The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Enzyme additives listed in flour ingredients?

MsL's picture
MsL

Enzyme additives listed in flour ingredients?

Hi.  i'm not sure if this is the right place to post but I'm sure folks who have allergy issues are experts in ingredients lists.  Does anyone know if enzymes ADDED to flour have to be listed in the ingredients on the flour bag (in the US)?  I could not find this info on the FDA site.  Thanks.

MsL's picture
MsL

Thanks for that incredibly thorough and interesting answer, Dan, and also for the info that added enzymes are not required by the FDA to be listed.  (I was afraid of that.)  I have been getting contact dermatitis from some flours but not others and suspected it was caused by added enzymes; I can't be allergic to the enzyme itself since flour contains it naturally and I sometimes don't get reactions, so it must be the sourcce of the added enzyme that I'm allergic to.  It's excrutiatingly painful -- death by a thousand paper cuts.  : (

 

Thanks again to both of you.

MsL's picture
MsL

Do you know how the enzymes actually work?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi,

This enzyme helps to catalyse the breakdown of the starch element into sugars which the yeast can feed off.   Too much amylase, and the fermentation will proceed too rapidly.   This results in a sticky and unstable dough as final proof ends and the oven beckons.   The loaves drop as they hit the oven.   We called this "gummy dextrose" at the previous college where I lectured, and prior to that, studied.

Insufficient enyzymatic activity will mean fermentation is slow to get off the ground.

Dan mentioned cake and pastry flour above.   These flours have been ground finer, exactly for the purpose of use intended.   This results in a greater degree of starch damage.   The result is effectively the same as that described above.   Fermentation proceeds at a rapid pace, thus all the sugars become used up very quickly.   That is why there is no colour in the loaves made from these cake flours.

Of greater worry to me is the other functional enzymes now used in breadmaking.   I don't believe any of these are currently added to flour as standard practise, as Dan explains above for amylase content in the stronger flours.   Certainly in the UK now, various pre-mixes are available for the likes of say "ciabatta".   I dread to think what sort of nonsense is mixed into these, but you can surmise there will be a veritable cocktail: so, don't buy them if you have any sort of allergy issue with regard to enzymes.

Commercially, many bakers use some kind of proprietory dough conditioner in their breads.   Most of these contain a whole range of enzymes, I'm sorry to say.   Obviously, legislation may well be different in the USA, but over here there is quite a convenient little loophole which these dodgy ingredients manufacturers have managed to exploit.   While chemical additives have to be declared, usually in the form of E-number and function, or if not by full name, sadly enzymes are exempt from this.    They are categorised as "processing aids", don't ask me to explain why that should exempt them, it's a major scandal to me.

We are exerting considerable pressure on these companies through the Campaign for Real Bread, but we are relying on new European legislation to tighten up procedures.   The fight continues, but so far we have had mixed success persuading our own Food Standards Agency to work in a positive way with Brussels

Hope this helps

Best wishes

Andy

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Enzymes catalyze the conversion of a specific substrate into product.  While the enzyme aids in this conversion, the enzyme molecule itself is not changed and can therefore be used in many catalytic cycles.  Enzymes operate by lowering the activation energy, i.e., the energy required to initiate the reaction.  They do this typically by reversibly binding the substrate and holding it in a particular conformation so that a second reactant can more easily approach and come in contact with the substrate to perform the requisite reaction.

 

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com