Enzymes are clean label catalysts for a number of reactions in bakery formulations. Those can be targeted effects such as shelf life extension, dough enhancement or protein modification, or enzymes can work together to serve multiple functions.

“They can be added to increase extensibility, add strength, increase volume, add crust color and increase shelf life to name a few,” said Ken Skrzypiec, vice-president of sales, Brolite Products. “They can be added to perform any one of these individual functions, or they can work great synergistically.”

While some enzymes have beneficial impacts on dough, others can be used to replace functional ingredients for clean label bread formulation.

“Enzymes are very specific to catalyze the conversion of compounds in a unique way at certain conditions of pH and temperature,” said Luc Casavant, baking applications director, Lallemand Baking Solutions.

These reactions can occur during mixing, proofing and fermenting, or baking. Which enzyme a baker will choose depends not only on the function but also the formula and the baking process conditions. And while there are many different types — and benefits that they bring to the table — enzymes can play a significant role in putting off staling and extend shelf life in a clean label way.

Enzymes work on a molecular level to assist the chemical reactions happening in a bakery formulation.

“They either build-up, break-down or modify other molecules,” said Joshua Zars, regional business director, food enzymes, DuPont.

And they are all proteins, and these proteins bind with one molecule of a substrate in the formula.

ENzymes, baking

“Enzymes are substrate-specific, seeking out a specific substrate such as starches, lipids or proteins, and they break the substrate down into simpler components,” said Al Orr, vice-president of sales and marketing, J&K Ingredients. “Once this process is done, the enzymes can be used to begin the process again.”

That’s because the enzymes, being the catalyst, aren’t consumed by the reaction and continue working until there are no more substrates or until the enzyme is deactivated by processing conditions.

These chemical reactions, modifying starches, proteins, lipids and non-polysaccharides, enable enzymes to work as dough conditioners or shelf life extenders.

“Enzymes are used as dough conditioners in breads to help with dough rheology and handling, process tolerance, volume, crumb grain and yeast fermentation,” said Jesse Stinson, director, technology, Corbion.

While there are myriad food-safe enzymes available to the food industry, only those that work off of ingredients commonly found in bakery formulations — starch, protein, fat and other carbohydrates — are helpful to the baker.

“In bakery formulations, wheat flour is the most important ingredient for enzymes to act on,” said Paul Bright, innovation manager, AB Mauri North America. “Enzymes are highly substrate-specific, meaning they will only typically catalyze, break down or build-up, just one specific type of reaction. It’s therefore critical that developers select the most appropriate enzymes to act on the substrates available in wheat flour: starches, proteins and fats.”

Amylases most commonly attach to degraded starches from the flour. Proteases bind with proteins, and lipases work with lipids and non-polysaccharides. Xylanase act on the non-starch polysaccharides. Glucose oxidase catalyzes the oxidation of glucose.

“Amylases are used for extended shelf life; they help the bread rise and create a spongier, doughier consistency,” said Christina Barsa, technical sales representative, Enzyme Development Corp. “Proteases function as dough relaxers to reduce mix times, increase pan flow and reduce the ‘snapback’ in shaped/stretched doughs. Xylanase helps increase the volume of bread, give greater loaf uniformity and improve crumb structure. Glucose oxidase increases the dough’s mixing and proof tolerance, helps give the bread a firmer structure and can clean up product labels by replacing gums, DATEM and bromate.”

While proteases and glucose oxidase provide many benefits to bakery foods, it’s amylase, lipase and xylanase that can provide the most help in extended shelf life.

This article is an excerpt from the June 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on enzymes, click here.