The Role of Enzyme-Based Dough Improvers in Bakery Products

Dough improvers

What’s in a loaf? A basic loaf of bread contains four ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. But if we stop there, we’ll have a European-style bread that goes stale in a day. Bread that is mass produced and distributed needs a little help from food science to achieve machining tolerance, volume and texture consistency, and delayed staling.

Dough improvers

Dough improvers (also called bread improvers) can be added to improve dough characteristics (such as dough handling and gas formation and retention), as well as improve bread characteristics (such as crumb structure, texture, volume, sliceability, and color).

Enzymes provide many of the same benefits as chemical dough improvers, but can provide a clean label option.

Dough improvers include reducing agents (e.g., L-cysteine and metabisulfite) which increase extensibility and oxidizing agents (e.g., azodicarbonamide and potassium bromate) which increase dough strength and gas retention. Emulsifiers are another type of dough improver and can keep bread soft over time (e.g., monoglycerides) or increase dough strength which allows the dough to survive the mechanical abuse of processing (e.g., DATEM). Sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL) is an emulsifier that has both anti-staling and dough strengthening properties.

Enzyme-based dough improvers

Another category of dough improvers is enzymes. Enzymes provide many of the same benefits as chemical dough improvers but can provide a clean label option. Often, enzymes are denatured during the baking process and as processing aids, don’t need to be labeled in the finished product. For those that are labeled, the ingredient names are usually shorter and more appealing than those of their chemical counterparts.

Enzymes used as dough improvers work by breaking down some component of the dough such as starch, fiber, protein, or lipids. Most of these enzymes are made through microbial fermentation, either bacterial or fungal. Unlike chemical dough improvers, most enzymes require consistent conditions with good understanding and control of time, temperature, and pH.

Opportunities exist for enzyme use in other baked goods such as cakes, muffins, tortillas, and pizza crusts.

1. Amylases

The most commonly used enzyme in baking is amylase. Amylase converts starch to dextrins, oligosaccharides, and the sugar maltose. Maltose provides a fermentable sugar for the yeast—a critical function before adding sugar to bread became common. Other benefits are improved loaf volume and symmetry, darker crust color, better flavor, and shelf life extension.

2. Proteases

Protease breaks down proteins such as gluten. This reduces mix times, increases dough extensibility and flow, improves gas retention, and produces a darker crust as well as a better crumb grain and texture.

3. Lipases

Lipase breaks down lipids into monoglycerides, diglycerides, and free fatty acids. This increases dough tolerance, improves loaf volume, and allows for a reduction in the use of shortening. Some new lipase ingredients can replace the chemical dough improvers DATEM and SSL.

4. Pentosanases and cellulases

These enzymes work on pentosans and cellulose, fibers that are naturally present in wheat and rye. The result is a softening of the dough and a reduced water absorption capacity, which can allow for a shorter bake time in certain baked goods like crackers.

Other enzymes are available for baking such as phospholipases, oxidases, and xylanases and, in fact, it’s very common to use blends. This helps achieve the best finished product for the current processing conditions. Opportunities exist for enzyme use in other baked goods as well such as cakes, muffins, pizza crusts, and tortillas.

Post time: Oct-17-2019