The Fresh Loaf

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Chemicals to prevent bread staling.

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hammy's picture
hammy

Chemicals to prevent bread staling.

What are the chemicals used to prevent staling in commercial bread? For example, the Wonder Bread that remains soft and moist for 3 days or more. How does these chemicals work? 

 

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Well, sodium nitrate, calcium propionate, disodium EDTA, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate.

You could have searched google for it you know. Most people here on TFL would frown at the mere mention of such chemicals. It is those chemicals and flavor deficiency in commercial bread, afterall, that brought people to this site.

 

shiggity's picture
shiggity

That's not why *I* came to this site.  I was looking for chemicals to add to homemade bread to make it softer.  So I guess your statement is false!

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

The process of acquiring and applying the chemicals necessary for the end result you seek is simply beyond the grasp of the ordinary home baker.   These are carefully formulated recipes that utilize these chemicals to their greatest possible extent under conditions unlike any home kitchen.  Armies of professional scientists have devoted their lives and careers to creating the very products discussed in this thread.

The simple cost effective  alternative would be to buy a loaf of something similar to Wonder bread.

shiggity's picture
shiggity

They have devoted their lives to the research and development of these chemicals and I seek merely to learn and apply, or if apropos, apply a substitute, which I believe is not outside the scope of a dedicated home baker who has access to the wonders of the Internet.

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi hammy,

All the chemicals work by creating a more acidic environment in the baked bread.   This prevents bacterial growth.   Our alternatives?...

Funny how this has been done just as effectively using natural levains over many hundreds of years!   The same means  that Khalid and I and others here at TFL readily espouse.

Best wishes

Andy

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

If your going to put your own time and effort into making your own bread, I would think you would want to improve on what you can get from them (I wonder how they can get away with calling it bread?) Once you start using sourdough you will never consider those chemicals again. I leave my bread out unrefrigerated and if it doesn't get eaten (not likely) it will still not be stale a week later. It might be different from the first day, but not stale.

hammy's picture
hammy

Hi Mebake & pH & everyone else reading this,

I want to know the chemicals used to prevent bread staling. What I meant by bread staling is the bread getting rock-hard because of retrodegradation (starch molecules absorbing moisture and crystalising).  I have tried Google, and I am not sure that I got the right answers. The results that come up shows preservatives (anti-mold & anti-bacterial stuff) like calcium propionate and sodium benzoate. What is anti-mold stuff doing to prevent retrodegradation? How does that even work?

I understand that home bakers tend to shy away from these chemicals due to potential health risks and whatnot. But it seems that it's good to know what these chemicals and how they function, if only to replicate their effects to prevent home-baked bread from staling, perhaps using similar but safer chemicals. 

 

 

 

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi hammy,

The best way to prevent retrogradation of starch is to keep the starch in a gel form, rather than allowing it to revert to its crystalline state.   The most effective way to do this, as far as I'm aware is to keep the bread warm.   Hence why bread should never be stored in a fridge.

Best temperature to prevent retrogardation? 50*C!

Obviously this is impractical, as it simply creates a food safety nightmare.

Whilst all the chemicals listed by Khalid are means to preserve bread, they are not technically anti-staling agents, which I see is the focus of the question.

The most effective anti staling agents currently used are the crumb-softening emulsifiers.   There are numerous enzymes now appearing in bread, all of which have specific function, and some of these will be aimed at anti-staling for sure.   They are rampant in UK mass-produced bread, so I'd be surprised if they are not routinely added to similar products in the US and other industrial nations.   Trouble is that they are classed as "processing aids", so the manufacturers are not legally-bound to declare which enzymes have been used

Hope this is a more helpful reply than my earlier one

Best wishes

Andy

ps pH is a reference to measurement of acidity/alkalinity, not my name or username.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Further to Andy's wonderful reply, i'd add that butter / oils (fats in general) in combination with eggs (natural emulsifiers) will be nearly as potent as soy licithin, or other commerial emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are a class of chemicals that help fat adhere to water, thereby retaining moisture in the finished bread and keeps it soft.

