Vital wheat gluten is a common ingredient that industrial bakers rely on to keep dough moving through the production process. It strengthens dough made with weaker flours so that it can withstand the forces that equipment exerts on it. This reserve ingredient, however, succumbed early to supply chain pressures, becoming scarce and skyrocketing in price.
“All bakers face the same constraints,” said Mark Zielonka, National R&D Product Manager, BreadPartners. “All bakers are now under an unspoken edict: adapt or die. We need to find ways to offer ingredients of equal or better quality at a better price.
In response, some bakers are looking for ways to use vital wheat gluten to ensure their doughs can still pass production with the same quality and consistency their customers expect. There are several strategies to achieve this. Bakers can switch to a higher quality flour: a high protein and strong integrated flour. Or bakers can turn to enzyme-based dough conditioners.
“Enzyme-based dough conditioners can provide clean labeling solutions that will give bread dough the strength and tolerance that gluten provides, leading to great breads with good skip texture. oven and crumb,” said Sean Hart, R&D Manager, Puratos.
Standing in the gap
Bakers can use dough conditioners to reduce their reliance on added gluten in several ways. They can optimize the functionality of gluten naturally present in flour, or even in added gluten. Dough conditioners can also enhance the other components of wheat flour to compensate for the difference in functionality from lost gluten.
Optimizing existing gluten in a formulation can unlock some of its functionality. Without water, gluten cannot fully activate. If a dough is not well hydrated, bakers can add gluten where they don’t need it, or more than they should. By properly moisturizing the dough, bakers can reduce the amount of gluten or even eliminate it altogether. There are dough conditioning enzymes for this.
“Gluten needs to be fully hydrated to get the maximum effect while interestingly the fiber in dough is not needed to make bread,” explained Troy Boutte, PhD, Vice President, Innovation. , AB Mauri North America. “If a dough is not well hydrated, we add xylanases or cellulases to release the water from the fiber to the gluten. By transferring water to gluten, we can achieve a great improvement in gluten performance.
Dough-conditioning enzymes also act on other aspects of wheat flour – starch, pentosans, proteins or lipids – to compensate for the loss of gluten.
“One could also choose to add additional substrates to the dough to enzymatically modify or generate molecules with new functionalities,” said Luc Casavant, applications director at Lallemand Baking.
Which enzyme, which combination of enzymes, or which substrates will largely depend on the functionality of the gluten that bakers are trying to replace. Gluten does a lot of work in a formulation, but some applications may rely more on gluten for its extensibility than its elasticity.
“Gluten provides that stretch and shrinkage; it matters more in some products,” explained Tess Brensing, Senior Product Manager, Functional Systems, Corbion. “A tortilla, for example, needs to be able to squeeze and not have sharp edges while still retaining that chewiness. However, a bun or roll application requires additional strength due to the inclusion of whole wheat flour or lower grade flour.
Knowing what gluten does specifically is essential.
“To replace the functionality of gluten, bakers could choose a dough conditioner that provides additional bulk, improves machinability, and provides strength and tolerance for production, as well as rheological properties of the dough,” said said Sherrill Cropper, PhD, head of the New Product Development Laboratory. , bakery formulator, Lesaffre.
Yes, gluten brings a lot of functionality to a formulation. Dough conditioners can make one, several, or all of them.
“It depends on the product you’re making and the results you’re looking to achieve,” said Matt Keyser, Northeast Sales, Brolite Products. “At Brolite, we will customize a dough conditioner to meet the needs of the baker.”
When looking at enzyme-based dough conditioners, bakers can expect them to have an oxidizing component – often ascorbic acid and some enzymes – and a stabilizing component. These components work together to recreate the magic of vital wheat gluten.
“Oxidizing agents create more disulfide bonds from the flour during mixing for elasticity and volume while stabilizing components help strengthen the dough matrix by creating a stronger gas/solid interface between the bubbles of gas and dough matrix which are less likely to break down as the dough expands and continues down the line,” said Ben Reusser, senior research development technologist, Cain Food Industries.
The most common enzymes found in these systems, said Anita Srivastava, PhD, CFS, senior technical service manager, bakery, Kemin Food Technologies, Americas, are glucose oxidase, xylanases and lipases. Each of them performs a different function. Glucose oxidase strengthens gluten structure while xylanases are used to improve hydration by breaking down the arabinoxylan matrix.
The phospholipases will help stabilize the dough and maintain the cellular structure of the finished product.
“By working with their ingredient manufacturers, customers can tailor the exact combination and quantities to achieve the desired results with respect to finished product attributes, processing equipment and processing environment,” said Mr Zielonka. “Usually using a carefully selected paste conditioner provides all the strength and forgiveness required for most applications.”
This article is an excerpt from the March 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on batter conditioners, click here.