Natural Dough Conditioners

Joshua originally wrote this as a comment, but I think it's worthy of being its own post! :) Joshua has done a lot of research on dough conditioners for homemade bread, and here is some of what he's learned! :)

I admit I have a love for chemistry as well as an aversion to crumbly homemade bread. A couple years back I set out to find out the difference between homemade bread and store bought bread and see if I couldn't doctor up homemade bread to have a similar consistency to the store stuff while retaining the taste and nutritional value of homemade bread.

Homemade wheat bread

Long story short is that I have "discovered" a number of natural, and healthy, ingredients you can add to bread to alter the texture. Bread is one part science, one part art, and all living organism. Bread is really a giant yeast culture and your goal is to create a healthy environment for the yeast and to create a dough that compliments such as well as produces the results you want (which can vary depending on what bread you are making).

The neat thing about dough enhancers is that almost anyone who has ever made a loaf of bread has used some of some sorts. Bread of the yeast variety is just flour, water, and yeast. Everything else is a conditioner. Sugar is a dough enhancer as it is yeast food. Fats, like butter and vegetable oil, aid in elasticity and the moisture of the loaf. Eggs, among other things, contain a lot of lecithin. So if you feel a little awkward adding new ingredients to bread just remind yourself that almost everything in a loaf of homemade bread is in there to enhance the core ingredients to begin with.

Homemade wheat bread

Anyhow, I made the following changes to the homemade wheat bread recipe we received from a friend years ago:

* 1/2 teaspoon lecithin granules (added to the liquid ingredients).

* 3 Tbs. vital wheat gluten.

* A pinch of citric acid.

* A dash of ground ginger.

The whats and whys are as follows:

Lecithin: Lecithin is a natural chemical found in both plants and animals that makes up cell membranes. Unlike most emulsifiers lecithin is naturally metabolized and has a number of recognized positive health benefits. Why use Lecithin? There are too many to mention, but lecithin is a great binding agent, aids in the emulsification of the fats in the bread which, in turn, makes a more consistent crumb as well as helps the bread remains softer by retaining more moisture.

A little bit of lecithin goes a long way in making a great loaf of bread; some places recommends 1 1/2 tsp. per loaf but we have found as little as a 1/2 teas. works well although your mileage may vary depending on your ingredients. Lecithin helps make your loaf lighter and stay fresher and is one of the two things I have found that can help give homemade bread a "store" texture without compromising the quality or nutrition of the loaf.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat and is responsible for the elastic structure in bread that makes bread, well, bread! The general idea is that the gluten in bread forms long strands in your bread. The fats you adds to the bread help these gluten strands slide and stretch better (thus fluffier bread).

Most flour has insufficient gluten so adding some gluten helps; even many "bread flours" (from high protein wheats like hard red spring wheat) can use a little help from some extra gluten--especially whole wheat varieties as the extra texture of the bran is a hindrance to forming an elastic loaf (ditto loafs with some coarser grains added in for texture). Non-wheat breads made from soy flour, oat flour, etc. don't have gluten so adding some will help there as well.

Gluten is natural as it is already in the wheat, but adding a small amount can compensate for low-protein flour as well as help a whole wheat bread gain the elastic texture that is typically associated with breads made from bleached non-whole wheat flours.

Recipes and recommendations vary a lot on how much you should add so you may need to experiment. Gluten is sold as vital wheat gluten, gluten flour, etc and you will need to be mindful of how much protein is present as it can vary from 40%-80% (most in the low 70% range).

Citric Acid: A simple acid found in citrus fruits, the benefit of using citric acid (or ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C) is that it helps create a more acidic environment for the yeast and helps reduce oxidization.

DON'T USE TOO MUCH! Someone in our home decided they wanted to be like the Mad Scientist of the house, invited company over, and tossed in a lump of this potent stuff into her (ahem!) pumpkin rolls. There is always a first time for everything, and that was the first (and hopefully last!) time I ever "get" to eat rolls that, uhhhm, taste like fresh lemon was squeezed on every bite!

Btw, on the ascorbic acid, make sure you get pure powder and not something with a lot of fillers and binders. Also, you don't need much (1/32nd to 1/16th of a teaspoon) for your bread. MORE IS NOT BETTER! A little really does work--just check out the "bread machine yeast" at the store as it typically has ascorbic acid, and not very much at that. Yet a little bit will make for some happy yeast. :)

Ginger: Yep, the good ol' powdered ginger in your cupboard, is a nice dough enhancer. It is a mild preservative (like lecithin) but the big perk is that yeast love ginger. It gives them a nice kick start and can be thought of as yeast snack food. And while a dash won't be enough to actually taste, it does help make a lighter, fluffier loaf of bread.