In fact, Fats such as butter and oil were used for ages long before commercial additives were introduced. Commercial Bread industry aims at reducing the cost of making bread that has an extended shelf life (Butter , and oil are expensive ingredients for Bread industry), by using a chemical derived from soy beans and adding it to cheaper fats such as hydrogenated oils.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I've been using lecithin in bread for months but I didn't notice the slightest improvement in the duration of the softness. I used all percentages between 0.5% and 5% with respect to flour.

Even with eggs, oil, butter and all kinds of fats added the starch retrogradation is always behind the corner. Water roux is much more efficient in this respect.

E471 and E472 are the the emulsifiers used in the industry, with a good spray of alcohol on the slice itself.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Brilliant, Nico! Why didn't i think of that! Water roux, or mash is agreat way to retain moisture in a bread.

In retrospect, sourdough leavened breads, together with butter/oil, will offer the natural substitute that can prolong the freshness of a bread (given that the bread is correctly stored).

hammy's picture
hammy

How do emulsifiers prevent/retard the crystallization of starch molecules? What is water roux? Why is it any more efficient than fat/oil emulsifiers?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello again hammy,

Firstly, I think you probably misunderstand why some bakers here on TFL reject the use of chemicals in bread, as I don't think your analysis above is quite right.   I should explain that whilst I specialise in artisan breads, I have taught baking for some years, and have direct experience working in many different types of bakery, including very large plant baking operations.

When analysing faults in plant bread, if overly-rapid crumb-staling was detected, it would most likely be caused by under-development in the dough.   Industrially produced bread relies on rapid and substantial dough development.   The intensive mixing process induces changes in the dough structure which most home bakers will achieve naturally using fermentation.   This is known as dough rheology, and the changes which occur are essential to produce acceptable bread, and exactly the same, whether we are talking fermentation-induced, energy-induced, or, added chemical [and enzyme]-induced.   In industrially-produced bread, yeast is largely added to produce carbon dioxide to aerate the bread.   The advantage is quite simply the amount of time and space saved.

Under-development will essentially produce a dough which could be described as "green", resulting in a finished loaf which lacks the required volume and manifests an overly-tight crumb structure.   This will then be more prone to overly-rapid staling.

Regarding the role of emulsifiers all of us should consider the text quoted below:

Staling is believed to be due to changes in starch structure during storage. When the starch granules revert from a soluble to an insoluble form, they lose their flexibility; the crumb becomes hard and brittle. For decades, emulsifiers have been used as anti-staling agents. However, they actually have a limited anti-staling effect and are subject to special labelling rules.

By contrast, Novozymes’ bacterial maltogenic alpha-amylases has been found to have a significant anti-staling effect. It modifies the starch during baking at the temperature when most of the starch starts to gelatinise. The resulting modified starch granules remain more flexible during storage. Bread produced with maltogenic alpha-amylase has a far softer and more elastic crumb than bread produced with distilled monoglycerides as emulsifiers.

http://www.biokemi.org/biozoom/issues/516/articles/2309  This is sourced from an Industry publication by Biokemisk Foreing

The implication of the information above is to note how crucial correct oven treatment is when it comes to considering the impacts of staling in the finished loaf.

The only emulsifier I am aware of which is used specifically to positively affect staling is Glycerol Monostearate [GMS], which is starch complexing.   Lecithin is not used in industrial baking.   Datem Esther [E 472 [a-e]] is the most common, used primarily to increase loaf volume, with Stearoyl Lactylate [E481-2] also commonly used, along with GMS [E471], see Nico's comment above.

As explained previously, industrial baking is now heavily reliant on the use of enzymes.   Each enzyme is role specific.   The anti-staling enzyme used is maltogenic amylase-based.   One of the manufacturers of this type of enzyme claim that it has "excellent fresh-keeping properties that is achieved by modifying the wheat flour starch, thereby prolonging crumb softness and elasticity during storage".    [Please excuse me for not divulging my source here]

Probably the most effective ingredient we can use in home baking to influence staling in this respect is enzyme-active soya flour [this means untreated whole soya bean flour].   The problem for some of us is that most soya seems to be subjected to GMO these days, but a certified organic variety should be safe if that is also of concern to anyone reading this.   One should always try to balance the benefits of soya flour by reading Professor Calvel's ideas on bean flour in his book "The Taste of Bread", where he attributes much of the blame to over oxidation caused by excessive use of bean flour and overly intensive mixing, when discussing the decline in French bread quality in the post-war period through to the 1980s.

