Adding blends of seeds, nuts and grains to dough to produce whole grain breads and rolls generates processing hassles. New dough enhancers and conditioners offer solutions.
As consumers’ palates grow more adventurous, commercial bakers are reaching out to satisfy them by adding exotic blends of seeds, grains and nuts to breads and rolls. These added ingredients can take a toll on processing. If all that was needed was a hard, chewy German-style loaf, it would be no problem. But, while consumers seem to want healthful bread, they still want it to be reminiscent of the fluffy white bread they have eaten since childhood.
“When producing products with whole grains, one consideration would be the use of a strengthening system, such as an oxidizer, due to the fact that during mixing, grain particles tend to destroy the gluten network,” says Craig Baumner, new product development manager, Fleischmann’s Yeast, a division of AB Mauri Food Inc., Fenton, Mo.
When grain blends are added to doughs, the grain creates holes in the gluten structure and weakens the dough. No matter the grain; cracked grains, whole seeds, rye flakes or oatmeal, the damage is the same. “Because you are chopping up the dough, you can lose some of the expansion caused by the yeast leavening system,” Baumner says. A strengthening system fully utilizes the leavening provided by the yeast, which results in a whole grain bread with higher volume and more open grain, he adds.
Many bakers boost the gluten in their fomulas to strengthen the dough, which can lead to additional problems. MGP Ingredients Inc., Atchison, Kan., offers wheat protein isolates that address the problem. “Protein isolates help by contributing to the extensibility characteristics of the dough,” says Steve Ham, director of marketing, specialty ingredients. “This is important because when you add large amounts of gluten to boost structure, it can become tough to machine. Our Arise line of protein isolates works with the gluten to provide the balance in the needed dough strength.”
The key is to use protein isolates in conjunction with wheat gluten, not as a replacement, says MGP’s Topher Dohl, bakery applications technologist. “Arise products are typically used at 1 percent, based on the flour weight,” he says. “The key benefits are bake time reduction and dough extensibility. The baker won’t get a ‘bucky’ dough. Arise helps reduce gassing and enhances processing tolerance.”
Another area of concern is oxidation as whole grain doughs have a naturally weak structure, says Dr. Rick Jackson, vice president of product development, Caravan Ingredients, Totowa, N.J. “We’ve found that our standard improvers work well with whole grain products,” he says. “Bakers get more success using an improver that has a higher level of strengthening emulsifier. CSL, SSL and Datems are very beneficial.”
Water absorption also is an issue. All grains, particularly large granules, gradually absorb water. This leads to dry products as the grain absorbs the water from the crumb.
To balance water absorption, Jackson recommends the typical triad of emulsifiers, oxidation and enzymes. “Strengthening enzymes are more beneficial in this case because they act slowly. They don’t put as much stress on the bread early on, but again, you have to be careful of oxidation,” he says.
Caravan also offers pre-cooked Super Soaked Grains. These grain blends have already absorbed all the water they can, so they do not affect the dough. “It’s not an actual conditioner, but it’s hard to separate one from the other when it’s the result that counts,” Jackson says. “We sell three different standard grain blends, and also get frequent requests for specialized blends.”
Originally used primarily for shelf life extension, new enzyme conditioning blends can be easily adjusted to accommodate the extra weight of whole grain and mixed grain breads.
Tony Oszlanyi, bakery consultant for Wright Group, Crowley, La., says enzymes are needed only in small amounts for functionality. Usage is ppm (parts per million) as opposed to fractions of a percent based on flour weight. The Wright Dough line of enzyme dough conditioners is used at 2 to 4 ozs. per cwt (hundredweight) of flour when typical dough conditioners are used at 1 percent to 2 percent per cwt of flour. This translates into a savings of as much as 60 percent in addition to less inventory.
Innovative Cereal Systems (ICS), Wilsonville, Ore., also supplies enzymes and enzyme blends for dough conditioning. Nicole Rees, applications development specialist, works in ICS’s R&D department and studies the synergies between enzymes to develop the specific blends for individual processes and products.
“We have a wide standard product range, but we specialize in creating custom solutions,” she says. “We find that bakers get the best bang for their buck if enzymes are tailored to exactly what they’re doing. Enzymes can be an amazing processing aid. Our new product, Fermentase G-300, is a selected enzyme blend designed to help dough processing by adding some strength and process tolerance to dough without having to constantly add more gluten. Some bakeries have actually been able to cut back 50 percent on their gluten use,” she adds.
Bakers need to understand the outcome they are looking for before they select a dough improver, Baumner says. “Is the baker trying to extend shelf life, improve volume, etc.?”
For example, many of Fleischmann’s customers want to produce a natural product with a clean label. “So, we created ABM 25 Natural Dough Conditioner to respond to this trend. ABM 25 is an enzyme-based oxidant system designed to produce bread without chemical oxidizers, such as potassium bromate or azodicarbonamide (ADA),” Baumner adds. “The maturity of the dough is enhanced, resulting in improved process tolerance and quality of the end-baked product.”
The baker’s perspective
Rod Radalia, technical services director for Aunt Millie’s, Fort Wayne, Ind., is continually looking for the right combination of natural conditioners specifically designed to meet the challenges of whole grain bread and buns. “We use dough strengtheners one at a time and in different combinations. We are always playing with this to try to figure out what works best,” he says. “Of course, it depends on the bread. As the whole grain ratio goes up, if you do not add conditioners, then you need to add more wheat gluten, which has it’s own issues. Fortunately, we have a sponge and dough system where we’re able to put a lot of grains into the sponge side and hydrate them before we mix them. It puts less damage on the gluten structure,” he says.
Kroger was faced with a different type of processing challenge, says Joel Payne, senior scientist, corporate food technology division, Kroger Bakeries, Cincinnati. Two of its five fresh bakeries have liquid sponge systems. The drawback is that the systems are set up for white flour sponge and would require a complete flush to change over to whole grain. This is impractical from both labor and cost perspectives.
In those plants, Kroger runs no-time dough with no bulk fermentation for whole grain breads. The dough is set up with oxidation ingredients, so it will process and act as if it did have the fermentation stage.
“We use enzyme conditioners that are loosely classified as arabinoxylanase. They hydrolyze the fibrous and cellular materials in the bran and the germ components of the whole wheat flour,” Payne says. “If we didn’t add arabinoxylanase to the dough, we would have to add a lot of incremental water to make it malleable enough to process it on our machinery. Although the water would make it easier to process, it would also make it more fragile in proofing and baking to the point where we would have a much higher probability of ‘losing’ the dough.”
A “one solution fits all” tops Radalia’s conditioner wish list. “I want a product that I can use as a one-step, single formula dough conditioner for all multi-grain breads rather than always playing around with different blends and amounts,” he says. “If we just had one for white and one that would work for all the wheat and multi-grains, that would save a lot of time and money.”
The one-stop answer isn’t quite here yet, but suppliers continue to work on it. Modern dough conditioners in pre-mixed blends for specific products already provide a way to process many whole grain breads almost as easily as a white pan loaf. Many suppliers are ready to work with bakers to create exactly what is needed. So, as the demand for variety in whole grain products grows, so do the solutions that allow bakers to satisfy it.