Homemade wheat bread

Lecithin, Gluten, Ascorbic/Citric Acid, and Ginger. That is all I added to the loaf of bread and it changed the original recipe that has a grainier, crumbly crumb to a loaf that is lighter and fluffier and retained more moisture. They are all natural ingredients and I didn't need to touch any unpronounceable chemicals and "stuff" you cannot even purchase at a store to begin with. (We purchased the lecithin, vital wheat gluten, and citric acid at a bulk food store).

There really is a science behind bread, everything from ingredients to the environment impact how bread turns out. I am continuing my experiments as there are a lot of natural conditioners out there... you can even use pectin and kosher gelatin for bread (and not just jam and jell-o).

With Tammy's new grain mill I am sure we will do a bit of experimenting with new recipes and conditioners. The above loaf is encouraging as the end result was really good--if I had not known it was 100% whole wheat I would have been very surprised when I found out.

This homemade wheat bread remains our favorite all-purpose bread recipe! We use 100% whole wheat flour, with the addition of the dough conditioners discussed here, and LOVE the results! :)


Excellent job Joshua!

I can hardly wait to see what all you guys come up with now that you have a good mill! I love wheat!!!
I love bread!.......and I'm sure I'll be loving some new recipes for the like, from your kitchen!!

Fascinating. Thanks Joshua for taking time to share your secrets! I was thinking how fabby Tammy's bread looked. My wholewheat bread always looks so dense and dark, just the way we don't like bread. Lucy

I have also been experimenting with this stuff - and I have found that adding Xanthan gum helps with the elasticity of homemade bread. You only really need about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, added with the dry ingredients - even into a bread maker. This is an alternative to Gluten, especially if you are Gluten intolerant (Celiac).

While I haven't tried it yet, everything I have read agrees that Xanthan gum is a serviceable substitute for gluten free recipes. There are a number of websites with Xanthan gum based recipes and tips (a quick example here). Guar gum, locust bean gum, carageenan, agar agar, pectin, gelatin, Pre-gel Starch and so forth are all have some similar properties. Most are decent "binders" and help retain moisture. Guar gum, specifically, is said to be a cheaper alternative to Xanthan gum. If you have celiac disease or are working with non-wheat flours (hence gluten free) these are some options to play around with. I am sure some people are scratching their head going, "Xanthan gum? Lecithin?! Acid!! What happened to all the simple, homemade recipes on this site!" Some of these ingredients sound extravagant and in some cases may be difficult to obtain in local shops (although Amazon has almost all of these). Interestingly many of them are actually cheaper, and more effective, than traditional alternatives. For example, guar gum (the ground endosperm of guar beans which are mainly grown in the middle east) is cheaper than cornstarch and a much better binder. Unsurprisingly it is found in a lot of commercial food products due to cost & performance. Of course most American recipes were developed with ingredients more readily available locally, so corn starch, tapioca flour, flour, and so forth were used and have thus found shelf space in most stores. How many people would buy guar gum if it was next to the corn starch at the store? This is one thing we are trying to keep in mind when we dabble in dough conditioners: availability, price, and health. The goal isn't to toss just any ol' chemicals in the bread! We realize that for some people some ingredients won't be agreeable (like gluten, dairy products, soy products, etc) but we are trying to find a balance. Our hope is to do some more testing with various conditioners to offer some feedback to readers on our experience with them. From there others can dabble with what they have available and fits in their own budgets and produces results they like :) Of course we want to keep our base recipes mainly "conditioner free" and offer them as "options and suggestions" for those interested. Not everyone has the money or interest in adding gluten or Xanthan gum to their bread, which we understand. Yet for those looking to "improve" their homemade bread texture a little we are hoping to offer some of our own experiences. From my own experience, transitioning from store 100% whole wheat bread to homemade is kind of tough because I grew up on the really soft breads. I don't mind a heartier bread, but for a sandwich I really am biased toward soft bread. Discovering I can make a soft, 100% whole wheat bread, at home while adding natural, and healthy, ingredients has been a lot of fun for me!

