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Protease

Protease. Any of a relatively large group of enzymes (q.v.), variously called proteinases or proteolytic enzymes, that catalyze (q.v.) the hydrolysis (q.v.) or degradation of proteins (q.v.) into smaller compounds, such as polypeptides (q.v.), peptides (q.v.), peptones (q.v.), and ultimately into their constituent amino acids (q.v.). In baking, these enzymes, present at low levels in mature grain (q.v.) or derived in more active forms from such sources as germinated cereals (q.v.) and certain fungi (q.v.) and bacteria (q.v.), modify the character of the dough (q.v.) by their hydrolytic action on the gluten (q.v.) by rendering it softer and more pliable.