For being present in such low quantities, enzymes can effect big changes in baked foods. Currently, they are gaining interest and use among bakers as an emulsifier replacement, while anti-staling applications continue strong. And because enzymes are viewed as processing aids, they do their jobs while keeping ingredient listings “clean.”

“A cleaner bread label is a highly valued benefit today,” explained Gary Johnson, regional marketing manager, Novozymes North America, Inc., Franklinton, NC. “In addition, the bakery typically reduces its ‘dough strengthening’ costs by 20 to 30% when replacing emulsifiers with lipase enzyme technology.” The company developed Lipopan for this use.

Applications that previously offered only limited scope for enzymes are opening up. “Our most recent ventures are in the sweet goods market,” said Bernie Bruinsma, PhD, technical director, Innovative Cereal Systems, Wilsonville, OR. “We have enzyme-based solutions for additional softness and improved texture for cakes, donuts and similar products.”

A series of recently introduced emulsifiers also promises to replace bromate, azodicarbonamide (ADA) and chemical yeast foods, according to Jan Van Eijk, PhD, research director, Lallemand, Montreal, QC. He also stressed the importance of emerging asparaginase enzymes, which transform the amino acid asparagine into aspartate, thus removing it from possible reactions that result in acrylamide, a harmful substance. Whether addressing new or existing products, the reduction or prevention of acrylamide formation, he said, calls for “pro-active solutions with no impact on process, texture or flavor.”


Replacement of chemical dough conditioners marks a relatively new phase in enzyme use. Lipase enzymes boost the functionality of lipids native to flour and other ingredients such as eggs. Cakezyme, a phospholipase introduced by DSM Food Specialties, hydrolyzes the lecithin in eggs by splitting off the fatty acids. “The resulting lysolecithin has stronger emulsifying properties than lecithin,” stated Michael Buttshaw, vicepresident, sales, enzymes, DSM Food Specialties USA, Inc., Parsippany, NJ. “As a result, egg reduction in the formula is possible, and improved shelf life may also occur. Reduced fat cakes become a very real option.”

Another lipolytic enzyme from DSM, Panamore, exhibits dual action on polar lipids hydrolyzing both phospholipids and galactolipids, according to Mr. Buttshaw. These actions yield lysophospholipids and galacatomonoglycerides. “Such ‘bioemulsifiers’ are able to mimic the effects of diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (DATEM) and sodium stearoyl lactylates (SSL),” he observed.

Refined flour contains a low level, 1 to 2%, of free lipid material, of which the polar lipids play an important role in improving dough stability. Mr. Johnson explained that use of a lipase with activity specific to polar lipids will make these natural flour components even more polar, thus stabilizing the gas cell structure of the dough in the same fashion as strengthening emulsifiers. “The amount of emulsifier that can be replaced depends on bread type, flour quality and the baking process used,” he said. “Many bakers have been able to replace 100% of their strengthening emulsifiers.” Enzyme dough conditioners allow bakers to continue to manufacture products on the same equipment and at the same line speeds, according to Alan Head, project manager R&D, bakery division, Watson, Inc., West Haven, CT. “These systems enable the manufacturer to present a cleaner label to the consumer,” he said. “When these enzyme systems are combined with natural mold inhibitors and other minor formulation adjustments, the bakery foods can wear an ‘all natural’ label.”

Labeling of enzymes on finished product packaging is a non-issue because they are classified as processing aids. All enzymes are proteins, so post-baking chemical analysis cannot separate them from other proteinaceous components. The heat of baking denatures enzymes just as it does other proteins, breaking these very large molecules into smaller units of amino acids.


Extended shelf life (ESL) products would not be possible without the development of enzymes with highly specific, highly targeted activities. Continuing development efforts enhance these applications. Such is the case with G4, a new amylase enzyme from Danisco. “The results obtained with G4 amylase all confirm that it is currently the most effective anti-staling enzyme around,” stated Anne Brown, Danisco’s regional business director for food and beverage enzymes in North America, based at New Century, KS.

G4 modifies wheat starch during baking, but other flour components including proteins and arabinoxylans also play roles in the staling process. So the company incorporates its G4 in an enzyme complex with several activities dedicated to improving fresh-keeping properties in specific bakery products. This innovative approach enabled Danisco to introduce Grindamyl POWERFresh for bread products and Grindamyl POWERFlex for tortillas.

Mono- and diglycerides are well-accepted crumb softeners and shelf life extenders, yet as Mr. Johnson pointed out, Novozyme’s Novamyl maltogenic amylase extends freshness over a far longer time. “If a baker wants to make an all-natural loaf of bread,” he observed, “the effect of the mono- and diglycerides may be achieved through using a combination of Novamyl, polar lipase and xylanase.”

