Bakery formulators might well call today “the era of enzymes.” Many new, highly specific, highly controllable enzyme ingredients now benefit cakes, cookies, tortillas and snacks. It’s not just bread anymore. Also, enzymes play an increasingly important role in the “clean label” formulating trend. And yes, they can reduce costs for expensive commodity ingredients such as eggs and gluten.

Although enzymes have been known and used for many years, it is the improved specificity of activity that cues their many new roles. These are not your father’s enzymes; they are much more specific than before.

“Enzyme technology has come a long way, and the manufacturers are really starting to perfect enzymes for bakery usage,” said Tom Mitchell, lab director, Brolite Products Co., Inc., Streamwood, IL.

That refinement may be found not only in their activity but also their applications. “Enzymes now allow much more targeted usage,” observed Michael Beavan, PhD, project manager, Watson, Inc., West Haven, CT.

When enzymes were first used by bakers, they displayed plenty of side activities and were notoriously difficult. Overdosing was a real concern. Bakers learned to add their enzymes at the dough side, thus minimizing the amount of time they could be active before being turned off, or denatured, by the heat of the oven. With improvements in specificity, however, bakers can choose the amount, speed and timing of their activity. In other words, the baker — not the enzyme — is in control.

“Enzymes are the future of the baking industry,” said Thierry Etienne, key account manager, Lallemand Baking Solutions, Montreal, QC. “They are label-friendly, cost-effective and denatured during the baking process to stop their activity.”


Enzymes have emerged as a chief tactic in clean-label strategies. “Clean label is not a fad,” Mr. Etienne said. “More consumers are demanding it.”

Although not legally defined, the term “clean label” has come to mean use of natural ingredients and short ingredient lists on packaging — in words of six or fewer letters, Dr. Beavan noted. It also requires avoiding materials on the lists of unacceptable ingredients published by Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s and other food retailers.

“Our customers are asking for clean label ingredients,” Dr. Beavan said. “They want to take out the azodicarbonamide (ADA), the mono- and diglycerides and the sodium and calcium stearoyl lactylates (SSL and CSL). They are interested in paring back on label listings.”

“When replacing emulsifiers with lipases, a bakery has the potential to realize cost savings, and if you go to full replacement, then you can clean up your label,” explained Anders Espe Kristensen, business development and marketing director, Novozymes A/S, Bagsvaerd, Denmark. Under Food and Drug Administration labeling rules, enzymes are considered processing aids and need not be listed in the package’s ingredient statement.

The enzyme glucose oxidase plus ascorbic acid will substitute for oxidizing agents (ADA, potassium bromate, calcium peroxide and calcium iodate). Likewise, relaxing agents (sodium metabisulfite and L-cysteine) can be replaced by protease and/or yeast (inactive glutathione-rich styles); mono- and diglycerides by enzyme and lecithin combinations or maltogenic amylases; and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (DATEM), SSL, CSL and ethoxylated monoglycerides by phospholipase. Because of the high activity of enzymes, 1 oz per cwt of flour can replace 8 oz SSL, explained Mr. Etienne. Replacement rates differ, but in all cases, quantities are much lower than those of the material being replaced.

“Our Pristine line of bases and functional ingredients use enzyme technology and are intended to create cleaner- label products,” said Troy Boutte, PhD, senior scientist, Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, KS. Pristine Ferment 250 and Pristine Dough Side 250 are designed to be used together on the sponge and dough side of a bread formulation, respectively. They consist of an enzyme-based dough conditioner and strengthener.

Lallemand developed a new range of enzyme-based products under the Essential brand, “allowing the baker to replace ingredients like potassium bromate, SSL and/or DATEM and reduce gluten, while still giving flexibility to add and adjust with the clean-label oxidant of choice, ascorbic acid,” explained Merna Legel, vice-president, Lallemand Baking Solutions, Addison, IL.

