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General Mills tries to tackle browning in chilled dough

By Elaine Watson , 27-Jun-2011

General Mills: Two heads are better than one
General Mills: Two heads are better than one

General Mills is seeking out new technologies to block or reduce enzymatic browning in chilled dough products such as puff pastries.

In an innovation brief posted on its open innovation platform G-WIN, the firm says it is looking for solutions that are thermally and chemically stable and do not significantly alter the dough rheology or the existing flavor profile of the food.

Small black spots that become larger and more intense …

The browning is an issue in wheat flour-based puff pastry products made from chilled dough with a pH range of 5.5-5.9, a water activity range of 0.940-0.965 and a storage temperature range of 4-8 °C, says General Mills.

“The enzymatic browning appears as small black spots that become larger and more intense during shelf-life. One of the contributing factors is the polyphenoloxidase enzyme, which is part of the wheat flour.

“The amount of bran pieces in the flour is directly related to the enzymatic browning in the finished product, which forces the use of low extraction flour, which drives up costs. We seek a proposal that significantly block or reduce the enzyme activity in chilled dough products.”

Possible approaches – and next steps

Possible approaches might include inhibiting the enzyme activity, removing the oxidation substrate, minimizing oxygen without a significant investment in equipment (more than $100,000) or minimizing black spot appearance, says the firm.

General Mills will review all proposals within two to three weeks before deciding on appropriate next steps, which might include a proof of concept, licensing agreements, supply agreements, investments or a joint venture.

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