Dough conditioning for the clean label crowd
As consumers continue to alter their perception of what constitutes health and seek simpler sounding ingredients, suppliers aiming for a cleaner label are replacing dough conditioners with enzymatic systems.
Consumers are reading ingredient labels up close, demanding fewer additives and preservatives in their baked products. In response, dough conditioner manufacturers have introduced a number of offerings based on enzymes that act in the same way as traditional dough conditioners, but allow bakers to boast cleaner labels.
Today’s dough conditioners and enzymatic formulations can also help bakers reduce the amount of gluten in their finished products, as well as streamline and simplify the baking process.
By far the biggest trend conditioner manufacturers have witnessed of late is the move toward clean, or natural eating, says Ralph Besand, regional manager for Cain Food Industries Inc., Decatur, Ill.
Bakers are responding by reducing the amount of ingredients with difficult-to-pronounce names that appear on their labels, says Tom Lehmann, director, bakery assistance, AIB International, Manhattan, Kan.
“Consumers are asking, ‘Why are you putting chemicals in my bread? If I can’t pronounce it, why should I eat it?’” Lehmann says.
Such questions mirror a growing trend toward clean eating, which involves eating more fruits, vegetables and other foods with few chemical additives and preservatives.
Additives such as emulsifiers and dough conditioners are commonly found on lists of unacceptable ingredients published by retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.
But even without the list in hand, the clean method of eating calls for close-up label inspection, meaning consumers may associate “chemical-sounding words” with preservatives and additives they don’t want in their food–even if those ingredients are benign and necessary to maintain shelf life or retard molding, Lehmann says.
“People say, ‘Dyhydrous oxide, why would I want to eat that?’” Lehmann says. “But the answer is, why wouldn’t they want to? It’s just another word for water, but it sounds awful chemically.”
Regardless, clean eating proponents negatively associate with ingredient names that sound like chemicals. In turn, this has prompted many makers of dough conditioners to introduce products composed of enzymes that don’t survive the baking process, and thus do not need to be listed on the ingredient label.
The United States Food and Drug Administration considers enzymes to be processing aids that need not be listed in the ingredient statement on the package. These enzymes can be used to offer an oxidative effect similar to the ascorbic acid or potassium bromate they replace and are destroyed during baking, according to Lehmann.
Enzyme systems as conditioners
In response to the clean label trend, Cain has introduced its CLDC-Clean label dough conditioner, which allows a baker to remove existing dough conditioners like diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (DATEM), or remove sodium and calcium stearoyl lactylate (SSL and CSL) types of oxidants, and replace them with enzymes like phospholipase and organic compounds like ascorbic acid to provide a clean label, Besand says.
A phospholipase is an enzyme that hydrolyzes phospholipids into fatty acids and other lipophilic substances. Enzymes like lipase can also be used to replace dough conditioners, according to Novozymes A/S of Bagsvaerd, Denmark.
Though enzymes have been long used in the industry, they’ve come into their own within the last several years, Besand says. Enzymes were first used in the baking industry nearly 20 years ago to help extend shelf life. They’ve since become an industry mainstay, as use has expanded from shelf life extension to a range of other areas.
“Enzymes are really the savior of our industry today to extend shelf for up to 30 days in some cases,” Besand says. “But you’re not replacing with just straight enzymes; rather, you’re using a cocktail of different compounds. You can take out two or three or four different dough conditioners and add one enzymatic cocktail.”
For instance, ascorbic acid also is included in Cain’s clean label conditioner. And many replacements include calcium sulfate. These materials work alongside the enzymes replace the emulsifiers and strengtheners such as DATEM and SSL or CSL and help to improve the handling characteristics of the dough, Besand says.
No one enzyme or replacement product will be a magic bullet for bakers, says Ken Skrzypiec, eastern vice president of sales and director of technical services for Brolite Products Inc., Streamwood, Ill. “It’s a combination of listening to what the customer is looking for and putting something together for them.”
Cutting Costs with Enzymes
Although replacement rates differ among suppliers, the amount of enzymes used in place of conditioners is usually much lower than the material being replaced, which can save money.
“The cost savings come not because the enzyme is less expensive, but because what you take out is expensive,” Besand says. “If you take out two or three different dough conditioners and replace them with one enzyme you can save a lot of money.”
Many suppliers will work with bakers to help find the right enzymatic formulation for their needs that may go beyond clean label, Skrzypiec says.
“We do have clean label products, but we may run tests with customers who are also looking for a little extra shelf life or who are looking for a strengthening or reducing agent,” he says. “We may have to tweak a formulation a little to give them what it is they’re looking for because, whether it’s hamburger bun or a hard roll or flat bread, they may have different needs we can help them with.”
These types of customized systems allow bakers to add only one product to their formulation instead of several.
“Bakers are looking to consolidate their operations to make their product and processes simpler–not better or worse–just simpler,” Skrzypiec says. “And one of the ways is to have the conditioning system that is everything they’re looking for. That way, they don’t have to worry about mistakes or maintain an inventory of a bunch of different products.”
Some supplier formulations can reduce costs for bakers by reducing gluten levels within baked products, Besand says.
For instance, Cain offers two formulations that can reduce the amount of gluten from 1 percent to 4 percent, he says. When used together, the products reduce gluten by the maximum 4 percent.
The resulting baked goods aren’t gluten free, but with gluten costs rising, bakers can save money on ingredients in their formulations,.
“Some formulas have 10 to 12 percent gluten. If we can take out 4 percent you can save anywhere from 35 to 55 cents per pound of flour,” Besand says.
The difference in cost savings comes because bakers are also reducing the amount of water needed when reducing gluten, thus also changing their costing scenario depending on the product, he says.
Bakers have to approach the trend toward clean labeling with caution or, in their quest for a clean label, they may introduce mold or other harmful agents into their product, Lehmann says.
He cautions bakers who seek a cleaner label to work closely with their suppliers to ensure their new formulations–that may include enzymatic systems–will function as needed in the final product while maintaining shelf life and keeping the product safe for consumers.
“Ingredients are more important today than they have been in the past, and a lot of ingredients have gotten a bad reputation because we lump them all together as additives and say ‘those are nasty things,’” Lehmann says. “But you have to weigh using an additive.
“If you’re using an additive that gives you the mold-free shelf life, weigh that against your consumer having to eat the bread within four days or it’ll go moldy,” he says.
Reducing the additive calcium propionate–which is a mold and rope inhibitor–in a blend could lead to an outbreak of Bacillus
mesentericus, or rope, in the bakery. The bakery would have to be rigorously cleaned with a vinegar formula to get rid of the rope spores, which can cause ongoing spoilage.
“So you have to be careful pulling out and putting in additives, knowing what the effect will be,” he says.
Skrzypiec emphasizes bakers should be sure to thoroughly test their clean label formulations before introducing them to the market.
“Our industry is changing and changing fast. We have to be on top of those changes and new innovations in our industry, that’s just what we do,” Besand says.
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