The company pioneered in enzymes for SSL replacement when the right enzyme specificity and cost effectiveness came along, Ms. Legel added. “After many months of extensive lab and field verification, the Essential ER line of products was launched for SSL and DATEM reduction and replacement,” she said.

The secret, however, is that by optimizing formulations, bakers can save money, as both Mr. Etienne and Dr. Boutte explained. By going back to basics, eliminating the incremental functional additives and optimizing the formulation, the cost of all the surplus functionality can be reduced if not completely eliminated. The best practical advice is to use only what you need.


The current revival of enzymes began with freshkeeping or, as this approach is better known, extended shelf life (ESL). This application relies on the ability of maltogenic enzymes to cleave retrograded starch molecules and, thus, slow the normal staling rate. The result is bread that stays softer longer. Although ESL is nearly 20 years old, it continues to inspire new applications for enzymes — reaching far beyond bread into cakes and tortillas.

“We keep innovating within the category,” Mr. Kristensen said about Novozymes’ Novamyl line. In 2009, the company added Novamyl Pro, a new maltogenic enzyme intended for bread freshkeeping applications. “It reduces stale returns while delivering increased softness, elasticity and moistness,” he noted.

DSM Food Specialties views its Panamore range of enzymes as sustainable solutions that address cost management and shelf life, according to Margarida Branco, communications officer for DSM, Delft, The Netherlands. Panamore Soft blends enzymes to lengthen shelf life and improve softness for soft buns, rolls and rich-formula breads, including high-fiber and fruit-inclusion styles.

“While using enzymes in breadmaking to preserve freshness is now standard, for cakes and pastries, it is a relatively new idea,” said Nicole Rees, R&D manager, AB Mauri Fleischmann’s, Wilsonville, OR. “The sweet goods sector is starting to experience the same pressure as the bread segment to streamline and optimize formulas.” The company recently developed Softase Cake 115 for cakes and muffins. It provides these baked foods with fresh eating quality over time, as well as extending perceived moistness and delaying the onset of crumbliness.

Tortillas, too, benefit from new enzymes. “Development of Tortilla Suave was prompted by the growth of the flour tortilla industry, which led to increased demand for better eating quality and increased shelf life,” Dr. Boutte said. Traditional flour tortillas have a relatively short shelf life and lose flexibility over time. Also, they tend to stick together in the package, resulting in product loss in the home or restaurant.

Not all ESL products work in tortillas, he observed, so Tortilla Suave was designed to balance the shelf-life-extension system with the anti-sticking system. It blends ESL enzymes with the company’s award-winning Trancendim technology for eliminating trans fatty acids and improving lubrication to prevent sticking.

Caravan Ingredients also expanded its Bake-Soft line with a product specific to tortillas, Bake-Soft Tortilla 500. “It keeps tortillas soft and flexible as well as extending shelf life,” Dr. Boutte explained.

The Star System tortilla enzyme product developed by AB Mauri Fleischmann’s allows tortillas to be stacked one on top of another. “It prevents zippering — tearing and sticking when pulled apart,” Ms. Rees explained.


The move away from additives — oxidants, reducing agents, dough conditioners and crumb softeners — has opened doors for enzymes.

Dr. Beavan noted that American bakers are ridding their formulations of ADA and bromates, adopting ascorbic acid instead and substituting enzyme-based dough conditioners. “Recently, lipases have become available that allow us to put together all-enzyme conditioners,” he said. The combination of enzymes and ascorbic acid enhances functionality. Tailoring with proteases, amylases and lipases to promote dough extensibility in the mixer and dough elasticity near the end of proofing.

Exploring synergies, Watson developed Soft & Mighty to better control dough visco­elasticity throughout the baking process, according to Dr. Beavan. The company also produces such a combination of encapsulated ascorbic acid and glucose oxidase for frozen dough applications.

