3 April 2012 --- The flour treatment specialist Mühlenchemie has developed a new enzyme preparation capable of prolonging the shelf-life of industrially produced bread by up to 15 days. Alphamalt Fresh prevents recrystallization of the starch which has gelatinized during baking and thus keeps the crumb soft for a longer period. This reduces the amount of bread that becomes stale.
Consumers want food to be fresh, and the trade endeavours to meet this demand by ensuring a long shelf-life at consistent quality. In the case of bakery products the decisive attributes are appearance, taste, smell and crispness of the crust, but a further important aspect of quality is the elasticity and softness of the crumb. Since the structure of baked goods changes over time, it becomes harder during transportation and storage. The main reason for this is recrystallization of the amylopectin content of the starch that has gelatinized in the baking process.
Whereas the smaller amylose molecules migrate out of the starch grain into its surroundings and re-crystallize soon after baking, the larger amylopectin molecules initially remain in their non-crystalline form. At low temperatures, especially, the amylopectin crystallizes; above all, the coiled parts of the molecule “tighten up” again. The subsequent hardening of the crumb is ascribed to the firm binding of water by the crystallized amylopectin.
Alphamalt Fresh breaks down the parts of the amylopectin that can crystallize. Moreover the resulting short-chain dextrins are able to interact with the remaining coiled structures of the starch and thus inhibit its crystallization. If Alphamalt Fresh is combined with emulsifiers or enzymes that optimize the volume of the bread and the bread structure as it appears immediately after baking, an even longer shelf-life of up to three weeks can be achieved.
Prolonging the shelf-life of baked goods can increase the profitability of an industrial bakery, since it meets the demands of the trade for high-quality but durable bread and reduces the return of products that have gone stale.