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The Science Behind a Strong Dough

March 08, 2024

We often don’t think about how much bread goes through during the production process and the damage it can incur. The damage really depends on what the loaf is made of. Some bakers may opt for a cost-effective flour, which can lead to inconsistent and misshapen loaves ultimately resulting in potential food waste and decreased revenues. But there is a solution to keep your costs down while getting the most out of your dough: functional ingredients. Functional ingredients help the dough keep its integrity and taste, from leaving a hot oven to having a long shelf-life in stores and in customers’ homes.

IFF in Motion: Bakery Strengthening Solutions

Functional ingredients: The Key for Industrial Baking

Wheat flour pricing is based on protein and ash content. A flour with higher ash content and lower protein is cost competitive but would get damaged during the production process. So, using a lower protein flour but adding in functional ingredients such as enzymes, emulsifiers and hydrocolloids can help the dough perform the same while also saving costs. Without the functional ingredients, the dough takes too much wear and tear during processing.

What do enzymes do to help the dough?

Enzymes act like a conditioner for the dough. They are a solution that provides process tolerance and consistency in the crumb structure. Enzymes break up fiber content that is inherent in wheat flour to release the water, so the dough does not become starved for water. Water hydrates the gluten proteins so they can develop quickly and efficiently. This helps the dough relax to get through processing. Water is key in industrial baking and can help improve shelf-life too. Then strengthening enzymes help take over during the proofing process all the way to the oven. This allows the bread to remain resilient from oven to packaging and beyond.

Real-Life Customer Challenge – IFF Solution:

A current customer was using one of our enzymatic solutions for strengthening. When we developed the next generation of our enzymes, we reached out to see if it would be a good fit for their product as it met their label-friendly* needs. After trials in IFF facilities as well as in-field testing, the volume increased by around 15%, providing a better height in the loaf. Our customer was happy with the better resilience, stackability and texture of the loaves.

Other Strengthening Options – Emulsifiers:

Emulsifiers, which are sourced from vegetable oils, have a key role in dough conditioning, crumb softening, aeration and foam stability. Emulsifiers can be used in all doughs and are the best option for high butter doughs providing a plump and airy texture with a desired mouthfeel. By using emulsifiers, we can create that indulgent texture when butter or fat is reduced as well. In complex recipes with fruit or grain inclusions, emulsifiers are the preferred choice for maintaining dough stability. 

Not sure whether to choose an enzyme or emulsifier in your next bake? Learn more here.

Water is Key, Hydrocolloids Help:

As mentioned, water is great for dough. It helps condition the dough, along with enzymes and emulsifiers, to improve processing tolerance. To add water and retain water in your dough, you need to include hydrocolloids. They help manage the moisture in your product from the oven to the shelves to create that cravable texture consumers love. They are also great for improving the height of your loaves and work well with enzymes and emulsifiers. Our team’s expertise shines when combining these into one functional system that best fits your formulation needs.

Higher Yield, Less Waste:

Getting a good yield out of bread and producing less waste during manufacturing creates less waste in the overall process. We also offer additional functional products like antimicrobials that help provide a longer shelf-life through distributions, to store and at someone’s home without going bad from mold or staleness.

Your Partner in Dough Strengthening:

At IFF, we customize our offerings to match your unique needs, leveraging our end-to-end portfolio that extends far beyond emulsifiers and enzymes. With a state-of-the-art R&D and application expertise, we’re well equipped to understand how ingredients interact in a baked good formulation and support your needs. Reach out to your account manager or connect with us here for more information on how we can raise the game in baking, together.

*Label-friendly refers to products that have been designed to be used as processing aids