Industrial Bread: Enzymes Instead of Craftsmanship

German bread is considered to be of particularly high quality, nutritious and rustic. And bakeries like to advertise with the appearance of traditional craftsmanship. However: You need a lot of experience with traditionally made bread. And in order for the dough for bread and rolls to be successful, many factors have to be taken into account. Because flour is a natural product and never reliably has the same properties. Even the temperature in the bakery influences the development of the dough. And so a dough that was perfect yesterday may fail today with the same ingredients.

The industrial dough must be suitable for machines

The baking industry, therefore, relies primarily on doughs whose properties can be precisely controlled. And from which as many pieces of bread as possible can be baked in the shortest possible time. Industrially produced dough for bread and rolls must be suitable for machine use, and must not be too sticky or too moist, otherwise, it cannot be processed. This means that certain types of dough or flour are out of the question for the industry from the outset. Industrial dough can be influenced by various tools in such a way that a large quantity of bread can reliably leave the factory at the end of the day.

Enzymes improve dough flow

Bread factories use enzymes, among other things. There are around 250 technical enzymes that are added to the flour that does not need to be included in the ingredient list. They improve the flow of dough in the machines, ensure a good volume, quick maturing of the dough, or a nice crust. They are obtained, for example, from genetically modified fungal or bacterial cultures.

Many bakers use baking mixes

Many bakers today no longer know how to bake without industrial help. They use baking mixes and deep-frozen dough pieces. The BÄKO organization for bakeries and confectioneries makes it easy for them. She supplies them with ready-made bread mixes, additives, deep-frozen croissants, and pretzel corners that only need to be quickly baked. As a result, the offer of many bakeries hardly differs from that of the industry.

Artisan bakers suffer from competition

In view of the competition from supermarkets and discounters, artisan bakers are finding it increasingly difficult to assert themselves on the market. Because the industry can produce much more cheaply because of the mass that it produces and thanks to its machines and can therefore sell the bread at cheaper prices. More and more bakeries have to file for bankruptcy or close their business, as figures from the Central Association of the German Bakery Trade show: The number of businesses fell from almost 15,000 in 2009 to 10,500 in 2019.

Only those bakers who reflect on their craft can counteract the industry today. Quality seals that make it clear to the consumer that neither baking mixes, additives nor deep-frozen dough pieces are used can be helpful. For example, there is the “Traditional Bakers” seal in Schleswig-Holstein, the “SlowBaking” quality seal, and the artisan bakers’ association “The Free Bakers – Time for Responsibility”.

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