KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, US — Upon opening the cover of “Understanding Baking Enzymes,” anyone who has ever taken a few enzyme courses would say “this is the lock and key of enzymes!”

The scope of the book extends from the history of enzymes to the legal framework for their safe usage. It examines in detail their effects and interactions in many kinds of baked products. The book addresses a wide range of readers, including students, professors and industry experts.

“Understanding Baking Enzymes” was authored by Dr. Lutz Popper and Professor Dr.-Ing. Klaus Lösche, published by Robert Wenzel, Germany, and distributed by Sosland Publishing Co. Popper has been with Mühlenchemie and SternEnzym since 1993, and since 2009 has been head of research and development and scientific director of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.  

Klaus Lösche is managing director of NFT (Northern Food Tec), a consultancy firm he established in 2014. Klaus Lösche is the former head of the Institute for Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences.

From 2016 to 2020 Klaus Lösche was editor-in-chief of the international scientific journal, Cereal Technology. 

Examining the use of enzymes

The authors’ primary motivation in writing this book was to give users an understanding of enzymes and their applications, and counter skepticism toward the use of enzymes in food applications. 

One of the significant angles that differentiate this book from most others in this field is its coverage of both the theory and applications of enzymes. In addition, its discussion of the history and use of enzymes in the first chapter makes an exciting introduction to the topic. From the discovery of diastase in 1833 to developments in 2020 that again resulted in the Nobel Prize for enzyme-related research, the book takes the reader along the long road to baking enzymes.

The second part of the book is the most comprehensive. It covers the kinetics and optimum parameters of enzymes in general, as well as specifics on cereal enzymes and the effects of enzymes in baking.

The effects on dough stability and rheology of different enzymes used in baking are discussed in chapter 3, using actual test results obtained by fundamental and descriptive rheological measurements.

Chapter 4 addresses the control of the effects of enzymes. The authors include information on climate change and grain quality, where data is limited but of the utmost importance. Enzyme applications in baking and the interaction between sourdough yeast and enzymes are other important topics in this chapter.

Despite their importance in enzyme applications, synergism and interactions between enzymes have heretofore received scant attention, but the authors cover this as well for specific enzymes.

Enzyme inhibition and inactivation are less well-known but fundamental phenomena. Chapters 6 and 7 address causes of shelf-life problems in cereal products.

In addition to synergism and interactions between enzymes in the formula, other ingredients like water, baker’s yeast, salt, sugar, etc. in baked foods exhibit interactions with enzymes, with dramatic effects on processing and final product quality. These interactions are discussed in chapter 8. 

The optimization of enzyme addition in baking is crucial for their maximum effect on processing and costs. The authors discuss this topic as well, with information on baking trials and experimental design.

Chapters 10 through 17 provide practical information, including specific applications for specialty baked foods, crumb softening and shelf-life extension, steamed bread, soft wheat products like biscuits, crackers and wafers, and the use of enzymes in wheat tempering and bake-off baked foods production. 

The authors’ focus in these chapters is on the effects and usage of different enzymes for specific products, and the role of enzymes in product quality and problem-solving. Regarding enzyme-assisted wheat tempering, the authors conclude, “It is possible that further optimization of the enzymes used, and the technologies used with them is required to get results that will bring practical benefits to millers in their daily work.”

The last chapter examines the legal framework for the safe use of enzymes, including background information, safety in modern biotechnology, current and future labeling of enzymes, and enzyme regulations in various countries.

“Understanding Baking Enzymes” is a comprehensive reference for anyone working with enzymes, including students, food scientists and technologists, cereal/grain scientists and technologists in the food industry and academia.