Flour needs to mature for best baking performance. Plus, year-to-year differences in growing conditions alter its protein content and baking performance. In the old days, bakers stored freshly milled flour for several weeks before use to allow nature — atmospheric oxygen, actually — to do the job.

Modern bakers can’t afford to let their flour sit around waiting for that magic moment of readiness. Decades ago, they learned to use oxidizing agents to harness the natural variability of flour. Today, however, useful oxidants like azodicarbonamide and potassium bromate are under fire, and bakers seek other, more label-friendly solutions.

One of those is an enzyme solution — BakeZyme Go Pure glucose oxidase — according to scientists and bakery researchers at DSM Food Specialties, Delft, The Netherlands, a company with US offices at Parsippany, NJ.

Glucose oxidase reacts in doughs to form hydrogen peroxide, which in turn prompts the cross-linkages between gluten proteins that yield the viscoelastic network that traps leavening gases. It also fosters cross-linking between arabinoxylans causing desirable oxidative gelation. Both reactions improve doughs and help them stand up to processing and machining.

The extent of hydrogen peroxide’s action depends on its generation rate and concentration. Too much, especially during mixing, may decrease the size of the gluten aggregates rather than form the extended gluten network, and shear during processing will break down the protein network undesirably. Doughs become short and lose some elasticity.

DSM’s BakeZyme Go Pure is a new form of glucose oxidase that answers the need for control. “It has a unique self-regulative mechanism with respect to the production of hydrogen peroxide,” explained Jeroen van Roon, PhD, global business line manager, baking enzymes, DSM Food Specialties. “The moderate release of hydrogen peroxide over time prevents gluten over-oxidation during mixing. BakeZyme Go Pure allows increased dough elasticity in combination with increased extensibility and is beneficial for high-shear, short processes and low-shear, long processes alike.”

DSM suggested use in US dough formulations at 20 to 40 ppm, based on flour weight. It is a fungal enzyme, produced by Penicillium chrysogenum, rather than derived from the fungal genus Aspergillus.

The enzyme’s action also yields gluconic acid in direct proportion to the amount of hydrogen peroxide formed. DSM researchers measured gluconic acid levels at various times during doughmaking. In the mixing phase, BakeZyme Go Pure showed lower levels of peroxide production than glucose oxidase from Aspergillus sp. Researchers said the lower rate helps avoid over-oxidation of the gluten.

Besides conventional baked foods, BakeZyme Go Pure benefits frozen doughs by making them easier to work with. “Final bread volume and shape can be challenging in frozen dough applications because, during the freezing process, ice crystals are formed, which can cause damage to the gluten network structure, leading to reduced dough stability and loss of gas retention,” Dr. van Roon explained. Because these doughs must be handled at low temperatures, they can be difficult to develop and mould. The controlled formation of hydrogen peroxide during mixing aids extensibility. “As a result, the final bread has an improved shape and volume,” he noted.

Some bakers are already using BakeZyme Go Pure in commercial production; others are evaluating it for various applications and in different regions. “Bakers are recognizing the unique mode of action of this new-generation glucose oxidase and are exploring its application benefits in a wide variety of recipes and technologies,” Dr. van Roon said.

For US bakers, there’s a bonus: Under Food and Drug Administration labeling rules, enzymes are considered processing aides and need not be declared in the ingredient listing printed on food packages.

For more information on DSM’s range of enzymes for bakery use, visitwww.dsm-foodspecialties.com.