Flour Tenderizers


When baking or working with flour mixtures it is important to keep to ingredient aspects in mind:

  1. Flour Tenderizers
  2. Flour Tougheners

When it comes to baking or cooking you must determine what the final texture and consistency you are trying to achieve. For example, you must ask yourself the following question:

  • Do I want the finished good to be flaky, moist, buttery, chewy, dense, light and fluffy, tender?

You will need to factor in these aspects, the toughener as well as the tenderizer.  You must keep in mind when the ratio of one is decreased/increased the other must also be increased/decreased in the opposite direction. For example, if you desire to have a flaky product and increase the butter (Tenderizer) in your recipe you will need to then decrease the toughener aspect of the recipe. This way you can ensure ingredients do not combat each other and instead work jointly toward achieving your desired outcome. Once you are able to determine your desired texture, flavor and consistency; you can proceed with selecting the appropriate ingredients.

Don’t forget that the toughener/tenderizer ingredients aren’t the only ingredients/aspects of a recipe that affect the final baked good. Temperature of these ingredients also plays a major role in the final result. Cooking temperature and handling techniques also are important factors. Technically ANYTHING you do and add into a recipe will affect the final texture, size, taste, etc. So try your best to learn and understand how each ingredient and technique reacts to another.

  • What is a Flour Tenderizer?

Flour Tenderizers are ingredients that help to make the dough/batter mixture weaker, softer and tenderer. Ingredients would include leavening agents, egg yolks, sugar, fat, and acidic ingredients. Let’s review some of these key ingredients:

Fat: Because of the development of gluten and starch gelatinization a Fat causes when combined with flour, it directly creates a more tender baked good. Different types of fat can be used in your mixture to achieve a tender and flavorful baked good and they include butter, shortening, oil, cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, etc.

Sugar: Like Fat, sugar causes tenderization through the development of gluten and starch gelatinization when combined with Flour. Not only does it add sweetness to your baked good but it also adds tenderness to the dough by competing for water and preventing gluten from forming. Gluten is formed once wheat flour is combined with water/moisture and sugar works to compete for the available water in the mixture. Sugar always succeeds in absorbing most of the water preventing gluten formation thus causing a more tender mixture.

Leaving agents: Causes the baked good to rise resulting in a fluffy end result. Different leavens will affect the end result so it is important to know the difference between each. Leavens in dough primarily consist of yeast, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar. Other leavens include fat through incorporation of air (butter, buttermilk, plain yogurt, whole milk, heavy cream, sour cream), Liquids incorporated through steam, mechanical beating techniques, eggs (through incorporation of fat and air), etc. To learn more about Leavening Agents click here.

Eggs: Eggs are generally considered a flour toughener mainly because of similar affects it has to liquids (gluten formation and starch gelatinization) and also for adding structure to the baked good through its protein. But eggs can also serve as a tenderizer; egg whites alone function as a toughener whereas egg yolks function as a tenderizer which is primarily due to the high fat content found in the yolk.

Temperature: Both cooking temperature and ingredient temperature plays an important role in cooking and baking with flour.  It is important to understand the difference and affects each can have. To read more on cooking and ingredient temperature click here.

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