I have been experiment with whole grains since I got my grain mill about 3 months ago. I enjoyed reading your post giving me some ideas for my favorite whole wheat recipes!


Is there a substitue that you can think of for the soy lecithin? I'm really sensitive to soy products so a substitute would be great.

Thanks a bunch!
Susan Godfrey

There are a lot of alternatives as you are mainly looking for an "end result" that different conditioners contribute to. Lecithin has a number of sources but soy is the cheapest and most readily available because soy is lecithin rich. If you do find a non-soy lecithin give it a try as lecithin is rich in choline and also helps emulsify and metabolize cholesterol in your bloodstream. Eggs, as another poster noted, has a bit of lecithin; on the other hand breads with eggs tend to dry out quicker than non-egg recipes. But don't let this stop you from experimenting with adding an egg yolk or two to test it out.

Check out the Health Food stores. There is lecithin available that is not soy derived.

Thanks for explaining all that!

I put wheat gluten in some of my bread (the whole wheat loaves) but haven't tried the others.
I may have to give the ginger a try as it's in my cupboard!


Thank you so much!

I keep looking for citric/ascorbic acid and I can't find it! I have looked in my regular grocery store, Whole Foods, Central Market (similar to Whole Foods) and another little small business-style grocery. Where on earth do you get this stuff locally?

Thanks for the info on the science of bread. I experiment a lot in my baking, but none of my experiments are really scientific ones. They go more like this:

I like sunflower seeds in my bread
Bread with sunflower seeds is good
Bread with MORE sunflower seeds is clearly superior!

And then the loaf collapses halfway through baking and I have some more fodder for the compost heap.

We obtained our Citric Acid from a local bulk store. It is the same place we obtained lecithin, gluten, and the like.

Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C. I would guess that GNC or other healthfood stores carry powdered Vitamin C--just make sure you get the 100% stuff without fillers! A wine specialty store that services consumers who make their own wines at home should also carry Ascorbic Acid.

When in doubt, there is always Amazon.

On an unrelated note, some "dough UN-conditioners" are cinnamon and raisins. Cinnamon inhibits yeast growth so you don't want to add too much; raisins are frequently dusted chemicals that prevent mold growth which also inhibit yeast.

Thank you Joshua - I will try GNC now. You'd think that living in a large metropolis like Dallas I would be able to find these things, but apparently I have not learned to look in the right places.

I didn't know that cinnamon was an un-conditioner! I believe garlic is as well, but we still add it to Tammy's pizza dough recipe and it turns out puffy and delicious every time.

I think pizza dough is impossible to mess up. Or at least, it's a lot more forgiving than regular breads. :)

One time I left pizza dough in the bread machine for 8+ hours at room temp. It rose and fell and looked horrible, but the pizza turned out okay! :)

Oh, and in a lot of yeast bread recipes, cinnamon is added at the end of the process (like in bagels) or else layered in (like for cinnamon rolls) rather than being mixed into the dough, since it inhibits yeast growth. :)

I just crushed up a 1000mg vitamin C tablet I had in the cabinet . It worked just fine . I used my little morter and pestle :-)

I just use an 1/8 tsp "fruit fresh" per loaf. Most people already have it in the cupboard. It is moslty citric acid and I have had really good results.

I gave up and got Fruit Fresh. I'm told it's an acceptable substitute.

@ 'othergirl4Christ', I find citric acid anywhere that canning products are sold. It is used in making jams and jelly. I procurred a jar at the local grocery store or Walmart, next to the canning jars.
Also, I make homemade soy milk, and find that the okara (pudding-like substance remaining after straining the milk) makes a terrific addition to my baked goods, as it is loaded with protein and a great source of lecithin. I add about one half cup to my bread recipes ( you may omit the egg if using okara).

I would love to make sandwich bread! Makes me want to jump into the kitchen to try this recipe (if it weren't so hot!)

Is there a different type of lecithin other than soy? With soy's connection to breast cancer, I avoid it whenever possible.

Instead of buying soy lecithin, I just use eggs. I add 2 to 3 eggs to my recipe that makes 2 loaves. We have chickens so eggs are readily available. But for those who cannot tolerate soy or just don't use it, eggs work great in bread.

