The starches, called Synergie Melody and Synergie Superdust, can be used to add an additional day and a half of shelf life to processed loaves of bread and an additional half-day to in-store baked items. Both made from natural wheat and said to cause no change to taste or texture of the bread.
How the starches work
Adrian Short, joint founder and director of Ulrick & Short, told BakeryandSnacks these starches allow loaves to keep the same freshness they would have in the initial days throughout its shelf life.
“What these starches essentially do is they work within the dough to maintain moisture retention, control[ing] what is called the water activity, which is a way of measuring how much available water is in the product,” he said. “What you really need to do is lock that moisture in over life; that’s really what our products can do.”
During the baking process, air bubbles within the bread are more easily held within the dough. Short said bakers can’t suppress the bubbles being formed by having too much viscosity and they can’t have the dough be too loose. These starches help achieve the needed balance to keep bread fresher for longer.
“What we’ve done is dry the products in a certain way,” Short said. “If they’re going into a mixing system where there’s moisture present … they’re hydrated a little slower and disperse more easily. They’ll accept just being mixed in the way dough likes being mixed. They won’t destroy the integrity of a typical bread.”
Ulrick & Short have been using similar product line in cakes, muffins and other sweet products. Short said this product has been tweaked slightly to be readily used with bread.
Keeping labels clean and clear
Bakeries and manufacturers have been asking Short for ways they could extend shelf life of bread products while still striving for clean or clear label designation.
Consumers are now looking for products with fewer emulsifiers and hard-to-pronounce ingredients, but bread shelf life continues to be an important need. These starches meet both requirements, he said.
“We did some research and what we thought we saw over here in Europe was the demand for the cleaner and simpler labels. That declaration continues,” he said. “We’ve always been asked by bakeries about what can we do to make labels cleaner and extend product shelf life.”
Most important, Short said, is staying clean while still allowing the product to maintain freshness for as long as possible without startling the customers with a long, complex ingredient list.
“None of our ingredients would scare a consumer. Quit the opposite,” he said. “We’re trying to utilize natural crops to get the functionality we want with no chemicals or additives used.”
Less waste, more product
Improving volume and shelf life can also mean less food waste for in-store bakery consumers and creating a better “value choice” than both consumers and bakeries were previously getting.
“Where we think there’s an advance is not on day one that you notice the difference, it’s maintaining the fresh eating quality on day three or day five,” he said. “It’s maintaining that over life, which I think is a big sales point.”
Short said there have been plenty of inquiries in this product from the UK, Asia and the US, although USDA approval is still pending. He said there has been positive response from those who have had trials with the starches.