Protease is an enzyme that breaks down protein molecules by hydrolyzing peptide bonds.
Enzymes are naturally present in all biological systems. They can be selectively isolated from plant, animals and microorganisms. Many bacterial and fungal proteases have been genetically modified or engineered.
Protease only works on protein molecules. Protease, like other enzymes, are sensitive to pH, temperature, moisture, ions and ionic strength, shearing and pressure. Protease functions best in the range 30oC to 40oC (86oF to 104oF) and is usually destroyed at temperatures above 45oC (113oF). Exoprotease hydrolyzes proteins into small amino acids, increasing color (through the Maillard reaction) and flavor. Endoprotease hydrolyzes proteins into simpler chains (multiple units of amino acids). This reduces the strength of the flour protein, therefore reducing mix time and elasticity of the dough, and increasing the extensibility and softness of the dough. Proteases are favorably used in the production of pizza crust