German flour treatment company Mühlenchemie has developed a new enzyme preparation that has the ability to extend shelf-life of industrially produced bread.

The company said the new enzyme, Alphamalt Fresh, can prolong the shelf-life of the bread by up to 15 days while preventing recrystallisation of the starch, which has gelatinised in the baking process, reported

The process keeps the crumb soft for a longer period, and reduces the amount of bread that becomes stale.

The structure of baked goods changes over time, and becomes harder at the time of transportation and storage due to recrystallisation of the amylopectin content of the starch that has gelatinised at the time of baking.

However, the smaller amylose molecules migrate out of the starch grain into its surroundings and re-crystallize soon after baking, with significant number of amylopectin molecules initially remaining in their non-crystalline form.

The amylopectin crystallises at low temperatures and the coiled parts of the molecule harden again, and the result is the tightening up of the crumb, which is attributed to the firm binding of water by the crystallised amylopectin.

According to the company, the new enzyme will break down the parts of the amylopectin that can crystallize, and the resulting short-chain dextrins are capable of interacting with the remaining coiled structures of the starch while suppressing its crystallisation.

Mühlenchemie said that the combination of Alphamalt Fresh and emulsifiers or enzymes that optimise the volume of the bread and the bread structure as it seems instantly after baking, can even extend the shelf-life of bread for up to three weeks.

Consumers need fresh food, and the decisive attributes of bakery products are appearance, taste, smell and crispness of the crust, as well as the elasticity and softness of the crumb.

The company believes that extending the shelf-life of baked goods can increase the profitability of an industrial bakery, as it meets the demands for quality, durable bread and reduces the return of products that have gone stale.

Image: Alphamalt Fresh can keep the crumb soft for a longer period, and reduce the amount of bread that becomes stale. Photo: Klaus Höpfner.