by Dr Lutz Popper and Sven Mattutat, Mühlenchemie, Germany


The quality of wheat is inseparably linked with the quality of the baked goods. To meet the variable requirements of the market, tailor-made flour treatment is a key issue in the milling industry. Highly functional enzyme systems are the most efficient and economical tool to standardise the baking properties of flours.

Millers all over the globe are confronted with a host of various problems. The most difficult challenge is the purchase of raw material. Firstly, being a natural product, grain is subject to considerable fluctuations in quality; these may be caused by climatic factors such as heat, precipitation and frost or by fertilisers and irrigation or bug damage. Secondly, mills have to face the imponderables of the raw material markets.

Mixtures of different origins impair wheat standardisation

Volatile prices and restricted availabilities affect those countries most depending on wheat imports. For instance, a miller in Algeria may have to deal with French wheat one day, and on the next with wheat lots from Canada, the United States, Ukraine, Russia or other wheat exporting areas. Despite this difficult situation, the flour must have consistent properties and meet the requirements of such diverse end products as bread, baguettes, rolls, wafers, crackers or pasta.

Mühlenchemie: The perfectionist in flour treatment

The use of enzymes and additives is a tried-and-tested way of solving such problems with raw materials. Mühlenchemie is a pioneer in the standardisation and optimisation of flour, and over the decades it has devised a multitude of innovative solutions enabling the industry to enhance even problematical flours.

Best results with precisely adjusted enzyme systems

The main focus lies on the development of complex enzyme systems, which are much more effective than single ingredients. Over years of applied research, Mühlenchemie's R&D team has outlined that many single enzymes such as amylases, glucoamylases, proteases, hemicellulases and lipases, with their different specific effects and strengths, do not achieve the best possible results.

In the quality standardisation of flour, especially, what matters most is the interaction of various enzymes and other active ingredients. Mühlenchemie's enzyme systems make use of the synergistic potential of the individual substances and combine them to create efficient flour improvers.

Adjusting rheological parameters

A striking example for the innovative approach in product development is the enzyme system Deltamalt. When purchasing raw materials, bakeries generally base their choice on the rheological parameters of a flour, as the laboratory measurements are considered important indicators of the baking properties. These quality parameters can be regulated specifically with the use of enzyme systems.

Concerning the falling number, however, there has been a serious restriction: With traditional amylolytic enzymes, it was only possible to adjust either the falling number or the baking properties properly. The two parameters could not be reconciled. By developing Deltamalt, Mühlenchemie has solved the dilemma: This unique enzyme systems enables millers to optimise both parameters at the same time.


Decisive competitive edge with tailor-made flour

Besides standardising and adjusting rheological parameters for flour treatment is an essential tool for optimising the properties of the flour. By enhancing the enzymatic components with other baking-active ingredients like oxidising agents, vital wheat gluten or hydrocolloids, flour properties can be perfected to the last detail.

Whether it is a question of water absorption, fermentation stability, volume, oven rise, browning, softness or shelf life – flour, which is perfectly adjusted to the baking process, ensures a smooth and trouble-free processability and improves the quality of the baked goods significantly.

quality and processing aspects, downstream manufacturers also profit in economic terms. Above all, reliable processing properties reduce the number of interruptions. In addition, improved properties such as a higher water absorption capacity or the optimization of the flour's lipids and starch, which allow the reduction or elimination of emulsifiers, increase yield and profitability.

Mühlenchemie: A global partner of the milling industry

The flour specialist Mühlenchemie, a member of the Hamburg ingredients enterprise Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, has been operating in flour improvement and flour fortification for over 95 years and is one of the world's leading companies in this field. The range of products extends from classic flour treatment and fortification to special flours and concentrates for ready-mixed flours. The application covers flour improvement for baked goods, steamed buns and pasta.

The success of Mühlenchemie is the result of consistent innovation, constant enlargement of its facilities for applications technology and production and comprehensive services to its customers. The heart of the company is its Research & Development Department, where the expertise and the skills of more than 100 technologists, cereal scientists, millers and master bakers, from the MC facilities worldwide are pooled, shared and exploited. The lavishly equipped Stern-Technology Center in Ahrensburg/Hamburg comprises three units for flour applications:

  • The baking and rheological laboratory. Every day, customers from all over the world send samples of grain or flour for analysis and treatment recommendations. The analytical and rheological parameters and the baking properties are determined on the basis of a standardised plan. Using these results, the characteristics of the flours are worked out and suitable agents are selected. The trial bakery tests baked and steamed goods of all kinds – bread and baguettes, rolls, mantou, biscuits, crackers and wafers, refrigerated or frozen doughs and yeast-raised or chemically leavened products. The standard programme includes simulation of different production processes from various countries and enables highly specific product development
  • In the milling laboratory, wheat samples are ground under simulated industrial conditions before being analysed in the rheological and baking laboratories. This service is much in demand with mills that import their wheat themselves as the grain can already be assessed while it is still on its long journey by sea
  • The pasta laboratory has a multifunctional Pavan pilot plant with a vacuum dough press and an industrial drying cabinet for realistic production trials. For pasta manufacturers that means they do not have to carry out the trials on their own full-scale plant. In the pasta laboratory, grists for pasta can be reconsidered and optimised – a service which is also used to improve the economy of the grists.

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