I would recommend adding soya flour at 1% on flour, and certainly no more than 2%.

Beyond what I've written here if you want to find out more, then any of the books on this google page below will be helpful.   There are few people with greater knowledge of plant baking than Stanley Cauvain; his books are always worth a read.   See: 

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Bread_staling.html?id=SoepQIXp0Q0C

I should point out that these are advanced scientific text books, and their price reflects this.   We have moved into territory way beyond the home baker.   As a reminder, many here believe the best bread is made without resorting to chemicals and added enzymes of any kind, but achieved through understanding and applying carefully controlled but complex natural fermentation procedures and high quality local and simple ingredients.   I hope you will forgive my being so subjective here.

Best wishes

Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi Andy,

do all legumes flours have the same property as unheated soya flour? Soya flour is toasted most of the times, while chickpea flour is much easier to get untreated. I guess you mentioned soya flour because it contains lipase and lipoxygenase that break down the bond between glycerol and fatty acids, effectively producing emulsifiers. Am I correct?

 

Let me quote an extract from the link you posted:

It also reduces the need for addition of emulsifiers like DATEM and SSL that otherwise are commonly added to dough in order to stabilise it. This in turn means that emulsifiers can be removed from the label.

 

so their main concern is having the possibility to remove additives from the label!

Thanks,

  Nico

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,

From what Calvel wrote, the bean flour used in France was fava bean.   I'm sure soya has been adopted by industrial giants, partially at least, as a result of soya being ubiquitous.   The soya flour used in bread is not heat-treated, hence enzymes still intact.

Sorry, I can't answer your question directly, but chick pea flour must share many of the food properties of soya flour, so should at least be an acceptable substitute.   Of course industry most likely prefers soya flour because the genetic tampering may well allow them to accommodate enzymes found in the GMO soya [eg Hemicellulase is derived from the fibrous extremities of GMO soya], as opposed to having to buy expensive powders [and they cost a small fortune, of course!] from the likes of Novozymes. Yes, absolutely,the reason why I mentioned soya flour is the one you stated. Your comment about labelling is so pertinent, and it worries me so few people seem to be aware of what I regard as a complete con. Not being required to list enzymes because they are "processing aids" is utterly unethical...but that's where we are at the moment. Shame on both Governments and food manufacturing companies!

Best wishes to you

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Scary Stuff!

Andy, i never knew enzymes play such a huge part as anti-staling agents.

Thanks, Andy, and Nico.

Makes you wonder what chemicals are hidden in Instant dry yeast.

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

Can there be chemicals hidden in instant dry yeast? I don't think so, unless they genetically alter them to produce new chemicals themselves. I stay away from commercial yeast because it is the poodle dog of flora, if all mankind were to die today it would quickly cease to exist in it's present form  like poodles,  all versions of Frankenstein's monster...

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Khalid,

Bakers' yeast contains all the enzymes needed to complete the zymase process anyway.   The addtives are found in the fat-based coating which protects the dried yeast from any moisture, and controls the rate of dispersion when hydrated.

Best wishes

Andy

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Like amylase in one form or another.  That can help to soften the crumb.  Too much can make the crumb gummy, though.

I believe this softening effect is used to mask the firming of starches during staling, as opposed to actually preventing the process which causes it.  Still, I have to admit that I'm no expert on the use of conditioners to extend shelf life in bread.

-- Dan DiMuzio

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Dan,

Millers in the UK are open about the fact they add amylase..usually from fungal source.   This allows them to sell flour to bakers which will give consistent performance in terms of fermentation rates...so obvious advantages.

It's the other enzymes which are added which we are not told about which are of greater concern to me.   Why are we not told?   "Clean-label" obsession, or paranoid determination to continue to get one over on the buying public?   Or perhaps it's for both reasons.