Well, you know every unpronounceable ingredient on a package of processed food starts out with a justification by some food scientist about how it is natural and harmless. There is not one single additive or preservative in our industrial processed foods that has not been justified this way. Another way to look at it might be to look at why store-bought breads need conditioners to begin with. Traditional breads are made without additives and dough conditioners. Instead, they are set to rise for long periods of time, which develops both the flavor and texture of the bread. When commercial bakeries began looking for ways to cut corners, one of the shortcuts they found was adding dough conditioners so you can cut that overnight rise time to just an hour or two. There are a lot of sources for great bread recipes that do not resort to dough conditioners. In fact, although I have been a devotee of your bagel recipe, one way I found to improve it was via _The Best Recipe_ which had an almost identical bagel recipe, except that after you form the bagel shapes, you stick them in the refrigerator overnight, and cook them in the morning. They are wonderful, and very chewy.

And you should definitely stay away from nasty stuff like dihydrogen monoxide and Saccharomyces cerevisiae!

do we add all the ingredients or just one of the additives.


You can add some or all of the dough conditioners. We have worked out what seems to be good ratios for our bread recipe, but if you only have a couple of the enhancing ingredients, it's perfectly fine to experiment! :)

I was so excited when I received my new grain mill and a huge bag. I have made numerous loaves of bread according to the bread recipe that came with my wheat, but I have one continuous problem. Although I add both lecitin and gluten per the recipe, my bread is very, very dense and sometimes moist in the middle. What am I doing wrong?

Honestly, it could be a hundred different things... I could not say without knowing all of the many details -- the exact recipe, your climate, oven, ingredients, kneading time, rising time and atmosphere, etc. etc...

Sometimes using a different recipe works. If doing the same thing numerous times isn't working, try a different recipe...

I could better help you troubleshoot with my wheat bread recipe, since I've had a lot of experience with it...

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your whole wheat bread recipe. I recently got set up with some wheat berries, a wheat grinder and a breadmaker. My first two attempts at whole wheat bread were dismal. Your recipe, however, came out absolutely perfect!
Someone was looking for some ascorbic acid. We found it at our local Sprouts store in their bulk spices section. Thanks again!

I've never made homemade bread before and I was wondering how long a loaf lasts. Do you need any kind of special kitchen gadgets to make the dough?....or the bread? Can I use a regular oven?

You just need a large bowl and your hands to make homemade bread! :) You might need a bread pan, unless you wish to shape the loaf and place on a cookie sheet to bake, more like "artisan" bread rather than "sandwich bread". And your regular oven is perfect. :)

Thank you for the natural dough conditioners formula, if I double my bread recipe do I need to double the conditioners as well?

Yes. :) Our loaf uses 3 cups whole wheat flour, so if you're using your own recipe and it's for a larger or smaller loaf size, you may need to adjust the amounts you use. It's somewhat of an experiment since all recipes are slightly different and we've really only seriously toyed with our recipe (homemade wheat bread). :)

Love chemistry? Hate crumbly homemade bread? I'm just the opposite thank you.

I Iove homemade bread it makes the kitchen smell heavenly. Cant wait to make the bread thanks for sharing your recipe.

My husband was given a loaf of bread from a person at his work whose family owns a restauraunt in Portland, Oregon. They give him the bread because they have to toss out if not used. Well, that bread was sooo good that it has prompted me to make homemade whole wheat bread! I do not know it this bread had additives or not, but I am thinking it did because I've tasted other homemade whole wheat bread recepies that were way too heavy and dense. This bread is great for toasting.

So I will start my experiment!

Thank you for all the knowledge of dough conditioners. Who knows how far I will go.

Vancouver, WA

You can find Ascorbic/Citric Acid in your supermarket -- look in the "Ethnic Foods" section, with the Jewish foods, for "Sour Salt" by Rokeach - the only listed ingredient is citric acid. A 5.5 ounce jar will last you "five minutes less than forever"!

Las Vegas NV

This is a fantastic article. Amazing information presented REALLY WELL. Thanks a lot.

While shopping today for the enhancer ingredients, I saw a jar of guar gum. The label said it was used as a thickening agent to aid in rising of gluten-free baking. Do you have experience with this product? Is it any good for bread baking? MaryJ

Hi Mary!

We haven't used guar gum in any recipes yet, although I know Joshua would like to get some to use in some experiments! I'll write about it if/when we do use some! :)

Perfect and fabulous! I can not thank you enough for this recipe and dough conditioner!!! My bread comes out PERFECT and FABULOUS each and every time!!! Oh, and my husband is empressed with my new baking skills!

