AHRENSBURG, GERMANY -- Flour treatment specialist MC Mühlenchemie recently boosted its Alphamalt Fresh product line with two new versions that significantly extend the freshness of industrially produced bread. 

The new Alphamalt Fresh & Soft and Fresh & Spring products offer different approaches to meeting the individual desires of bakeries and consumers for freshness attributes like crumb moisture, softness, and elasticity. Depending on requirements, mills can offer bakeries added value in the form of flour with functional properties that help products stay fresh longer, reducing food waste and making production more economical and sustainable.

Consumers want fresh foods; manufacturers and retailers must meet this demand with long shelf life and consistent quality. In baked foods, this quality is defined by characteristics like appearance, flavor, aroma, crispiness and crust. The elasticity and softness of the crumb are further key quality criteria. Baked food structure changes over time, becoming progressively harder during transportation and storage. The main reason for this is the retrogradation or partial recrystallization of the amylopectin component of the starch gelatinized during baking.

The products in the Alphamalt Fresh range prevent recrystallization of the starch gelatinized during baking, keeping the crumb soft longer, MC Mühlenchemie said. While the smaller amylose molecules move from the starch grains into their surroundings and recrystallize after baking, the larger amylopectin molecules remain in their non-crystalline form at first. Favored by low temperatures, the amylopectin crystallizes as the helical components of the molecule “coil” back up. The hardening of the crumb results from the firm binding of water by the crystallizing amylopectin.

The Alphamalt Fresh series enzyme preparations reduce the amount of amylopectin that can crystallize. The resulting short-chain dextrins also interact with the remaining helical structures of the starch to prevent them from crystallizing. If Alphamalt Fresh is combined with emulsifiers or enzymes that improve the bread volume and the structure attainable immediately after baking, freshness preservation can be extended to up to three weeks, MC Mühlenchemie said.

With this Alphamalt Fresh line extension, MC Mühlenchemie supplies solutions for the individual needs of bakers and consumers. Alphamalt Fresh & Soft combines crumb softness and moistness to give a moist chewing sensation that makes a fresh impression even days after baking. Alphamalt Fresh & Spring primarily enhances the elasticity of the crumb, providing a good mouthfeel combined with crumb stability.

“Hard on the outside, soft on the inside” is how consumers would describe these advantages, MC Mühlenchemie said. Both products are suitable for yeast-raised baked foods such as sandwich bread, hamburger buns and the like, and can be dosed according to the desired level of freshness preservation. MC Mühlenchemie also offers enzyme-based solutions for extended fresh-keeping for special applications like tortillas, flatbread and cake flours.