All good wishes

Andy

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Andy,

I'd agree completely that no additive whatsoever should be used in flour without clear labeling.

The amylase I mentioned above goes beyond the tiny amounts used by millers to balance the fermentation rates of the flour -- these amylase products are added at a bakery specifically as softeners.  I wasn't aware of their use until the past year or so.  Of course, they will almost certainly have a base from either grain or fungus, and can be referred to as "all natural," even if their use isn't really what we'd think of as traditional -- especially when thinking about artisanal breads.

The sad fact is that some large customers want their bread to be crispy-but-soft, dense-but-lofty or all wonder of permutations that can't always be achieved through conventional means.  These weird but technically natural additives are used to try and achieve the customer's stated goals even if traditional baking tells us that the customer's expectations are unrealistic.  Some of the biggest users of these additives might surprise the buying public.

-- Dan DiMuzio

ananda's picture
ananda

That's the problem Dan, isn't it?   Brands which the public trust can use enzymes as additives without declaring them, so the public continue to believe the bread they are buying is as presented on the label...clean; but it isn't, and discovery of enzymes in these products would put many people off buying them.   Chemical additives have to be declared on the label, but using enzymes is a way to producing the kind of bread permutations you mention, but without having to reveal the trickery required to produce the type of bread you describe so well.

I'm aware some bakers add amylase to their flour, though for the life of me I cannot think why.   Surely if you, as a baker, have confidence in your miller, then you would trust him to provide you with a consistent flour as measured by Falling Number?   The miller does the testing on the flour first, he/she should know best.   The amylase you reference as added by bakers are exactly those I referenced in my reply above about Novamyl.

Best wishes

Andy

hammy's picture
hammy

Thank you all, especially Andy, for the comprehensive responses. The enzymes sounds scary, mostly because most people don't understand how it works and the industry's desire to keep it off the label. But what's the big deal anyway since the oven heat probably destroyed all the enzymes. I thought about the possibility of the amylase enzymes coming from non-halal or non-kosher sources, it could be relevant since you say they are of "maltogenic" origins.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

some types of amylase enzymes (if I remember correctly the bacterial one) resist to the baking temperatures and keep on working even when the bread is already packed.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi hammy,

People don't understand how the enzymes work because the manufacturers don't want them to; it's called intellectual property, and, unfortunately it is the death of a knowledgeable craft baking sector.   Many bakers now will simply reach for the telephone and call in an ingredients technologist, or, worse still, reach out for the nearest brightly coloured sachet as a means to solve their latest production difficulties.   So they don't know anything about the science behind baking and are utterly reliant on their ingredients suppliers to keep them right.   Hence the power exercised by large ingredients manufacturers and the seeming impotence of the baking industry.   Working from the bottom up to encourage bakers in the home and at the smaller scale craft and artisan level to re-build the knowledge base seems to me to be the only solution...so thank you for asking the question, as I'm sure the comments in the thread will have been an eye-opener for many reading it.

In theory, you are right that enzymes should be destroyed by the completion of the baking process.   Your use of the word "probably" sums it up for me; that is just not good enough.   And yes, I am in agreement with Nico about the amylase enzymes used for crumb softening "probably" remaining active even after baking.

Hammy it's about trust.   I'm really sorry to say I don't trust industrial food manufacturers.   I've worked in the industry for 25 years now and I'm quite ashamed at having to put this comment out there.   If a manufacturer is adding enzymes to my food, whether or not they are killed off in the manufacturing process, I want to be informed of this.   It's as simple as that.

As far as I'm aware most enzymes are derived from fungal or plant sources, so I'm not sure if that affects halal or kosher status.   Of course some of the plants used have to be from GMO source in order to find the relevant enzyme required..eg. Hemicellulase is extracted from the fibrous outer husk of the GMO soya bean.

Best wishes

Andy

suave's picture
suave

Andy,

People don't understand how enzymes work because it is a complicated subject, requiring understanding of protein structure, biochemistry, kinetics, and the list can go on, all at a level that's above your average college course.  Do you understand how yeasts work?  The internals of it?  Fermentation is done entirely by enzymes, that you probably aware of, but do you know what does what and in which order and how?  I bet that few bakers do, or even care to find out, even though there is a ton of info out there.

