We give advice on the production of ready-mixed and composite flours
We give advice on the production of ready-mixed and composite flours

Over 50 million tons of wheat flour are treated with Mühlenchemie flour improvers every year
Over 50 million tons of wheat flour are treated with Mühlenchemie flour improvers every year


Acidity regulators

Acidity regulators make it possible to set the acidity of a food to an exact value. Above all they include buffering agents (phosphates, citrates and carbonates), but also alkaline solutions and acids. They are used to achieve certain flavours and intensify the effect of preservatives. In baking they help to set the pH of the dough to the desired value and keep it there, enabling control of the properties of the dough and enzymatic activity.

Alpha-amylase (α-amylase)

Starch-degrading enzyme. It splits the straight chains of the starch (more precisely those of amylose and amylopectin) into smaller molecules (dextrins). Alpha-amylase facilitates the formation of gas by the yeast in the dough and reduces the viscosity of the dough, thus helping it to rise. It also enhances browning.

See also Amylases.


Measurement of the rheological properties (cf. rheology) of a dough made from wheat flour. The properties measured are resistance to extension and the degree of expansion of a bubble of dough blown up until the dough starts to tear.


Enzymes that degrade starch. In order to utilize the vegetable starches present in a food, all vegetarian organisms have to break down the large starch molecules into smaller units. This digestion of the starch is partly carried out by amylases. For flour treatment it is chiefly alpha-amylase, beta-amylase and amyloglucosidase (glucoamylase) that are important.

Amylase-hemicellulase complex

A compound made up of amylase and hemicellulase.


An enzyme of the amylase family, also known as glucoamylase. It splits glucose off from amylopectin, amylase, dextrin and also maltose. Glucose nourishes yeast, so amyloglucosidase increases fermentation power. It also enhances browning, since glucose promotes the Maillard reaction (formation of brown pigments from protein constituents and sugars). Large amounts of amyloglucosidase can cause a sweet taste.


The amylogram yields information on the enzymatic activity of a flour and the baking properties that may be expected of it. Its main use is with rye flours. An amylogram records the changes in the viscosity of a meal-and-water suspension during gradual heating.

Ascorbic acid

As a food ingredient ascorbic acid, commonly known as “vitamin C”, helps to prevent preserved food from going bad. Ascorbic acid is therefore widely used as an antioxidant (E 300). It is also used in flour standardization and flour improvement, since it increases the gas retention capacity and stability of the dough. In conjunction with the enzymes naturally present in the flour it acts like an oxidizing agent in this application.

Aspergillus oryzae

A mould used to produce enzymes, especially amylases and proteases. The name means “watering-can mould of rice” and is taken from the shape of the sporophores (like the spout of a watering can) and its original use (fermentation of rice to preserve it, or production of alcohol).

Baking laboratory

The purpose of a baking laboratory is to test the baking properties of flours and flour additives and to simulate commercial baking processes.

Baking premix

A compound of functional ingredients such as enzymes, ascorbic acid or emulsifiers and carriers (e.g. flour). It contains important components needed for a particular baked product (bread, small wheat products, crackers etc.) in the correct ratios. The use of premixes saves time and ensures uniform product quality.

Baking trials department

To determine the baking properties of a flour it is necessary to process it exactly as it will be processed later at the bakery. Mühlenchemie’s baking trials department is equipped with all manner of different devices and ovens that make it possible to bake under any conditions found anywhere in the world. A staff of ten experienced bakers and cereal technicians bakes a large number of products from many countries in order to optimize the results.

Benzoyl peroxide

A powerful oxidizing agent that is also used for bleaching. The colour is removed from the pigments naturally present in the flour so that the flour is brightened. Its use is not permitted in the European Union and some other countries.


Beta-amylase belongs to the amylase family. It splits maltose (a sugar consisting of two molecules of glucose) off the ends of the chains of the starch molecules. In doughs, the sugar formed by beta-amylase can be used by the yeast for fermentation and contributes to the browning of the baked goods.


In chemistry, bromate is the term used for the salts of bromic acid HBrO3. Bromates are powerful oxidizing agents and are used as flour improvers in some countries. In Germany their use has been prohibited since 1957.

