businesses make delicious products by offering ingredients like ChiffonAide Cake Oil, Magic Whizk Whipping Cream, Red Velvet Flavor Emulco, and Instabake Brownie Mix

HICAPS also provides tools and resources to valued partners, such as the free “How to Increase Your Sales Amidst the Pandemic” E-book and free dealer locator that helps look for baking ingredients near me

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