Taking its goal to be natural applications, Watson developed its Mighty Soft line, a combination of enzyme dough conditioning and ESL systems. Available alone or in combination, these enzymes are offered in premeasured Sol-U-Packs, easily scalable bakery preblends or bases, according to Mr. Head.


Often bakery formulas call for multiple functional ingredients, a situation that can result in costly redundancy. Formula optimization through use of selected enzymes will, as Dr. Van Eijk noted, reduce the need for emulsifiers and cut gluten and egg requirements, all the while saving costs.

Caravan Ingredients recently introduced a suite of multifunctional enzyme-based dough conditioners and shelf life extenders. One, Strong Do 100, can replace approximately 30% of the vital wheat gluten in a formulation. Another, Cakesoft, extends the shelf life of cakes, particularly useful for single-serve cake products including vend packs, as well as angel cakes and donuts. “The relatively high pH, sugar and fat content in cakes have been somewhat of a limitation for enzyme use,” explained Troy Boutte, PhD, director, R&D, Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, KS. “However, Cakesoft employs the latest enzyme technology to overcome these issues resulting in cakes with exceptionally good eating quality and greatly extended shelf life.”

An enzymatic shelf life extender, Fridge Soft, is particularly interesting, according to Dr. Boutte. “It was originally designed to improve shelf life of refrigerated yeast-raised bread products,” he said. “However, since launching the product, we have discovered a whole range of applications including decreased wrinkling of buns (‘crow’s feet’), improved hinges on hot dog/hoagie buns, greatly improved flavor and even the capability to reduce bake time.”

The extender has also been successful in holding down the drying effect seen when adding inclusions such as seeds, grains, dried fruits and so forth. “This is not staling,” Dr. Boutte explained, “but rather a transfer of water from the crumb to the inclusion, resulting in poor eating quality.” The enzyme product also slows the drying that results from storing buns under heat lamps and has allowed some bakers to switch from frozen distribution of baked products to refrigerated methods.

Dr. Boutte also noted that multifunctional enzyme-based dough conditioners such as Caravan Ingredients’ Redox All Natural, Pristine 1 and Strong Do All Natural Xtra, which are intended for general use, can make clean-label baked foods or work in combination with traditional dough conditioners to provide additional tolerance to flour changes and processing conditions and greater volume.


When working with enzyme suppliers, bakers should expect to see performance claims documented by bake lab data, consumer-specific testing, demonstrations and/or in-plant trials, as well as analyses of startups, costs, benefits and marketing features, according to Lallemand’s Dr. Van Eijk.

At Caravan Ingredients’ new bakery innovation center, the company strives to understand what is going on not only at the level of readily observed phenomena but also at the molecular level. Dr. Boutte described investment in staff and scientific instruments, dedicated to collaborative product development efforts. “We are trying to connect the theoretical with the practical to create a benefit for our customers,” he said.
Enzyme applications must not only be science-based but also bakeryproven, according to Mr. Head. The R&D program at Watson covers bench testing and an in-house bake shop. “These enzyme systems have extensive field testing throughout the Watson customer base,” he said.

Suppliers work hard to put together enzyme blends with specific functionalities. “We know that bakeries often find it difficult to handle enzymes,” Ms. Brown said. “By developing blends including enzymes and, where required, products from our emulsifier and hydrocolloid range, we can meet bakery needs in one product. So bakeries can count on one easy dose to provide the specific functionality required.”


With so many new enzymes introduced for bakery applications in recent years, bakers can expect even more to come. “We believe that the overall trends to clean label and all natural are going to continue,” Dr. Bruinsma said. This means removal of emulsifiers and chemical oxidation ingredients, without impairment to product quality as defined by the consumer. “Bakers must still be able to control well their own operations,” he noted. “Enzymes operate best under controlled time and temperature. If this is not done, bakeries may struggle with full adoption of enzyme technology.”

“When we design enzymes, we always have a clear picture of what we want them to do. We know what specific functionality we are looking for,” Ms. Brown said. Citing the example of products inspired by the health and wellness trend, she identified the challenges of producing high-fiber and whole-grain breads. “While the addition of healthy fiber to bread is typically associated with low bread volume and a tougher texture, Danisco is adept at putting together just the right combination of enzymes and other functional ingredients,” she stated. “These optimised blends ensure high-fiber and whole-grain breads with similar volume, texture and softness to white bread — all essentials for high consumer appeal.”

Improvements in the application of today’s amylases, proteases, xylanases, cellulases, lipases, oxidases and transglutaminase continue to be made, according to Dr. Boutte. “It takes years to know how these blends work across several crop years,” he observed. “We do lab trials to test combinations, but the best information comes from the ‘trial by fire’ in actual field testing.

“So my final recommendation would be that if a bakery has been using the same products for many years they should take a look at some of the newer formulations,” Dr. Boutte continued. “Our newest formulations are more complex and offer a wider range of functionalities that tend to smooth out process variations over time. A little extra expense will result in significant overall savings.”