Bromate substitute

Bromate substitutes stabilize and relax the dough with the aid of specially selected enzymatic activities. Bromate substitutes often contain ascorbic acid or are used in conjunction with ascorbic acid to replace bromate. One very well known bromate substitute is ALPHAMALT BX, developed by Mühlenchemie.

Calcium propionate

A preservative, traces of which occur naturally in certain foods. Calcium propionate combats mould and bacteria such as the bacillus that causes “ropiness”. Like all acids and their salts that are used as preservatives, calcium propionate is all the more effective the more acid the environment is. So sour dough or dough acidification improve conservation.

Composite flour

Flour mixtures in which wheat flour is wholly or partially replaced by non-wheat flours, for example to reduce expensive imports of wheat in favour of local produce such as cassava or tapioca.

Compound, compounding

A blend of various substances in a specific ratio. Accurate compounding requires sophisticated technology. Mühlenchemie’s automated blending plant for substances in powder form makes up formulations accurate to the gram. Special blending units with spraying, heating and cooling equipment enable homogeneous, extremely fine distribution. The processing of liquid components is integrated into the automated system.

Cross contamination

The introduction of impurities into a substance from another substance which is close by or was previously in the containers used. The production plant of the Mühlenchemie subsidiary SternMaid has five separate blending lines to prevent such cross contamination.


Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid. As a flour improver it makes doughs more extensible and less elastic. Cysteine is made from feathers and also by synthetic means.

Diacetyl tartaric ester of mono- and diglycerides (DATEM)

An important emulsifier that does not occur naturally. DATEM consists of mono- and diglycerides of edible fats with acetic and tartaric acid. In the baking process it serves to improve the gas retention capacity and stability of the doughs, their tolerance to mechanical stress and fluctuations in processing conditions. DATEM therefore helps to achieve uniform results in the baked products, including good shape and a high volume yield.


See diacetyl tartaric ester of mono- and diglycerides.

Distilled monoglycerides

Emulsifiers (E 471), usually made from vegetable fats (triglycerides) by splitting off two of the three fatty acids. They are used to prolong the shelf-life of the goods and produce a fine-textured crumb. Distillation separates off the by-products (glycerol, fatty acids, diglycerides) occurring in the production process in order to increase the concentration of monoglycerides (e.g. to 90%). See also mono- and diglycerides.

Dust analysis

Determination of the dust content of a preparation in powder form (e.g. an enzyme compound or flour). The equipment used for a dust analysis is usually the Heubach Dustmeter® in which a current of air is passed through a mechanically agitated sample of powder and the dust taken up with it is trapped and measured.


The use of an emulsifier makes it possible to mix fat with water or to disperse droplets of oil very finely in water (emulsification). In general, emulsifiers enable the combination of hydrophilic and lipophilic substances. The best-known natural emulsifier is lecithin.

Enzymatic optimum

The enzymatic optimum is the combination of enzymes that ensures the best possible results of baking a particular dough. Rheological factors (cf. rheology) play an important role too. Mühlenchemie’s basic principle is that:
- Doughs must be within the rheological optimum.
- Doughs must be within the enzymatic optimum.
- The rheological optimum and the enzymatic optimum must be properly balanced.


Enzymes are proteins whose form and physico-chemical properties make it possible to bind certain substances (substrates) for a short time. They promote (catalyze) very specific reactions of these substrates (decomposition, conversion or adsorption) which would otherwise require the input of energy or take a long time.

Enzyme compound

See enzyme system.

Enzyme System

A compound of specific enzymes whose effects often exceed the sum of the separate components. Individually adjusted Enzyme Systems enable all manner of different properties of a bakery product to be pre-determined exactly.


An extensogram is used to determine the extensibility of a dough made from wheat flour. An evaluation of the diagram for extensibility and resistance makes it possible to predict how the dough will react during fermentation and the baking process.

Falling Number

The Falling Number is a measure of the activity of the starch-degrading enzyme amylase in the grain, and is indirectly a measure of the grain’s degree of ripeness. Ripe grains in dormancy show little activity (Falling Numbers over 300), whereas unripe or sprout-damaged grains show a high level of activity (low Falling Numbers) and extreme sugar formation.