But you are right, of course, it is all about trust, and history has shown time and again that given a choice people will choose not to trust science.  So  "probably" becomes not good enough when Hammy says that enzymes are destroyed, but perfectly fine when Nico says that they do.  It took me under 10 minutes to find this plot which shows profile of crumb temperature during baking with activity range of one of the common amylases shown directly on it, and says unequivocally when and at what temperature it is gone.   But almost no one cares to look such things up.  Is it because most people think that the reality is probably in good agreement with their preconceived notions?

 

 

G-man's picture
G-man

It's more likely because where nutrition is concerned, everybody has an agenda, there's a lot of money involved in turning garbage into something you can supposedly eat, and governments are extremely reluctant to do anything that would cause a dip in the profits of food processors and producers even at the expense of public health in nearly every country in the world. To make it worse the science of nutrition is far from established, with new and conflicting information coming out on a regular basis, half of which is instantly discredited, and 90% of the remaining information being discredited only after everyone has changed their diets and habits accordingly. People don't trust the science because the majority of the science can't be trusted and it's very difficult for normal everyday folks to weed out the good sources from the bad sources.

Food is of great concern to everybody because everybody needs it to survive, so yes, people will get very passionate about what they eat and extremely paranoid of anything they don't trust because their lives are absolutely on the line.

suave's picture
suave

Here is classic picture:

The problem is, when people talk about "science" they refer to something that lies in the range between "the internets" and  "local eyewitless news".   So yes, new facts are discovered every day, but very few of them are discredited, "discredited" actually means that the researcher lied about the substance of his/her study, and that happens not nearly as often as you would think, particularly in the West.  In reality, people don't trust science because of indoctrination and ignorance, because understanding science is a hard work, and because they have little to no exposure to real science. 

G-man's picture
G-man

Yes images on the Internet are fun, but I wouldn't say they're an accurate representation of facts. Since that's what you're talking about, it doesn't seem constructive.

So who should we believe? When, as an example, we're given one food pyramid from one source we're supposed to trust (our government, whichever yours might be, there seem to be quite a few) and we're given another by, for example, Harvard (who do have one), and another by a third agency, which is the correct one? They can't all be right, can they? That would put everything we know about food in question and cause those who care about such things as what they consume on a regular basis to be worried about the truth of the information they receive from even trustworthy sources.

And that happens to be my point.

suave's picture
suave

Well, as I pointed out in a reply to Andy, people tend to trust sources that are in best agreement with their preconceived notions.  The fact is, whatever you eat, it will kill you,  and anyone who says differently is selling something.

G-man's picture
G-man

Folks should believe what they want to believe from whatever source they're inclined to trust?

We're back at the beginning. :)

I'll continue avoiding additive-laden processed foods because, quite frankly, my folks taught me never to spend money on something if I could do better myself. It conveniently allows me to watch and offer my armchair wisdom, like any good backseat driver.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Suave you are saying that at most after 16 minutes at 88°C amylase will be denatured, right?

I found this depliant from lallemand that talks informally about several different amylase types

http://www.google.it/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=bacterial%20amylase%20crumb%20soft&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lallemand.com%2FBakerYeast...

the relevant excerpt is this:

Enzymes with high thermostability bacterial amylase survives the baking pro-
such as regular bacterial amylase improve cess and is still active in the baked bread.
crumb softness considerably, but tend to This explains why the use of the regular
give the “wrong” kind of softness, resulting bacterial amylase as a crumb softener has
    in a gummy bread crumb lacking resilience. remained very limited.
    For this reason the action of regular bacte- Better control is possible with newer
    rial amylase must be very well controlled to types of fungal and bacterial amylases char-
    give the right balance between crumb soft- acterized by a so-called intermediate ther-
    ness and crumb resilience. In practice this mostability like the Bacillus megaterium
    is difficult to achieve because the regular amylase and the Aspergillus niger acid amy-
   lase. Although these enzymes which are  fully inactivated during baking will give
   more consistent results, they still tend to produce a bread crumb lacking resilience.
   Softer bread crumb without a loss of crumb resilience requires an amylase with
   both an intermediate thermostability and an exo-acting (maltogenic) action pattern.
  This explains the superior performance of  Bacillus stearothermophilus amylase as a
  crumb softener that produces softer yet resilient bread crumb without gumminess.

