Amylase: The Fabio of the Bread World 

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The Struggle:

Bread making was my first love in cooking. Waking up each day and getting the doughs started, there’s nothing quite like it. From proofing to shaping and finally baking it is a very rewarding process. With anything we look to make the final product more consistent and as close to perfection as possible. But what makes a “perfect” loaf of bread? Is it the crumb structure, a crisp or soft crust, or the eye appeal of a perfectly browned exterior. At the end of the day, all of these things give us that warm fuzzy feeling inside. It’s been said a million times before, we eat with our eyes first. That’s true, but we eat with every other sense before we use taste. That aroma of freshly baked bread hits your nose, you gaze over the smooth amber crust, you hear the crack of the crust as you slice into the bread, you feel the spring of the perfectly airy slice. All these things happen before you get to the final sense which is taste. Taste is just the punctuation at the end of this bready sentence. Now depending on whether or not you forgot the salt, that punctuation could be an exclamation point or two to five question marks. We know, this sounds like a dollar store romance novel with Fabio on the cover. Good news, there is a Fabio equivalent in the bread baking world, its name is Amylase. Amylase is the mysterious lover of bread that swoops it off its feet and changes its life for the better. But how does the amorous amylase work its magic?


“How does amylase work?” 


Where art thou?

Amylase is an enzyme that seduces the starches in flour, and turns them into sugars. These sugars then feed the yeast. A well fed yeast will then improve the rise of the dough. A well risen dough will provide a better shape. The extra sugars that are created will also lead to the most consistent coloring on the outside of the dough during the cooking process. So how do we get our hands on amylase so it can get its hands on our dough?


Amylase comes in two forms. The first being the straight up enzyme, amylase. It comes in a liquid form and can be added to the liquid in any bread recipe. It should be used in a very low ratio (about 0.1-0.25%) to the total weight of the flour in the recipe. The second is diastatic malt powder. Diastatic malt powder is an easy to use ingredients that can be added directly into the flour. It should be added in a ratio of 1/2 – 1 teaspoon per cup of flour used in the recipe. This is an easy to use scaled amount that works perfectly for doughs. Diastatic malt powder is made from sprouted grains that are dried and ground to a powder. If you are going to use amylase for bread baking purposes only I suggest diastatic malt powder. But if you want to exchange one for the other just simply used the ratios above. 


The lover’s quarrel with amylase is that it is an equal opportunity starch lover. If it’s a starch amylase will give it the sexy side eye and turn it into sugars. This goes for things like chickpeas for hummus and pinto beans for refried beans. In these applications the amylase breaks down the starch into sugars and in return gives a smoother final product. Starch molecules are large… well large in the sense of molecules. Our tongues can sense even one starch molecule. We like to describe this as “grittiness”. Sugar molecules are much smaller than starch and provide a smoother mouthfeel. Ask-A-Chef: the science of rheology is forthcoming sometime within the next decade… promise. 


But as with any love story it must come to an end. As the bread is heated it must say goodbye to its enigmatic enzyme. The amylase will deactivate as its heated leaving the once young and naive dough’s life changed as it becomes a fully grown bread. So shed a tear before you devour your next loaf of bread. Create your own love story by making one of the recipes below, or become the author of your own and share it with us.


Ready to get Cooking?

Give our Slam Dunk Donuts, Bagels on the Brain, and Soft as a Cloud Potato Rolls recipes a try!


Psst… there’s a better way to donut! We’ve tested and tested until we came up with the perfect tender and light fried confection that will leave you sated but not weighted. Love mornings again by trying one of our glazes and pair it with a mug of hot strong coffee.

Bagels are easily one of our favorite breakfast foods. They’re satisfyingly tasty both plain and simple, or everything’d up until they’re ready for the Met Gala. We use a bit of diastatic malt powder to get our bagels red carpet ready with an even browning and perfect chew.

