Monoglycerides for Breads

Monoglycerides have been used for years in flour-based and starch-based foods for their excellent starch complexing capabilities.  This starch complexing ability is the reason why they perform in the Anti-Staling of flour and starch-based food items.  The monoglycerides will help slow staling by acting on the starches to prevent recrystallization.  This recrystallization of the starches is the starch returning towards its state before hydration which gives flour-based baked goods its stale texture.  Staling is different than drying.  Stale bread can return to its soft state by reheating.  Reheating will never add moisture, but the texture will change resulting in a softer and moisture texture.



Mono and Diglycerides in Bread.

In bread products, the fully saturated long-chain fatty acid monoglyceride is desired.  Glycerol monostearate and glycerol mono palmitate will complex with the starches and proteins to help improve texture and to retard staling.  Staling is caused by the recrystallization of starches or starch retrogradation. Starch retrogradation will cause bread and other flour-based yeast leaven goods to lose the softness and desired texture.  As bread stales, the texture appears to be much drier and firmer even though no water is lost.  This firmness is caused by the starches reversing their gelatinization and going back towards the crystalline state.  This staling rate is fastest at refrigeration temperatures.  Staling is different than drying as a stale loaf of bread can be made “fresh” again by reheating.  The reheated bread will appear to be moister and is softer than the stale loaf.  Obviously, reheating bread will not add moisture, so it is the rearrangement of the starch molecule that makes this change.

Monoglyceride functionality in Bread

  • Promotes softer crumb – reduces starch retrogradation
  • Improved loaf volume
  • Extends shelf life
  • Improved gas retention
Monoglycerides, in particular, fully saturated long-chain monoglycerides will interfere with the starch recrystallization by aligning itself with the gelatinized starch molecule and the hydrogen bonds slow down the recrystallization.  Unsaturated monoglycerides and diglycerides will have little to no effect on reducing starch retrogradation.

Types of Monoglycerides for Bread

Mono and diglyceride for bread softness fall into several categories
  • Dry Blends

    • Soluble in dough
      • Blends of saturated and unsaturated monoglycerides that are powdered and can be added to the dough.  These are the most convenient to use and typically have an IV of 18-30.  Unsaturated monoglycerides are added at a rate of 40-50% to assist the fully saturated monoglycerides to disperse into the dough.  The unsaturated portion has little to no effect on starch complexing and is added only to disperse the fully saturated monoglyceride. The unsaturated portion is not functional as a starch complexing agent and will not contribute to significant softening or anti-staling.
      •  Using a typical powdered monoglyceride will only provide about 50% functional Monoglyceride.  The remainder is non-function as a starch complexing agent, but it will act to emulsify the food product.\
      •  This is sold in a powdered dry form that is easy to scale and is not messy.
      • Typical powdered monoglycerides used in bread baking (Distilled 90% mono) are a blend of 50-60% fully saturated monoglycerides with 40-50% unsaturated monoglycerides.


    • Insoluble in dough
      • Fully saturated monoglycerides are sold in a powered or beaded form and these WILL NOT dissolve or disperse in the dough.  While these fully saturated monoglycerides are highly functional, they must be melted into oil or water to allow proper distribution in the dough.  Failure to properly disperse the monoglycerides will prevent them from complexing with the starch and proving anti-staling properties.
  • Wet Blends

    • Hydrated Fully Saturated Monoglycerides
      • Fully saturated monoglycerides can be purchase prehydrated in water or melted into shortening.  These blends are highly functional but are not commonly used due to the costs of shipping water and the difficult nature of scaling.  Scaling wet sticky creams is messy and can make the mixing scaling areas dirty.  The hydrated emulsifier is 80-90% water.  Shipping water is expensive and the hydrated emulsifier takes up more warehouse space.
      • Hydrated GMS is also somewhat unstable and the crystal structure can revert from the alpha crystal to the more stable beta crystal which is not as functional.  (the term 90% alpha monoglycerides is easily confused with the alpha crystal.  Remember the two are unrelated)



Glycerol Monostearate IS NOT dispersible in a water-based dough at room temperature.  GMS must be melted into water or oil at high temperatures first or another dispersing agent must be added to the GMS to aid in dispersion.


Del-Val Food Ingredients has another form of monoglycerides specifically designed for bakery goods.  Our Emulsol 220P.  This form has higher levels of fully saturated monoglycerides to maximize the softening power while still maintaining a powder that is easy to use and is fully dispersable in the dough.