 

It's not exactly a scientific paper and I'm not a chemist, thus I don't know if what I reported is nonsense. Just more food for thought. I remember I read another paper from another source where the concept was essentially the same.

suave's picture
suave

It is very hard to ascertain the validity of this statement without having precise information.  Novamyl is a bacterial amylase, yet people who make say it denatures at 88 °C.  Are there enzymes that are more stable? Without a doubt, and I am sure that with some effort it is possible to find out what their exact specs are and how often they are used.  But what's worth remebering that these enzymes are are added at the bakery, not at the mill, and therefore not a part of our baking process.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi suave,

I'm no biochemist, but I do have immediate reference to well known scientific bakery texts which actually explain in great detail about both how yeasts work [yes, I'm aware the whole process is a sequence of enzymatic reactions, and, frankly I would expect completing bakery students to have this rudimentary knowledge too - not that this is anything to do with the original post] and enzymes.

I am the first to accept that this is an incredibly complex field of science, but what are you trying to say?   We should just accept what the scientist says without bothering our little heads?   And it is about selling things, just as you say.   Everyone has an agenda and that is not going to change; it's about persuasion.

If I were to buy a loaf of wrapped bread the label would tell me that the loaf contained yeast.   With that knowledge, I could then go out and find more information about yeast and the complex role it plays in helping to create that loaf of bread.   The trouble is that the word "enzyme[s]" is very unlikely to appear on the label, so I don't have the initial information in the first place that might induce me to go and find out more about it.   And the reasons the word "enzyme[s]" doesn't appear on the label are because the manufacturers don't want it to, and because legislation does not require them to include that information.   And that is why I believe food manufacturers, generally, are untrustworthy.   I'm not even sure it's about science; it's about food manufacturing companies being prepared to be open and honest and share information with consumers.

I didn't really understand what you were trying to say about the "probably" aspect, as I don't think you interpreted what Nico was saying correctly.   But as far as I'm aware there is scientific research out there suggesting that "amylase can retain some of its potency as an allergen in the crust of loaves after baking"
Whitley [2006; pp.12].   I remember that you don't think the author knows what he is talking about, but here are a couple of scientific papers he cites regarding this topic:

Moreno-Ancillo, A. et al (2004). Bread eating induced oral angioedema due to alpha-amylase allergy. Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2004; 14(4):346-7

Sander, I., Raulf-Heimsoth, M., Van Kampen, V., Baur, X. (2000). Is fungal alpha-amylase in bread an allergen? Clin Exp Allergy. 2000 Apr;30(4):560-5

I looked at the paper Nico cited above and picked out this key phrase from the text which Nico cited but was not copied in correctly:

"For this reason the action of regular bacterial amylase must be very well controlled to give the right balance between crumb softness and crumb resilience. In practice this is difficult to achieve because the regular bacterial amylase survives the baking process and is still active in the baked bread."

http://www.google.it/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=bacterial%20amylase%20crumb%20soft&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lallemand.com%2FBakerYeast...

There is conflicting evidence available, and there are calls in the UK for this aspect to be further researched.   Maybe you are right that "people tend to trust sources that are in best agreement with their preconceived notions": so what?

Best wishes

Andy

suave's picture
suave

Andy,

I'll skip the first part of your message, since food labelling regulations differ from country to country and frankly I just don't want to start another discussion of whitlean theories when our opinions on the matter are set in stone.

When I invoked word "probably" I did not refer so much to the substance of what N. said as to your apparent willingness to accept his "probably does", and brush aside the other poster's "probably doesn't".  Science...  you see, in science you have to be very precise about the things you say.  G-man dismissed a cartoon I showed as a stupid joke, when in fact it is a great illustration of how data should be presented: A leads to B with 50% probability provided C and D are in place.  That is why we teach students to pay attention to details, question everything, and be ready that everything they is questioned.  