A farinogram is a measurement of the resistance of wheat doughs to kneading. It enables the water absorption capacity of the flour to be determined. The farinogram also gives information on the dough development time for the optimum kneading time, the stability of the dough during kneading and the degree of softening if the dough is over-kneaded.

Ferment-activated wheat gluten

See wheat gluten.

Fermentation stability

Fermentation stability, or fermentation tolerance, is the ability of a dough to withstand fluctuations in the fermentation conditions, especially a higher temperature or an extended time, without any appreciable loss of structure (collapse of the dough). In many cases the term also includes tolerance to mechanical stress (which is really dough stability). Fermentation stability can be improved by adding wheat gluten (cf. gluten), ascorbic acid, oxidizing agents, emulsifiers or enzymes.

Fine distribution

Term used for the distribution of extremely small particles in a substance. Even if substance A is evenly distributed in substance B, the fine distribution may be irregular.

Flour fortification

This chiefly means the enrichment of wheat flour with minerals and vitamins. It can compensate for the widespread undersupply of vitamins and minerals. Mühlenchemie has developed high-quality premixes for vitaminizing flour and fortifying it with minerals to meet the specific needs of various countries. See also micronutrients.

Flour improvement

Flour improvement measures include compensating for a low gluten or protein content, adjusting wheat varieties that are too strong, balancing qualities that produce moist, weak doughs, correcting lots with harvest damage and incorporating substitutes such as maize or tapioca. Flour improvement is often the only way of making good-quality baked products at reasonable prices.

Flour standardization

Generic term for measures to create products of uniform quality from flours of different qualities. Factors such as grain variety, the nature of the soil, climate, harvesting conditions, storage and milling cause deviations from the specified quality which are compensated for by flour standardization.

Flour treatment

The objective of flour treatment is flour improvement.


Folate is one of the “B” vitamins and acquired its name from the fact that it was originally isolated from spinach leaves (folium is the Latin word for leaf). Folate is important for all growth and development processes, since it is needed to synthesize components of the nucleic acids.

Formulations accurate to the gram

Blends or compounds in which even the fine distribution of the individual components is correct to the gram. Compounding plant must operate very reliably and precisely in order to ensure that formulations are accurate to the gram.

Fungal amylase

Alpha-amylase obtained from mould cultures. Fungal amylase has an acid pH optimum (approx. pH 5) and an optimum temperature of about 50 °C. Under typical dough-processing conditions (pH 5.5 – 6.5, 22 – 28 °C) it nevertheless has sufficient effect.(Siehe also amylase.)


Gluten is formed in cereals from the proteins gliadin and glutenin which are insoluble in water but swell. The gluten forms during mixing, when the two substances are so closely adsorbed, bound together and cross-linked that they can no longer return to their original condition.

If the natural gluten content of a flour is too low, gluten obtained by extraction (vital wheat gluten) can be added to supplement it. See also wet gluten, gluten extension, gluten properties.

Gluten Extensibility Index

This is a method widely used in Eastern Europe for determining the extensibility of a ball of gluten. 4 g of wet gluten (with an approximate diameter of 10 mm) are placed on a flat plate and exposed to a constant force exerted from above by a disk-shaped die with a diameter of 36 mm. The index value is calculated from the distance travelled by the die (max. 10 mm) within 30 seconds. It is about 15 times the distance. Values below about 50 indicate short or strong gluten; higher values indicate a softer, more extensible gluten.

Gluten extension

Mechanical process for determining the extensibility of wheat gluten. A high degree of extensibility is usually desirable. A distinction is made between weakly extensible and elastically extensible glutens. The former are best for laminated doughs, especially hard biscuits and crackers, whereas the latter are more suitable for voluminous products such as bread and rolls.
In Eastern Europe extensibility is measured by the gluten extensibility indicator. Otherwise the instruments used are chiefly alveographs and extensographs.

Gluten Index

Wet gluten is forced through a specially constructed sieve in a Gluten Index Centrifuge. The Gluten Index is defined as the percentage of the wet gluten that passes through the special sieve of the centrifuge. The index characterizes the gluten quality as weak or strong quality.

