Enzymes depend heavily on two factors in order to work properly: the presence of the substrate they affect and an ideal environment to work in.

“Because enzymes catalyze reactions but are not themselves consumed, they will continue to work so long as the substrate is available and the environment is friendly,” said Paul Bright, innovation manager, AB Mauri North America.

Time, temperature and pH are critical factors to activation or deactivation.

For example, starch availability for amylase reactions is optimal between 140 and 165°F.

“During this time, starch granules burst, and more starch becomes available,” Mr. Bright said.

A product’s bake profile is also a critical consideration as those with a shorter bake time will give enzymes less time in which to work. Enzymes also are denatured by heat because the amylases used for bakery products are deactivated by temperatures rising above 190°F, he noted.

Enzymes can work at any stage in the process: mixing, proofing and fermenting, and baking. And bakers need to understand not only the substrates available in their formulas but also how the temperatures and pH levels change throughout their process.

“It’s very important to select the right enzyme not just for the specific substrate you want to affect but also for the specific heat tolerance the enzyme in questions has,” said Alejandro Perez, R.&D. manager, Lesaffre Yeast Corp.

For example, some amylases are specifically tailored to provide yeast fermentables early-on during dough mixing and are then deactivated during baking, he explained. However, other anti-staling amylases remain active beyond baking, delaying retrogradation through distribution and even in the consumer’s pantry.

“Some enzymes prefer a cool environment, whereas others are happier to function at warmer temperatures,” said Deborah Waters, enzymologist, Kerry Ingredients. “This means that certain enzymes work well in the dough during mixing while others are most effective in the proofer, and some prefer to work in the early stages of baking in the oven. Knowing which enzymes work well at different stages of baking helps us to choose the correct systems for a given process and product.”

Understanding the product and process are critical to choosing the right type of enzyme and the amount.

“This is why proper testing must be carried out to ensure the enzymes’ effectiveness in your specific process and formula based on temperature, time, pH and moisture, the free water and total water in the formula,” explained Al Orr, vice-president of sales and marketing, J&K Ingredients..

To set enzymes up for success, Ben Reusser, senior bakery scientist, Cain Food Industries, suggested keeping time and temperature consistent to prevent them from being deactivated prematurely and keep production moving.

“When adding enzymes to the mixing bowl, add them to a different location in the bowl than say where the vinegar was added to avoid denaturing some of the enzymes before the ingredients are mixed together,” he said. “Avoiding unnecessary time delays from normal processing because, just like yeast, enzymes continue to function until the oven denatures them.”

As vital as it is to keep processing conditions ideal for optimizing enzyme activity, it’s also important to get the quantity right.

“When working with enzyme-based dough conditioners, formulators must be aware that more is not always better as some enzymes can be overdosed,” said Luc Casavant, baking applications director, Lallemand Baking Solutions.

Finding the right enzyme or enzyme system as well as the proper quantity requires a thorough understanding of the existing formulation and processing conditions. Bake tests and expertise are helpful as there are many players impacting the effectiveness of a formulation.

“All enzymes are time- and temperature-dependent, so it’s important to keep an eye on these parameters in order to maintain consistency,” said Jesse Stinson, director, technology, Corbion. “Lipids, sugar, starches, humectants and proteins can also impact product quality depending on the type of enzyme used in the formulation. Working with a food ingredient supplier that specializes in optimizing enzyme solutions can make it easier to ensure lasting taste, texture and freshness throughout production and freeze-thaw cycles.”

Enzymes can be used together in a system to get simultaneous benefits and also can have some additional effects occurring as dough is coming together, fermenting and baking. An expert can help bakers balance these variables.

“Formulators should use companies for their blended enzyme products, expertise and guidance,” said Ken Skrzypiec, vice-president of sales, Brolite Products. “This ensures your enzyme cocktail is well-balanced, scaled properly and dispersed evenly throughout your product. In the long run, working with an expert will save time and money.”

Bread formulations are complex systems of proteins, starches, lipids, non-starch polysaccharides, oligosaccharides and sugars, Mr. Perez said. Enzymes can interact with these systems to strengthen dough, improve volume and last longer on the shelf. These enzymes offer clean label solutions to some of the challenges that arise from commercial baking. With a thorough understanding of the formulation, processing environment and end goals, bakers can find the right enzyme or enzyme system that will work with the formulation to deliver bread that will stay softer longer.

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