By Jan Charles Hansen, principal application specialist, DuPont Nutrition & Health
Wholemeal and protein are a difficult combination in industrial bread. An unexpected solution can make it work for the weight management market.
Producing delicious high-fiber wholemeal bread is today relatively easy for industrial bakers. The right combination of emulsifiers and enzymes gives the volume and soft, fresh-keeping quality that gets wholemeal brands noticed on bakery shelves.
But, the moment you add protein to the recipe, it can feel like being knocked back to square one. Problems appear both during processing and in the fragile, open crumb structure of the final baked bread.
At DuPont Nutrition & Health, we’ve heard from several bakeries that have met the issue. So, here’s our approach to a solution with added soy protein.
Water under control
First of all, in protein-supplemented wholemeal recipes, the addition of more water to the dough is a basic necessity due to the protein’s high water-absorbing capacity, which can leave bread dry and compact.
Simply pouring more water into the mixer is not enough on its own. Unless the water is bound to the dough, it will remain on the surface, making the dough sticky and hard to handle. Over the years, we have found cellulose gum to be a cost-effective answer, both acting as a water-binder and facilitating dough development during proofing.
Dealing with toughness
A second issue relates to the eating quality. Wholemeal bread with added protein tends to be tough and chewy, due to the protein’s natural structure-building activity.
We’ve tested a number of solutions. And the one we think works best is perhaps the most unexpected – the enzyme protease, which is known to break down the protein we want to keep. Nevertheless, by adding a minimum dose, we have seen a definite reduction in toughness while sufficient protein remains intact for a high protein claim.
With all processing and quality matters resolved, production of high-protein, high-fiber wholemeal bread can proceed as normal, using a tried and tested combination of emulsifiers and enzymes to support volume, softness and a homogeneous crumb.