Gluten properties

The properties of gluten are usually described as short, extensible, strong, weak or soft. A short gluten is plastic rather than extensible (it does not return to its original shape after deformation). A strong gluten can only be extended by applying a considerable force and is usually elastic too (it returns to its original shape). A weak gluten is easily deformed and is usually plastic too; often it is also short. A gluten is described as soft if it is easily deformed (weak) and extensible without returning to its original shape (plastic).

Guar gum powder

A hydrocolloid made from the seeds of a tropical plant. One of its applications is as a thickener for flan glaze, for which it is dissolved with sugar and water, then boiled. The guar gum, and thus the flan glaze, gels as it cools down.


A generic term for enzymes that split hemicelluloses, i.e. constituents of the cell walls of plants. Hemicellulases – often combined with amylase – are used as baking enzymes to improve the properties of doughs (machinability, stability) and optimize the finished product (volume, consistency, shelf-life).


A generic term for natural or synthetic polymers that dissolve or swell in water to form colloidal solutions.


A device developed by Mühlenchemie technicians in the mid 20th century to measure the moisture content of grain and flour.

Kneading tolerance

As the dough ferments, tiny gas bubbles form; the dough “rises”. These gas bubbles can be destroyed by kneading. The more gluten a dough contains, the more stable are the gas bubbles and the greater is its kneading tolerance. Emulsifiers, especially DATEM, and various enzymes increase kneading tolerance.

L-cysteine hydrochloride anhydrate

Stable, commercially available form of cysteine.


Generic term for phospholipids. Lecithin was initially a by-product of soy oil extraction that had to be removed in order to dewater the oil. Its technological significance was not realized until later. Lecithin is still obtained mainly from soy, but there is increasing use of alternative sources such as sunflower and rape seed. The lecithins from these three sources all have very similar baking properties.

Lecithinized wheat gluten

To obtain dry “vital” wheat gluten, the gluten is washed out of the flour by aqueous extraction and subsequently dried. During the drying process, extracted wheat gluten loses some of its functionality; its “vitality” decreases. Lecithin has a protective effect on proteins in general, shielding them against damage by thermal or chemical processes. The addition of lecithin to the extracted gluten before drying helps to maintain the latter’s vitality so that it has a better effect on the baking process (extensibility of the dough, volume yield).


In industrial flour processing, doughs are rarely worked by hand nowadays. Machines are used to give the dough the required consistency and shape. But unlike hands, machines do not (yet) have enough sensors to judge the condition of a dough precisely and adjust its properties as necessary so that it can be processed without difficulty. This means that suitable measures have to be taken to adjust the flour or the dough so that no problems arise during processing. Doughs must have good machinability; in particular they must not stick, but they must be pliable and also sufficiently stable nevertheless. It is in meeting these apparently contradictory requirements that the art of optimal flour improvement lies.


Micronutrients are vitally important nutrients – minerals and vitamins – that are effective in small or minute amounts and cannot be synthesized by the organism itself. They play an important role in many physical functions and have to be taken in with the food. The minerals are classified as macroelements (e.g. calcium, magnesium, sodium) or trace elements (such as chromium, iodine, selenium, iron, copper, zinc and fluorine). The body needs the macroelements in fairly high concentrations; they often serve as “building materials” for the organism. Trace elements and also vitamins are only of value to the body in low concentrations. Large overdoses may be toxic.

Mono- and diglycerides

Important emulsifiers for the production of baked goods. In particular they serve to maintain the softness of the crumb. The best effects are achieved with mono- and diglycerides that contain stearic or palmitic acid as fatty acids and also a large proportion of monoglycerides. This is the reason why distilled monoglycerides with a monoglyceride content of more than 90% are used.

Oxidizing agents

Oxidizing agents are substances that can take up electrons. In the closer sense of the term they are substances that can give off oxygen. In the world of flour, oxidizing agents are used to brighten the colour of the flour and the crumb (benzoyl peroxide) or stabilize the dough, thus enhancing the latter’s processing properties and increasing its baked volume (potassium bromate). Ascorbic acid is often mentioned in this connection, but in fact it is an anti-oxidant (reducing agent). The enzymes naturally present in the flour convert ascorbic acid into dehydroascorbic acid in the dough; this then has the oxidative effect for which ascorbic acid is used.


