Bakers are familiar with the many functions of amylase, but there are a number of other useful — and underutilized — classes of enzymes they should also examine. Baking & Snack conducts an exclusive Q&A with Jan van Eijk, bakery research director for Lallemand Baking Solutions, Montreal, on this subject.

Baking & Snack: What are the most underutilized enzymes that have potential to improve baked products? What should formulators know about these to make best use of them?

Jan van Eijk: Underutilized can mean that the level used is kept low to save on costs. This is what we sometimes observe for shelf life extending enzymes based on maltogenic amylases.

Sometimes, the level is suboptimal for the type of product produced. This is what we sometimes observe, for example, for xylanases in whole wheat bread applications.

Some enzymes are underutilized because a cheaper chemical alternative is available, but the clean-label trend is reversing this (as with the replacememt of ADA by enzyme-based dough conditioners like our Essential 1019 that contains glucose oxidase).

The most under-utilized enzyme, in our opinion, is phospholipase to replace emulsifiers (DATEM, SSL), which can be done cost effectively and completely in most white pan bread (clean label) applications. If the emulsifier requirement is high (as in most whole wheat bread applications), at least part of the emulsifier can be replaced cost effectively by phospholipase, but the total replacement in a clean-label application sometimes means higher costs because of the extra substrate (lecithin) that may need to be added.

How does enzyme use fit with the trend today that favors “natural” ingredient choices?

Enzymes are biological (natural) products made by fermentation and are label-friendly ingredients that are generally considered as “natural” and ideally suited for clean-label purposes. Since there is no legal definition for “natural,” we have to rely on the general opinion.

In light of the current trend to simplify ingredient statements, how do the plant extracts bromelain and papain fit bakery applications today?

Bromelain and papain are aggressive proteases with broad substrate specificity whose action is hard to control, so they are mainly used as digestive aids and in biscuits and cracker applications where there is less need for a limited specific break down of the (gluten) protein. These enzyme products are less pure and tend to have undesirable side activities (e.g., proteolytic activity in diastatic malt). The modern techniques for producing enzymes have resulted in enzymes that are purer (without undesirable side activities), more economical (especially when using GMO production organisms), more specific with desirable action pattern and better tolerance when added at high dosage levels (compared with bacterial amylase which can give gumminess when used as a softening enzyme vs. maltogenic amylse which gives both softness and improved crumb resilience when used as a shelf-life extending enzyme).

What advice do you give a baker/customer wanting to switch out of chemical additive ingredients and into enzyme-based materials? How can they get started with such conversions?

Most baker/customers want to switch from chemical additives (or those with chemical sounding names) to enzyme-based products to clean up the label and make the ingredient statement more consumer and label-friendly. So they need to ask what ingredients they want to remove from their recipe and which ones they want to keep.

Our experience tells us that almost all functional ingredients for improving bread quality (loaf volume, crumb structure, softness) can be replaced by enzymes, while calcium propionate used as a mold inhibitor can be replaced by organic acid products made by fermentation. Lallemand is introducing a new patented clean-label solution for replacing propionate as a mold inhibitor, called Essential Fresh which can also be used in conjunction with chemical mold inhibitors to further extend mold-free shelf life.

How should enzymes be stored and handled within the bakery setting?

Stability of enzyme-based dough conditioners is affected by the type of enzyme(s) but, more importantly, by the carrier used to provide it to the baker in a form that can be most easily dosed. When we use carriers with low water activity (Aw) such as redried flour, calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate, in most cases we can guarantee a shelf life (based on minimum activity) of the products of 1.5 years when stored at ambient temperature in a closed package to avoid moisture uptake. In case of regular flour or carriers with higher moisture content, the shelf life is usually shorter (nine months to one year). Enzyme-containing products can also be refrigerated to further extend their shelf life stability.

What is Lallemand’s most recent introduction of enzymes or enzyme-based products for use in baked foods? What function do they serve in which products?

Our latest product introductions are clean label products such as Essential CL 732 and Essential CL 1302. We also have introduced a product for ADA replacement called Essential 1019. We will also introduce new enzyme based dough conditioners for shelf life extension.