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According to DSM research, most consumers would like to see softness and moistness improved in gluten-free breads, among most required characteristics. 

By Catalina Mihu

To find out more about innovations in gluten-free solutions, we have spoken with Fokke van den Berg (photo), 

director of strategy, marketing and application, enzyme solutions at DSM. The ingredient specialist has recently developed a new enzyme solution addressing these consumer priorities.

“From our consumer research with 1,000 gluten-free bread consumers in the UK and the US, we know that gluten-free bread is not always perceived to be as soft or moist as wheat bread. This is why we wanted to develop a way to improve the softness and moisture of gluten-free breads. This led to a selection process for the right enzymes, followed by many months of application testing at our labs on recipes for batter and dough, and using oat, potato, and rice flours. We also worked with a trained sensory panel to test the results, which meant we needed to develop a common language and methodology for testing the gluten-free breads — agreeing what we mean by softness, for example,” said van den Berg. The panel could then confirm the end product using the enzyme was softer and moister than its counterpart made without the new enzyme.

The enzymes optimize the properties of the ingredients used in gluten-free bread. Out of the five different enzyme classes available (amylase, protease, xylanase, glucose oxidase, and amyloglucosidase), “the amylase works on the amylose component in starch to reduce staling, and the protease optimizes the properties of proteins,” van den Berg illustrates.

Applications incorporating the enzyme

The enzymes were tested on two types of recipes, dough and batter. They can also work with a wide range of ingredients. However, there is no “one size fits all” solution, so DSM application specialists work with the customers to fine-tune the dosages required for each recipe, according to van den Berg.

Most baking enzymes are formulated using wheat flour, which contains gluten, which this makes it impossible to use those enzymes in gluten-free applications, DSM’s specialist explains. This new gluten-free range is formulated on rice flour, but as the composition of gluten-free bread is different from that of wheat bread, the types of enzymes used is also different. “Phospholipases have a wide range of benefits in wheat bread, but do not bring significant value when used in gluten-free bread. The opposite is true for proteases; one would not use these in wheat bread as it degrades the gluten, but in gluten-free bread, it helps to improve the softening properties of the proteins”, according to van den Berg.

Speaking about gluten-free trend development during the next years, the expert from DSM says the market is expected to grow, for a number of reasons, especially in countries where these products are already purchased.

“Our consumer survey indicated that in the UK and the US, where the trend is more established, consumers expect to increase the amount of gluten-free bread that they eat. In addition, most consumers of gluten-free bread say they also still eat regular bread, instead of excluding gluten completely from their diets. Enabling the development of gluten-free bread that tastes more like regular bread could make gluten-free breads more appealing to the general population. 

Besides that, we also expect the gluten-free trend to grow with consumers in countries such as Brazil, Turkey, and Morocco. Finally, as availability increases, we predict that we will start to see more gluten-free options available through more channels, including online shops and at fast food chains, again helping to improve the accessibility and convenience of these products,” van den Berg says.

He also mentions the development of gluten-reduced bread as an interesting innovation opportunity. For those consumers currently eating both gluten-free and regular bread, having a way to take control of the total amount of gluten in their diet could be an appealing choice and from the company’s data, 75% of consumers indicated an interest in gluten-reduced bread.  

Related articles:

New Enzyme from DSM Breaks Down Residual Gluten 

Gluten-free and New Flavors Drive Wafer Biscuit Market 

Gluten-free Bakery Market to Peak Demand by 2021 

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