An enzyme of the hemicellulase family that degrades pentosans. Since the pentosans in wheat flour are mainly xylans, the pentosanases with an effect on the baking process mostly belong to the sub-family of the xylanases.


Polymers consisting of ß-1,4-linked pentoses (sugars with 5 carbon atoms, e.g. xylose, arabinose). Because of the chemical bond between the sugar molecules, the pentosans are classified as hemicelluloses. The pentosans of the flour are largely xylans (chains of xylose) with arabinose side-chains. For this reason they are also termed arabinoxylans. Flour pentosans bind about ten times their dry weight of water. This means that they and pentosan-degrading enzymes (pentosanase, xylanase) are extremely important for the condition of the dough.


Phospholipids are important for building up the cells of an organism. They have a double function as physiological agents in metabolism and as biological emulsifiers. Phospholipids are similar in structure to triglycerides (fats), but one fatty acid is replaced by a phosphate group. Most phospholipids also have a more or less large functional group (e.g. choline or serine). This structure makes them more polar (hydrophilic) than triglycerides and enables them to mediate between polar and non-polar substances: they are emulsifiers. The best-known phospholipid is probably lecithin. Whether naturally present in the flour or added subsequently, phospholipids have positive effects on the properties of the dough and on baked volume. They also help to maintain the softness of the crumb.

Potassium bromate

A powerful but slow-acting oxidizing agent with a very good effect on the stability of the dough and the volume yield of the baked products. Its use is no longer permitted in Europe and many other countries. Potassium bromate is increasingly being replaced by ascorbic acid and enzyme compounds. See also bromate substitute.

Potato disease

See ropiness.

Process control technology

Microprocessor-controlled systems have a control room from which all the machines are controlled centrally. This makes it possible to supervise and optimize the entire process. The SternMaid compounding plant in Wittenburg, Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, is equipped with such ultra-modern process control technology.


Proteases are enzymes that split protein. They break up amino acid chains and thus divide proteins into smaller units. In wheat doughs they cause softening. For certain types of product (e.g. biscuits and crackers) this is desirable and necessary to prevent the dough portions from shrinking after shaping and during baking.

Ready-mixed flours

Besides flour, ready-mixed flours contain other components that have been added according to a recipe in order to make a particular baked product. These added ingredients may be sugar in the form of glucose and lactose, milk or whey powder, and also fat. Ready-mixed flours enable the baker to produce specialities without having to store a large number of raw materials for this purpose.

Rheological laboratory

A laboratory with equipment for measuring the rheological properties of doughs. Mühlenchemie’s rheological laboratory is equipped to conduct measurements of gluten properties, wet gluten content, Falling Number (including milling in the case of grain samples) and the Gluten Index. It can also prepare farinograms, extensograms, amylograms and alveograms and measure the viscosity of wheat flour masses with various different instruments. For Eastern Europe, gluten extension is measured by the Gluten Extensibility Index. A Texture Analyser characterizes the structure of baked products and pasta.

Rheological optimum

The optimum condition of a dough, for example in respect of fermentation stability and kneading tolerance. Enzymatic factors are also important for producing very high quality baked goods. One of Mühlenchemie’s basic principles is therefore that:
- doughs must be within the rheological optimum.
- doughs must be within the enzymatic optimum.
- the rheological optimum and the enzymatic optimum must be properly balanced.


The science of rheology seeks to determine the basic rheological properties of substances and interpret changes in these under defined conditions of measurement. Basic rheological properties are strength, viscosity, elasticity and plasticity. In order to determine these properties, rheometry, a sub-discipline of rheology, uses a deforming force and measures the effects of this force on the material – in this case the dough – as its deformation. The deforming force may be of any magnitude, large or small: the measurements differ accordingly.


The heat-resistant spores of a very common bacterium, Bacillus mesentericus –also known as the potato bacillus – are responsible for causing bread to go bad as a result of ropiness, the so-called potato disease. After baking, the surviving spores germinate to form bacteria and degrade the crumb, which becomes increasingly liquid and draws out into slimy threads when the bread is broken.
The spores enter the flour from the field through the grain, but they may also find their way into the dough from infected walls and equipment at the bakery.

