September 22, 2015

22/09/2015: Enzymatic improvement of the quality of pasta and noodles

by Lutz Popper, Sabine Claußen and Martina Mollenhauer, Mühlenchemie GmbH & Co KG, Germany
First published in Milling and Grain, June 2015

The limited availability of durum wheat and its relatively high price induce the search for alternatives that help to save costs while maintaining quality. The addition of vital wheat gluten is a viable but expensive method, and the application of hydrocolloids such as guar gum is limited to certain applications, e.g. instant noodle flour. The improving effect of specific emulsifiers and the recently discovered beneficial action of certain enzymes will be the subject of this article.

The properties of pasta and noodle dough differ greatly from those of yeast leavened dough, particularly concerning the lack of gas bubbles that are not desirable in pasta and noodle processing but have to be stabilised and entrapped in bread dough and the like. Instead of dough elasticity, plasticity is preferred, and staling is hardly an issue. Nevertheless, some properties seem to be useful in both applications, for instance protein stability.

In the case of bread, this is a useful trait for volume yield, while in pasta and noodles, good gluten improves cooking tolerance and the eating properties. There are also parallels between the processes in respect of starch: in bread making, emulsifiers such as monoglycerides are used to retard the staling of bread through interaction with starch. In pasta and noodles, the same emulsifier improves cooking stability and reduces cooking losses, because it retards the gelatinisation and thus solubilisation of starch.

Some enzymes familiar from the field of baking have shown themselves to be useful in pasta and noodle applications too. While hemicellulases can reduce the viscosity of the dough and thus the water addition rate (saving money in the production of dry noodles), some carboxyl esterases have turned out to be very efficient in improving – and modifying – pasta and noodles. They not only improve the cooking tolerance but also activate the flour’s own bleaching system, lipoxygenase, resulting in brighter  and less speckled end products. If yellow pasta and noodles are preferred, these enzymes create a brighter background for colouring agents such as carotene or curcuma.

Read the rest of the article in Milling and Grain HERE.  

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