As bakers move to more clean-label formulations, they should take a look at proteases and their ability to adjust dough performance, according to Joseph Herzog, technical sales director, Enzyme Development Corp., New York, NY. In this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, he also explains current uses for bromelain and papain.

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?

Joseph Herzog: Proteases are underutilized to clean up labels in the replacement of sulfite and cysteine. They are also frequently overlooked in recipes to obtain better pan flow, softer more pliable dough, darker crust, and faster mix times. There are two types of proteases in baking. 1) Botanical proteases like papain and bromelain provide extensive effect on the gluten and have niche applications. 2) Fungal proteases are more widely used, and their limited action on gluten is best for most types of baked goods like breads and rolls.

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

Any enzyme that is derived from a non-GMO source organism qualifies as “natural” as both the organism and the enzymes it produces occur in nature. Most baking enzymes have a non-GMO option. We offer both non-GMO and GMO options in our ENZOBAKE product line.

Years ago, bromelain and papain were used to modify gluten. These fruit-derived compounds are still popular as dietary supplements but have mostly disappeared from food applications. How do today’s enzymes stack up with those choices?

Bromelain and papain are still used in baking for dough relaxation especially in crackers or where extensive breakdown of the gluten is desired, such as for extrusions. These proteases continue to be useful in a wide range of other food applications. They are the primary actives in enzymatic meat tenderizers and are used in the production of various protein hydrolyzates like the ubiquitous hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HPV). They are cost-effective, broad-spectrum proteases with strong performance at the starting pH of most foodstuffs. We offer both liquid and dry versions of these enzymes (PANOL, LIQUIPANOL, ENZECO).

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?

It is pretty straightforward to obtain a “clean label.” Nearly any chemical additive can be replaced by a particular enzyme or a combination of them. The choice of enzymes depends on which additive(s) are being replaced. For example, our ENZOBAKE BREAD DUAL LIPASE can completely replace DATEM or SSL.

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

For longer term storage, enzymes should always be kept cool, ideally refrigerated. Enzyme activity is usually stable for at least several days when held below 80 degrees F. It is very important to keep enzymes away from elevated temperatures that can occur in sunlight or near motors. Of course, enzymes should never be near ovens. Bacterial-derived enzymes usually are more thermostable than fungal-derived types.

All enzymes are potential irritants and sensitizers (can induce an allergic reaction with repeated exposure). Precautions should be taken to avoid all skin contact and, in particular, inhalation. Ideally, all handling of enzymes is within a negative pressure zone.

Some oil added to dry enzyme blends greatly reduces the dusting potential.

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

ENZOBAKE TRIPLE BLEND is a synergistic mix of enzymes to reduce excessive drying in microwaved baked goods.

ENZECO ASPARTIC ACID PROTEASE is a new botanical extract from thistle that has demonstrated dough relaxation.