Rye sour

Sour dough made from rye flour.


The term means the settling of solids that are heavier than the liquid or gaseous medium surrounding them. To determine the sedimentation value of a flour, the protein of a flour suspension is precipitated (coagulated) using a suitable coagulant (e.g. lactic acid). The height of the protein sediment is then measured after a set time. This is the sedimentation value.

Self-emulsifying monoglycerides

To achieve optimum efficacy, monoglycerides first have to be hydrated (i.e. they must bind water). This process takes time, which can be shortened considerably by suitable physical preparation (spraying) and carrier materials. These preparations are termed self-emulsifying monoglycerides. Another way of speeding up emulsion is to combine them with other emulsifiers, in particular lecithin, as “mediators”. One example is Mulgaprot. But in this case it is not really correct to speak of self-emulsifying monoglycerides.

Sieve analysis

The classic sieve analysis of bulk material in powder form is being replaced more and more by laser diffraction measurement, which enables even very fine particles (smaller than 0.01 mm) to be determined reliably and quickly. Mühlenchemie uses both classic sieve analysis and a Particle Sizer (Malvern).


Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (sodium hydrogen-carbonate). When heated, or when it reacts with acids or salts of acids, it releases carbon dioxide and thus leavens the product.

Sodium and calcium stearoyl lactylate (SSL and CSL)

Emulsifiers (sodium and calcium salts of lactic acid esterified with stearic acid). Their main purpose is to improve the stability of the dough, increase baked volume and enhance the softness and shelf-life of the crumb. Unlike DATEM they are mainly used in products with a soft crust (e.g. hamburger buns).

Sour dough

Sour dough is used to leaven and acidify dough. It is made from a mixture of flour and water under the effect of heat, wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. These organisms enter a kind of symbiosis in the sour dough, and after a few days they require further nutrition in the form of flour and water. Nowadays so-called sour dough starters are often used to trigger the fermentation of sour dough. Starters are defined cultures of microorganisms with whose aid consistent quality can be achieved.

Surface moisture

Non-bound water on the surface of the dough. Bakers also experience surface moisture as stickiness.


Tapioca is a starch flour obtained from the cassava root (Latin: Manihot esculenta, also called yuca in some regions). It is sometimes used to reduce the average gluten content of flour in order to make it more suitable for use in biscuits, crackers or wafers. It can also be added to composite flour.

Tauber’s reagent

Used to detect ascorbic acid. Two separate solutions are mixed together in equal quantities immediately before use and poured over the wet Pekar slab. The ascorbic acid is then determined semi-quantitatively as blue spots.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management means that quality control does not only take place at the end of the production chain; every step is checked, from delivery of the raw materials to the end product. Total Quality Management is a process-oriented system. In TQM, quality is assessed according to the customer’s measurable requirements, so that any deviations can be eliminated by optimizing the process.


Triglycerides are animal or vegetable fats. Triglyceride molecules consist of a glycerol “backbone” to which three fatty acids are attached. The fatty acids may all be the same, or they may be different. Because of their structure, triglycerides are non-polar and therefore insoluble in water (hydrophobic). See also monoglycerides.

Visual display technology

In factories with process control technology it is important to be able to visualize the process in the control room. This is normally done with video screens and graphic representations of the process so that the controller can see at a glance whether all the machines are running properly.

Vitamin premixes

Baking premixes fortified with vitamins.

Werner’s reagent

Used to detect potassium bromate. Two separate solutions are mixed together in equal quantities immediately before use and poured over the wet Pekar slab. The potassium bromate is then determined semi-quantitatively as brown spots.

Wet gluten

Term for the sticky and elastic portion of the grain that remains when the starch and soluble constituents have been washed out of the flour. Wet gluten consists largely of protein and accounts for about 80 – 85% of the total protein content of the kernel. See also gluten.

Wheat gluten

See gluten.

Wheat sour

Sour dough made from wheat flour.


Xylanases belong to the pentosanase group of enzymes. The latter are capable of decomposing various substances present in the supporting structure of vegetable cell walls; in the case of xylanase this is xylan. Xylanase is used as a baking enzyme to improve the properties of the dough (extensibility, machinability, stability) and to optimize the finished product (volume).