The papers... you have to be able to see beyond the title  (the paper this morning said "AT&T jacks up data plan prices", in fact they replace $25/2GB plan with $30/3GB plan for new customers only).  So, the first paper you mention is very short, it is really a case report describing single patient who showed an allergic reaction to fungal amylase (but not to a bacterial one).  It is worth noting that to provoke a reaction they used 5 mg of uncooked amylase, which I hope you realize is a rather large amount, that's what you'd have in ~100-1000 g. of bread if all of it survived the baking process.  They could also trigger an allergic reaction with 50 g. of bread but they do not determine whether their is an amylase there and how much.  It is understandable their only goal here is to find what's wrong with the patient an d suggest a course of action.  Now, the second paper is much more interesting.  Let me get to the gist of it: "In rolls baked in our laboratory, we could detect a-amylase in the crust while the crumb fraction did not contain measurable amounts of a-amylase.  Compared with the measured amount […] in dough […] about 20% of a-amylase remained antigenic. On the other hand, in rolls baked under conventional baking conditions at the BAGKF, all measurements of crumb and crust fractions were below the detection limit of our assay. […]In the crust from bread bottom and sides […] only 0.1±0.6% of a-amylase remained antigenic."  This tells me that if the bread is baked correctly there's no enzyme to speak of.  Interestingly enough, whatever little they do see is detected not in the center of the loaf as one would expect, but in the crust, which supposedly reaches the highest temperature.  I am a bit surprised why they don't seem to be fascinated by this obvious contradiction, because to me this tells that something else must be going on.  I am sure there are many more papers, each to be read carefully, each with its own set of caveats, but as long as we make generalizations based on titles alone it is just conflicting statements, not conflicting evidence.   Still a controversy though.

M.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi M,

I am happy to concur with your surprise about the contradiction you identify.   Sure there are lots of papers, used as evidence by different groups to make all sorts of claims.   Actually these 2 papers don't provide the hard evidence needed, but then I only suggested that they were at the base of calls for further research on the subject.   I note that Pyler Volume 2 [1979; pp.753] references Walden, C. C. Bakers Digest 33 (1) 24 (1959) which suggests denaturation of malt alpha-amylase occurs between 65 and 95*C...no reference is made to fungal amylase in this context.   This is somewhat higher than 88*C, and a temperature which could well be accepted as a core temperature reading which deemed it safe to remove bread from the oven as "baked".   If true, survival rate for the enzyme at this high temperature must surely be very small?

I'm ok that we won't agree about "whitlean theories", but it's a shame you used different labelling regs as a reason not to answer my point about compaing like with like.   Wrapped bread in the EU would include a label and yeast would be listed as an Ingredient on that label.   The word Enzyme does not have to appear, even if enzymes have been added.   Is the situation different in the US?   All I'm suggesting is that food manufacturers should declare what is added to products; everything.   Let's face it, the enzyme manufacturing companies such as Novozymes are quick to recommend their products to bakers for a number of reasons; one of these is always the ability to achieve "clean label".   Before enzymes were available crumb softeners such as GMS might have been used instead...and had to be declared on the label - function and e-number, or full chemical name.   It smacks of an attempt to deceive the public, and that is where the lack of trust lies...not with the scientists.

Best wishes

Andy

G-man's picture
G-man

I'm not sure if they're required to do so, but I know that "enzymes" as an ingredient is put on some loaves of bread here in the States. I imagine they wouldn't put it on the package if they didn't have to.

suave's picture
suave

Andy,

wading through the FDA site looking for relevant regs is a rather time-consuming process, and I really don't want to spend time on that.  What I know off-hand is that enzymes should be declared in the ingredient list unless they are "processing aids".  I don't think manufacturers are required to specify the nature or names of the enzymes they use, but you can probably tell by the words they use, -  "malted barley flour", which would mean cereal amylases, or simply "enzyme", which would indicate bacterial or fungal.  Since I don't have any store bought bread at home I can't be more precise, but next time I decide to patronize a supermarket I'll make sure not to skip bread aisle.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi M,

Yes it's similar in the UK/EU where enzymes classed as "processing aids" do not have to be declared.