I read that internal loaf temperature should be 190 degrees, Fahrenheit. I take the bread out of the oven when it reaches that, and it will rise to 200 while standing. Turns out great. No more guessing if a loaf "sounds hollow," or not.

Hi tammy,

I was shopping at the grocery store the other day, and came accross a jar of "Wheat Germ" I was wondering if you've ever used it before and what your thoughts would be on using it to make bread recipes. Thanks for you help!

Katie Ladner

Hi Katie!

My mom uses wheat germ (purchased at the bulk food store; store in fridge or freezer for maximum freshness!) and so several of my recipes use it! Homemade granola and cornbread are two that come to mind right away! I haven't bought wheat germ recently, so I've omitted it from some things (which is okay, too) but it is a nice ingredient to have in the pantry, especially for granola. :)

Growing up, my dad would sprinkle wheat germ on his vanilla ice cream for dessert! I wonder if anyone else does that?! :)

In bread recipes, I think it could certainly be added (maybe sub for 1/2 cup of the flour), although I have not done a lot of experimenting with it that way. :)

Wheat germ is affordable if you can get it at a bulk food store (or health food store, possibly) so I recommend checking there if you plan to use much! :)

Thank you so much for help! :)

Katie Ladner

I'd love to hear a thorough response to the person who said conditioners are never needed if you are just a patient baker that lets the dough rise over a long time and well kneaded, especially the dough that was refrigerated and made into delicious bagels the next day. I like the idea of conditioners as long as they are not too processed. I prefer food as close to its natural state as possible.

I'm all up for a good article about how homemade bread can be "conditioned" or "enhanced" without adding any "additives". (If someone writes one, they're welcome to send me the link!) :)

Like Joshua wrote in this article, though, anything in bread beyond flour and water and yeast (unless you consider that an "additive" since traditional sourdough breads are just flour and water!) is there to somehow feed the yeast, develop texture, temper the yeast, give flavor, add moisture, preserve freshness, etc. So yeast, eggs, milk, oil, salt, orange juice, sugar, honey, etc. are all helping to "enhance" the bread.

If a person feels more comfortable adding orange juice to their bread rather than a pinch of citric acid or ascorbic acid (vitamin C), that's their choice. :) If granulated lecithin feels too "additive/preservative-like", then stick with egg yolks. :) And a high-gluten wheat doesn't "need" additional gluten flour added, especially if you like a denser loaf. :)

I like "regular" homemade breads without any dough conditioners added, and some of it is a matter of taste/preference. I do know that my breads made with dough conditioners get the most compliments from guests and seem to be enjoyed the most... and since I'm not against adding "things" to my bread, I like to do that. :)

I am a commercial baker, (small shops not the insanely big ones) I help bakers with problems like this all the time as part of my job.
I am impressed with how you did the research, this is very good information.
I also make bread at home and always look for good natural ways of making them.
I'm going to try it and continue to monitor this blog.


Hi Tammy, just want to say I love your blog and I will be trying some of your recipes. The first one I've tried is the wheat bread with the bread enhancers. The first time I tried it I used the dough cycle on my zorushi bread machine. The bread was good but not as fluffy as I would have liked. We did eat the whole loaf, but I wanted to try it again and do everything by hand. I had much better results when I kneaded the dough and let it rise. I do have a question, is the recipe for 1 loaf or can it be used to make 2 loaves of bread? Thank you for the recipe, I've been searching all over the internet looking for a good bread loaf recipe and you have the best. I will definately make your recipe my go to recipe for bread, I know what is in the bread when I'm baking it at home myself.

Thanks and God bless!

Hi Cheryl! :)

The wheat bread recipe can be used to make 2 small-medium loaves of bread or 1 large loaf of bread. We found that using 100% whole wheat flour (all 3 cups or nearly 3 cups of flour) with the dough conditioners made the loaf so big and fluffy that we could make 2 loaves that were still a decent size. The original recipe, with 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour and 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour (and no dough conditioners) makes 1 decent-sized loaf. :)

I hope this helps! :)


I just made a 100% whole wheat loaf that had 1/4 cup soy flour, and that alone made a noticeable difference -- and I have been baking breads for 25 years! Thanks for the info.