Several new enzyme products based on lipases have been recognized as effective substitutes for emulsifiers. For example, Enzyme Development Corp. (EDC), New York, NY, introduced Enzobake lipase and phospholipase for bread and cake applications, respectively. “These are refinements of existing technologies,” explained Joe Herzog, account manager, EDC. “Although most typically used for enhanced ovenspring and volume, Enzobake Bread Dual Lipase can completely replace certain emulsifiers like DATEM, and Enzobake Cake PL increases shelf life, reduces egg content and imparts a creamy, smooth mouthfeel to sweet goods.”

Ms. Branco observed that DSM’s Panamore Spring cost-effectively swaps out the conditioners SSL and CSL.

“Replacing traditional dough strengtheners and conditioners in a cost-effective manner has not been easy,” Dr. Boutte observed. Caravan Ingredients put together its clean-label Pristine Ferment 250 and Pristine Dough Side 250 to be cost-competitive with performance equal or better than traditional additives.

Another newly developed enzyme blend, Caravan’s Arco Pro Relaxer addresses flour quality issues that result in excessively long mix times, a concern in recent years, according to Dr. Boutte. “The problem is that dough mix times have crept up, thus creating operational issues in bakeries.” By adding the relaxer to the sponge side, mix time for final doughs can be cut by 1 to 3 minutes. “Arco Pro Relaxer is more tolerant compared with other enzyme relaxers. Overdosing, weakness and open crumb grain are no longer an issue,” he added.

Improved dough tolerance and baking performance, plus better crumb structure and softness result with DSM’s Panamore Spring, reported Ms. Branco. “It also improves sustainability, with a 50 to 80% reduction in carbon footprint compared with SSL and CSL,” she said.

Because of rising prices for flour and gluten, bakers are seeking to conserve costs and resources. Now, the formulator can replace up to a 2% addition (flour weight basis) of vital wheat gluten with enzyme-based dough conditioners.

“The gluten-replacement application has been around for a while, about 3 years, but it was ahead of its time,” said Tony Oszlanyi, a baking consultant for The Wright Group, Crowley, LA. “In the last year, it has really taken off.” He described the Wright Soft line as “cocktails” made of enzymes selected for their specific activities. These ingredient systems are used at 2 to 4 oz per cwt flour. “Its cost is higher than gluten, but the usage and inventory costs are lower,” he said. “It’s like spending $1 to save $2.”

Brolite Products takes a different approach for its Au Natural 4, a dry ingredient created from naturally fermented sponge with an enzyme-based conditioning system. “It contains no ascorbic acid or other oxidants but gives 21 days of freshness,” explained Mr. Mitchell. The all-natural dry product supports clean label. “It allows bakers to remove bromate, ADA, etc. from their labels. And it gives baked foods the flavor and conditioning system of the sponge-and-dough method, without going through that long, time-consuming process,” he added. Usage rate is 4% (flour weight basis).


Because enzyme-based ingredient systems are so specific, bakers may need to enlist their suppliers in adapting formulations. The challenge for suppliers that blend enzyme-based ingredient systems is to screen all the new enzymes for use in dough systems.

“As you know,” explained Mr. Oszlanyi, “we buy the enzymes and then compound the mixtures. That’s where the bakery expertise comes in.”

Most enzymes marketed for baking applications are commercially manufactured through large-scale fermentation processes, and the companies preparing the enzymes typically sell to other ingredient suppliers that blend them to fit the bakery customers’ specific needs.

“In the past few years, Caravan Ingredients has considerably strengthened its capabilities with regard to enzyme technology,” Dr. Boutte said. “By leveraging our global presence, we have been able to source a very extensive array of enzymes to choose from to deliver the best solution for each application.”

Mr. Kristensen explained, “We work with our partners who blend our enzymes with other ingredients to bring tailor-made solutions to their customers, the bakers. They know more about baking processes than we do, and together we can bring solutions to the industry.

“We advise that bakers devote sufficient attention in R&D to work with their ingredient providers to bring good products to market at good prices,” Mr. Kristensen summarized. “It’s important to invite your suppliers, the ingredient providers, to help drive innovation.”

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