While enzymes blaze the path for clean-label formulating, they can also pave the way to better control over moisture and prevention of acrylamide formation. Bill McKeown, vice-president, innovation, AB Mauri, Chesterfield, MO, looks at recent developments with enzymes for bakery applications.

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?

Bill McKeown: An area that is beginning to get traction is in water management within your dough system. Using newer enzyme technology, water absorption can be manipulated so that processing and baking is positively impacted. These enzymes are becoming more specific and functional leading to reduced energy needs without impacting finished product qualities.

In addition, asparagine-reducing enzyme technology is an area of interests due to increased concern about the carcinogenicity of acrylamide. Asparagine is the precursor responsible for formation of Acrylamide in bread crust or in bread that has been toasted as a result of the Milliard (browning) reaction. A great opportunity exists for bakeries to take a leadership role and incorporate this technology in toast bread, croutons, hamburger buns and other crackers and snack foods to ultimately reduce acrylamide in the final product.

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

Enzymes are at the forefront of cleaner label technology. Enzymes have become more specialized and very specific in delivering functionalities that can reduce and often times eliminate synthetic chemical additives and emulsifiers.

Can you tell us more about the current use of bromelain and papain, the plant-derived enzymes once highly used to modify gluten?

Both bromelain and papain enzymes continue to play a role in food processing including bakery products. Over the years, bromelain has essentially replaced papain as a source of protease in bakery products as it is typically much more functional at similar but high price points. These botanical enzymes typically have few side chain reactions so their usage provided specific and predictable functionality. Through technology advancements, today’s bacterial and fungal enzymes provide the same specific functionality with few side chain reactions but at lower costs. As a result, bromelain and papain are less often used in today’s bakery applications.

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?

Our advice would include working with your supplier and setting up a transition plan. Discuss your product needs and begin to incorporate cleaner label components in a slow, methodical manner. Monitor and review results with your supplier and move forward only when satisfied with the result of your initial tests. There are many choices on clean label ingredients so make sure you don’t try to do too much too quickly and by all means monitor your customers response to changes to assure your meeting their needs along the way.

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

Enzymes are moisture and temperature sensitive. They should be kept in a sealed package and where possible stored in cool (less than 80 degrees F, or less than 27 degrees C) and dry conditions. Refrigeration can extend activity consistency if prolonged storage is necessary.

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

AB Mauri has introduced new technologies under the Arctic and Supremo Brands. These products have been designed to address a quality need in both frozen dough and tortilla’s. In frozen dough we are targeting improved gas retention capabilities after 2-4 months freezing, along with improved crumb and crust characteristics. In tortillas we are addressing the need for improvement in fold-ability, reduction in sticking and improved mouth feel. In addition we are finding success with our Fermentase protein enhancement technology that can help with lower quality flour and also vital wheat gluten reduction.