But your reply got me thinking, as the only time I can remember seeing the word "enzymes" on a bread-related food item was in the ingredients label of a bag of Hovis Strong Wholemeal, so, flour as opposed to bread.   EU legislation is looking to demand use of the word "Enzyme", but again, not specify which one[s]

I'm pretty sure all UK industrial bakers use fungal or bacterial enzymes as processing aids, and I have never seen any declared.   "Malted Barley Flour" would also be the phrase used over here to cover cereal amylase.

You may get quite depressed visiting a supermarket bread aisle if it's anything like the UK; I always keep well away from that part of the store!

Best wishes

Andy

suave's picture
suave

Most of my grocery shopping is done in ethnic markets, and breads there are either baked on premises or sourced from local bakeries.  Some of them are remarkably good.   Of course, I never forget that a large portion of wholesale flour in this country is bromated, and that is something a have a very strong opinion about.  In that sense some of our national brands that eschew bromated flours are more acceptable to me than local bakeries.

ananda's picture
ananda

Bromate has, fortunately, been illegal to use as a dough strengthener in Europe since the late 1990s.

Ascorbic Acid and I believe oxidase enzymes are all that is available to bakers here.   ADA is not permitted either.

A

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

that in all bread flours sold here alpha-amylase is always listed. Yet italians aren't exactly the kind of consumers with a lot of attention to details... rather the contrary.

G-man's picture
G-man

I'm afraid that's universal. Folks just don't seem to care about what they're eating. If more people cared, things would probably be a lot different. Such is life.

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

What goes in my bread:

Flour, water, salt.

What goes on it:

Only good stuff.

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I've been following along on this thread with great interest. I have to admit I'm getting a little uneasy about the unknown tinkering that must be going on at the major mills, without our knowledge. While it might be useful to understand the tools in the toolbox of the  bread industry, ultimately all the tinkering being done ends up in our food chain. The impact of all the enzymes and chemicals on the human body at a cellular level is only now being understood and, not widely known by the public. In the past I have considered a home mill a curious obsessive extension that I could do without. Now that I have made 100% whole grain breads from fresh pure ground Organic grains, it seems foolish to take on faith that the large mills are working in my best interests. My whole grain breads are flavorful, slow to stale and made from natural wild yeasts. It would appear that whatever is going on behind the curtain isn't being done for my benefit.

Eric

vyapti's picture
vyapti

After eading though this thread, I have a couple of questions:

1) does adding milk prevent staling at all? or is it just the fat in milk?

2) what about flax seed meal?  would the properties that make it a good egg replacement help here as well?

3) indirect vs. direct dough:  it sounds like slower fermentation will make a bread that lasts longer, at least for sourdough.  Does that also mean that using large amounts of preferment would accomplish the same things?

Thanks

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi Vyapti,

I never experienced any improvement using milk vs water. As for preferments I can testimony what happens to rye bread, that is my daily bread: a very sour preferment keeps all molds away at least for several weeks. My preferment lasts 2 whole days and involves 30-60% of the flour.

I had the same result with a wholemeal wheat bread, but it became soon too dry to eat.

Even white wheat preferments  can acidify as much, but I guess that the integrity of the gluten of the dough will be seriously compromised.

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi vyapti,

If you note near the top of the thread the OP clarified his questions were about staling, which is the retrogradation of starch.   This is manifest by a tight crumbly crumb as the starches revert from a gel state caused by baking to their previous crystal state.   This is different from the other keeping qualities which your questions address.

Best wishes

Andy

LapLap's picture
LapLap

There's a technique called water roux or tang zhong or yudane which will yield extremely soft bread that stays soft. No chemicals required. 

The first bread I ever made with this method was this one: http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2010/10/hokkaido-milk-toast-japanese-style.html?m=1

You should definitely give it a try. It's good as it is, it is particularly good cut into big fat slices and toasted - Japanese breakfast style.  If you hunt the webs (and even this site) you'll find scientific explanations as to why adding this kind of roux to bread is so effective at keeping bread soft and preventing it from becoming stale.  Better than adding chemicals, but not as cost effective.