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Enzymes play key role in shelf life – BakingBusiness.com

Source: Kemin Food Technologies
Lesaffre Corp. partnered with C+R Research in 2020 to learn more about what consumers are looking for on ingredient lists. The survey of bread buyers showed that more than half (56%) read nutrition labels/ingredients carefully before buying, with nearly three-quarters (74%) willing to switch brands for more in-depth product information. Nearly two-thirds (65%) seek out the shortest ingredient lists. Hard-to-pronounce and chemical names are not considered clean. Unfortunately, this applies to many ingredients essential to commercial-scale production of breads and other baked goods, including standbys for extending shelf life like calcium propionate, DATEM and SSL.
Lesaffre’s shelf life-extending ingredients include clean label antimicrobial agents for preventing mold growth. There are also enzymes that positively impact the textural properties of the crumb by maintaining or increasing softness, moistness and resilience.
“Our anti-staling and antimicrobial blends have increased the shelf life and softness of commercial bread from 14 to 30 days and created donuts that stay fresh for twice as long,” said Sherrill Cropper, PhD, new product development lab manager and bakery formulation specialist, Lesaffre.
Anti-staling enzyme-based ingredients help slow the onset of starch’s retrogradation. This is a natural process that occurs after baking when the two main components of starch — amylose and amylopectin — undergo a recrystallization process. When this happens, the crumb goes through textural changes, making the bread drier. The crumb can become crumbly, causing bread slices to tear when manipulated, Dr. Cropper pointed out.
“Enzymes can cut down starch into smaller dextrins, which prevents the starch from recrystallizing in the same way,” she said. “This, in turn, helps to maintain the softness and allows bread to stay fresher for a longer period of time. Our newest softness ingredient was developed as a multi-purpose enzyme blend to improve short-term softness and, more specifically, serve as an alternative for mono- and diglycerides that are often added to provide short-term softness to bread.”
The blend can also be used to replace SSL, DATEM and vital wheat gluten, she said, as it can improve machinability, strength and volume. This improver blend has been used in pan breads, hot dog buns and hamburger buns.
Enzyme technology is constantly improving as new ingredients are being discovered even today.
“A new generation of enzymes has been discovered in some of the most amazing locations on Earth,” said Michael Gleason, senior product manager, bakery at Puratos. “While exploring the Hunan Forest in Southern China, scientists discovered an enzyme responsible for breaking down plant material into soft, moist elements that liberate nutrients, which then nourish new life.”
The company used the enzyme in the development of a recently launched improver designed to make bread softer. They are also label-friendly.
“Most of our solutions are simply labeled as ‘wheat flour, enzymes,’ ” said Michael Kime, research and development manager, patisserie mixes, Puratos. “Since enzymes are denatured during the baking process, our customers have the flexibility of choosing whether to include enzymes on their final labels.”
Mr. Kime added that Puratos has stretched the shelf life for sweet goods in open-air display cases from 8 hours to 36 hours and added three months of shelf life to packaged snack cakes.
AB Mauri’s clean label anti-staling enzymes can enable a shelf life of 30 to 60 days. These enzyme systems are most commonly used in yeast-raised baked goods but are also effective in chemically leavened products.
“The enzyme systems work primarily by reducing crystallization of the amylopectin portion of the wheat starch,” said Troy Boutte, vice president-innovation and bakery ingredients at the company.
Corbion offers customized enzyme solutions for all types of baked goods. The company also has clean label ferments to control mold growth.
“Our shelf life-improving enzyme solutions are synergistic blends comprising a variety of amylases to modify starch during the baking process to slow down starch retrogradation and produce baked products that are soft, resilient and fresh throughout the desired shelf life,” said Jesse Stinson, director of research, development and applications, Corbion. “We have a variety of ferments that can be labeled as natural flavor, cultured sugar or natural flavor and vinegar. The shelf life of yeast-raised products, for example, can be extended for up to three weeks using this technology.”
Kemin also markets an extensive portfolio of ingredients specific to the baking and snack industries. This includes batch packs, premixes, emulsifiers and enzyme blends for tortillas, flatbreads and baked goods. One of the enzyme blends helps prevent retrogradation by breaking down components of the dough, such as fiber, lipid, protein or starch.
“Our newly developed cultured dextrose product can be used in breads, rolls, flatbreads and tortillas,” said Art Posch, platform development manager, bakery, Kemin Food Technologies. “It can be used as a 1:1 replacement for synthetic calcium propionate in all types of yeast-raised products where a clean label, non-GMO solution is needed. It comes in both liquid and dry forms.”
This article is an excerpt from the September 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Extended Shelf Life, click here.
The food industry came together to collaborate and connect with each other at IFT FIRST, held July 16-19 in Chicago. The annual event and expo featured the latest solutions in the food industry as well as educational sessions, networking and much more.

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