Used as chemical dough improvers, emulsifiers have been indispensable tools for improving tolerance, machinability, and shelf-life in buns, rolls, and pan breads. By enabling efficient, scalable processes for high volume production, these ingredients revolutionized industrial baking. However, times are changing, and consumers are more inclined than ever to check ingredients lists on the foods they buy. According to a recent study, more than half (55%) of U.S. consumers said they always or often check product labels when shopping in-person at the store. The International Food Information Council, authors of the study, note that the number of consumers who prefer products labeled as “natural” and “clean” continued to grow in 2022 and that clean eating is one of the “most common diets or eating patterns this year.”
Followers of the clean eating trend are prone to look askance upon widely used emulsifiers such as mono- and diglycerides (MDGs), sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL), diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides (DATEM), and L-Cysteine, which may not align with their expectations for natural and familiar ingredients. Moreover, functional proteins like vital wheat gluten (VWG) that serve a similar purpose in doughs can cause formulation challenges. For consumers paying close attention to the ingredients they consume, the presence of these dough improvers may be reason enough to exclude a product from purchase consideration.
A survey commissioned by Lesaffre of U.S. consumers sheds some light on attitudes about chemical dough improvers.
When asked how they feel about certain ingredients that might be used in the production of breads or baked goods, over half said they do not want MDGs (51%), SSL (53%), DATEM (58%), or L-Cysteine (50%).
When asked for the reasons why they do not want these ingredients, 40% said they are unfamiliar or hard to pronounce, 31% cited health or nutrition, and 21% said they are not natural.
These data clearly show that consumers are more and more primed to avoid ingredients that are unfamiliar or perceived as unnatural or unhealthy. As product labels receive more scrutiny at the grocery store, formulators need clean label alternatives that provide the functionality of chemical dough improvers without turning off shoppers. Fortunately, there is a clean label solution for achieving short- and long-term softness, improved machinability, and scalable consistency in buns, rolls, and pan breads.
A Label-Friendly Replacement
Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R, an all-in-one dough improver by Lesaffre, is an enzyme-based solution for replacing MDGs, SSL, DATEM, L-Cysteine, and VWG. The label-friendly, all-purpose dry ingredient allows bakers to realize new efficiencies in high volume production of hot dog buns, hamburger buns, and soft pan breads through:
• Better relaxation, strength, and tolerance
• Reduced mixing time
• Enhanced volume
• Improved shaping and consistency
• Extended shelf-life
Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R easily integrates into existing formulations that utilize chemical emulsifiers or VWG, but it can appear on ingredients lists simply as “enzymes and yeast.” As such, its presence on a label is more inviting to consumers who are looking to exclude ingredients that are unfamiliar or have chemical-sounding names.
Field-Tested and Effective for ESL
Recent field application tests demonstrated shelf-life extension properties in baked applications using Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R. After 19 days, buns made with the enzyme blend showed significantly less average hardness and increased specific volume compared to the control group. Similarly, sandwich-style pan breads were also softer than the control after 19 days. French style rolls were found to be much less hard and had higher specific volume after 22 days when formulated with Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R, and at 28 days, hot dog buns showed considerably better softness and comparable specific volume to the control group. These test results show that Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R is highly effective in improving volume and for extending shelf-life in buns, breads, and rolls.
Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R provides numerous advantages on the production line as well. Bakers who use the ingredient may see better consistency and accuracy in weights and sizing. Since Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R requires mechanical action to produce its reducing effects, it gives producers considerably more flexibility during processing than chemical dough enhancers. Unplanned events, such as a line breakdown or issues during mixing, are less disruptive when fewer chemical reactions are taking place in the mixer or hopper.
Processing efficiencies and reduced mix time also factor into taking pressure off personnel. In one controlled trial, mix time for hamburger buns was cut by two-and-a-half minutes in the batch using Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R versus a control.
As large-scale processes in bun and bread production become more reliable and consistent, less down time and waste precipitates reduced staffing costs. Labor-reducing benefits such as these become increasingly important for producers in tough hiring environments.
Lesaffre is a global leader in developing the world’s most innovative baking solutions. Our goal is to equip commercial bakers with superior yeast and ingredients combined with a deeply experienced team of technical advisers. Every day at Lesaffre, our expert formulators and food scientists work with leading global food brands to realize improvements and efficiencies in industrial scale production.
Is your brand ready for bun season? Reach out to find out more about how Star-Zyme™ STR 701 R can reduce the need for chemical dough improvers and help you achieve a label that appeals to today’s clean eating consumers.