I'm VERY new to this. This blog is fantastic! So much useful info. Thank you! A few questions: I've looked through your bread recipes and can't find one for 100% whole wheat bread. Do you have one posted and I've just missed it? Also, I'm attempting to make whole wheat bread in a bread machine without the use of any oil. Do you have any suggestions for that. I'm going to try with the ingredients you've talked about here, just thought there might be other things I should know when using a bread machine. I know you can use applesauce to replace oil in cake recipes, do you know if that will work in bread? Or is there something else that can be used to replace it. Thank you so much.

My homemade wheat bread recipe includes directions for using 100% whole wheat flour. In fewer words, just use 3 cups of whole wheat flour instead of 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour plus 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour. I do make that recipe in my bread machine. :)
My bread recipe (linked above) does use some butter or oil, but not a lot and it would probably be okay to emit that. I've not tried using applesauce in my wheat bread (only for sweet quick breads like banana bread, pumpkin bread, etc.).

I've heard of substituting ground flax seed for some or all oil in recipes so you might try that too. You might need to up your other liquids a tad to make up for the loss of liquid oil.

I am experimenting using different proportions of various low carb flours to replace 50% or more of the wheat flour in bread recipes. I'm having trouble with density... the loaves are quite delicious but very dense and low. I'm using vital wheat gluten but it is not doing enough towards lightening up the bread. Can anybody tell me their experiences with how much gluten to add to how much alternative flour??
The flours I am using (not all in the same loaf, lol) are:
soy flour
almond meal
flaxseed meal
brans of oat, corn, wheat
whole wheat flour
I add whole eggs. I am going to try a little ginger in my next loaf. I have also been reading about pre-fermented sponges and plan to try that in my next loaf to hopefully make it rise better.

I've been making bread since I was five and in recent years have been trying to find ways to make the bread last a little longer. After it sits out a couple days I find it starts getting sticky and starting to sour. I usually have to throw it in the refrigerator on the 2nd day to make it last. However, I don't like the bread as well for bread (vs toast) once it has been refrigerated. I'm going to have to experiment with lecithin and other things.

I've always used gluten flour and have been really happy with how it holds the bread together. Another thing I have found useful for moisture is oat flour. It does a lot for moisture, texture, and flavor. I usually use around 1/2 cup per large loaf.

Thanks for the info.

Sorry guys, Citric Acid is used as a souring (flavoring) agent. Yeast do not reproduce more with Citric Acid present. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) may taste similar, but is more expensive, and more importantly, is consumed by the yeast. The only effect that adding citric acid to your dough would be to acidify the mix, not enhance the dough. (reference)

Tammy this is more a question or...
Can I use soy lecithin oil instead of soy lecithin
granuale's ?.

My queston is will it work the same, yes or no ?
thank you, Yami Dasa.

I am making cookies and would like to make them as organic and natural as possible, do you recommend lechtithin as a preservative? Or is there something else that would be better...

Thanks so much for all the info. I am very excited to try this and make healthy delicious bread for my family. The kids will hopefully open their lunchboxes with delight!

Hi, I really love the info you've given on the site. I grind up lecithin granules into a 'flour' and I'm wondering if I should refrigerate it?
Same question for chia seeds I grind.

I dont know if this blog is still going or not?...i know of an unusual! method for making bread,the origin of it is very ancient according to my research on the topic...its all natural ingredents but the method is unique! to it...the only thing is i dont know why it boy o boy does it works to make a great bread!...there is hot oil involved in the process which i will explain if i know if this blog is still going,i dont wanne waste my time on a dead blog! no longer in use!! tell me first:is this blog still healthy an allive?

hi joshua... pls can u mention that what are the things which can b used as a natural dough conditioners instead of lecthicin...natural gluten etc...can we use lemon instead of ascorbic acid which is not easily available

An earlier note said citric acid (found in lemons and oranges) does not function biochemically the way ascorbic acid (Vit C) does. The note included a reference, but I didn't look it up--because Vit C is so easy to find, buy, borrow from a neighbor; I've got a bottle of 1 gram Vit C tablets that I cut in quarters and add a quarter to a loaf.
If anyone is still following this blog, can I get an opinion on the commercially available dough conditioners? I'm about to try the full lecithin/ginger/ascorbic acid combo, with 100% bread flour (whole wheat is an acquired taste I haven't acquired); but I wouldn't mind the convenience of one additive, if such can work. There are only two of us at home now, and a loaf goes stale long before we can eat it.

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