These tender, fluffy potato rolls are pull apart soft, yet still dense enough to hold their shape with the greatest of ease, even when generously book-ending our gut-busting bacon boursin smash burger. This easy recipe takes advantage of amylase’s ability to break down starches to yield a heavenly texture and add a mild flavor that uplifts any burger or sandwich.




  • Hi. I am a beginner or new to making homemade bread using my bread machine and have also experimented making it without using the bread machine.
    I love the Bauernbrot (German Farmer’s Bread) at Lidl’s and would love to be able to make this bread.
    I now have on hand the Diastatic Malt Powder, German Spice Blend, farine de Blé which is suppose to be No.405 Flour, and Organic Einkorn 100% Whole Wheat Flour.
    There’s no directions regarding how to use the Diastatic Malt Powder. The only instructions on back says use 1/2 to 1 tsp. per cup of flour. My question is, Do you mix a certain amount of water and/or use cold/warm water, if warm water, what temp and do you have to let it sit for an amount of time to make the starter or can you use it right after mixing?
    If you can help, it would be greatly appreciated. Making homemade bread is definitely an art and very challenging. I would love to be able to conquer this challenge. I’ve had to throw away some bread from my experiments and some have been good.
    I’d love to be able to make the Farmer’s German Bread, Artisan Bread, and Sour Dough Bread.
    Can you help me?
    Thanks in advance for your help and inspiration!
    Linda Mercer
    North Carolina

    • Diastatic malt powder is easy to use, just mix it into your flour at the recommended ratios and proceed as usual with your recipe.

  • damjan tevdovski
    May 29, 2020 12:11 pm

    Hi I am baking cornbread which is mixed with flour and corn meal but no yeast. How would I use this for my product?

    • It should be used the same way it is used for yeasted breads. The amylase will still do its job of converting starch to sugars, but it wont give the bread any rise since there is no yeast to feed on the sugar. The rise in corn bread comes from a chemical leavener.

  • Amateur Bread Guy
    June 17, 2020 10:35 am

    The components that make up diastatic malt powder are: malted barley flour, dextrose, and wheat flour. My understanding is that the malted barley flour contains the amylase enzymes, but what purpose does the added dextrose serve if the starch in the recipe will be converted into sugar by the amylase? Also, what is the role of the wheat flour in this process? Lastly, would it be possible to subtitute sugar in a bread recipe (e.g. bagels) that otherwise calls for diastatic malt powder since the additional sugar would essentially give the yeast more to feed on and thus improve the rise of the bread? Thanks in advance!

    • Not entirely sure on the presence of dextrose, possibly it’s to start boosting the rise of the dough until the amylase does its job. Wheat flour may be to make the malt powder free flowing. As for substituting the Diastatic malt powder for sugar, no the diastatic malt powder does a lot more than just help with browning. It helps with softening the crumb of the bread.

  • After reading this, I purchased some LD Carlson Amylase powder at the local brewing supply. I made a wheat/rye bread with about 750g of flour, and added a scant 1/16 tsp to the flour. It was a disaster! The inner crumb remained gummy and sticky. This must have been some concentrated stuff, or it’s just not smart to use with rye bread. OTOH, it tasted really good with a brown, shattery crust.
    Any tips on how to measure the practical strength of one’s batch of Amylase?
    The only information on the packet is to “add between 0.5 and 1 tsp to every 20 litres of mash for improved fermentability.”


    • There’s no easy way to convert powder amylase to liquid amylase since every supplier will be different. We recommend trying our Amylase.

  • It is great blog post. Helpful and Informative tips. I am always read your blog. I like it. Thanks for sharing these information with us.

  • Loretta J Stiffler
    February 9, 2022 10:03 am

    I’m looking to use Wang Powdered Amylase to make cultured vegetables. Cannot find recipes for this. Could you please provide a base recipe? Thanks!

    • Hi, we are unfamiliar with that product, as we do not carry it. We cannot provide a base recipe with it. Sorry, I wish we could be of more help.

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