Flour enhancer can salvage otherwise damaged wheat crops

01 April 2011

Foodnavigator.com (1/4/201) reported that bug-damaged crops can be salvaged by a complex of enzymes, ascorbic acid and acidity regulators to create bakery products such as pizza crusts and crackers, claims bakery ingredients supplier Mühlenchemie. Flour improvers Alphamalt BE 19124 and Alphamalt WT 1, in particular, increase volume yield and the quality of the crumb of dough, according to a series of recent tests by the Germany based specialist on Romanian and Bulgarian bug-damaged flour.

The flour enhancers are ideal for creating flat bakery products, although the flour produced from damaged crops is not as suitable for goods requiring high volume. This is because the enzymes present in flour made from damaged crops mean the dough has lack of stability, although this will not be a major issue in Eastern Europe, where consumers are used to dense bakery products.

Mühlenchemien predicts extreme climatic conditions such as drought and heavy rainfall to increase in the future, which are the main contributors to bug damage in grain. During unusually long periods of dry weather, the insects attack unripe, green wheat grains, exude an enzyme that breaks down protein and therefore damaging the gluten. Heavy rainfall shortly before harvesting causes the kernels to germinate on the stalk, producing large amounts of starch-degrading enzymes. These reduce the water-absorption capacity of the flour; the doughs become soft and sticky. The shape and volume of the loaves suffer from the poor stability of the dough. With the aid of special compounds of active ingredients to strengthen the gluten, reduce the activity of the protein-degrading enzymes as far as possible and improve the baking properties of the dough in general.

In terms of declaring the enhancer on the product label, this would depend on the market and policy of the country in question. Alphamalt BE 19124 can not be used in Europe where the only oxidizing agent that can be used in bakery products is ascorbic acid. However, Alphamalt WT 1 can be used in Europe, but would have to be declared on labels as it contains citric acid.