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Baking Essentials - Ingredients

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Chemical leavens - These leavens are used as the rising agents in the Quick Bread recipes.

© Provided by DKBooks

Photo: Chemical leavens - These leavens are used as the rising agents in the Quick Bread recipes. © Provided by DKBooks Chemical leavens - These leavens are used as the rising agents in the Quick Bread recipes.

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Ingredients

Breadmaking involves just a few simple ingredients, all of equal importance. Leavens cause a dough to rise by creating bubbles that expand the gluten strands in the dough. This is not possible without the presence of liquid, which transforms the flour and yeast into a dough. Sugar encourages the dough to rise, while salt inhibits the process. Enrichments – such as butter, oil, and eggs – allow the baker to vary a bread’s flavor, texture, and appearance.


Leavens

Yeasts

Yeast is the commonly used leaven in breadmaking. It is a living organism that converts the natural sugars in flour to gases. Cake yeast is available from the bakery section of most supermarkets. It should be used within 1–2 days of purchase, since its freshness can be unreliable. Dry and instant yeast are more concentrated and long-lasting; use by their expiration date.


Dry yeast

Activate in lukewarm water before adding to the flour.


Cake yeast

Dissolve in lukewarm water before adding to the flour.


Instant yeast

Sprinkle into the flour; activate by adding liquid.


Chemical leavens

When moistened with liquid, baking powder and baking soda instantly create air bubbles, which act as the leaven in a quick bread batter. This requires the loaf to be baked immediately. Cream of tartar is used in combination with baking soda.


Liquids

Liquid is fundamental to breadmaking. Liquid activates the yeast when it is at the correct temperature, and it gives life to the flour by transforming it into a dough. For a loaf with a very tender crumb, water can be replaced with milk. Buttermilk and yogurt can be used interchangeably to produce a bread with a moist, almost cake-like texture. Extra liquid can be added to a dough when it is needed to achieve the dough consistency specified in a recipe.

Liquid is fundamental to breadmaking. Liquid activates the yeast when it is at the correct temperature, and it gives life to the flour by transforming it into a dough. For a loaf with a very tender crumb, water can be replaced with milk. Buttermilk and yogurt can be used interchangeably to produce a bread with a moist, almost cake-like texture. Extra liquid can be added to a dough when it is needed to achieve the dough consistency specified in a recipe.

Water

Milk

Yoghurt

Buttermilk


Water

The primary liquid used to dissolve yeast and to form a bread dough.


Milk

Creates a tender crumb when used in place of water.


Yogurt

Adds a tangy flavor and a moist texture to a bread.


Buttermilk

Can be made from skim milk and lemon juice.


Salts

Salt is used in most bread recipes to control the rate of fermentation and to add flavor. The presence of salt in a dough inhibits fermentation, which strengthens the developing gluten. This results in a bread with a stable crumb, a long shelf life, and more taste than breads made without it.

Salt is used in most bread recipes to control the rate of fermentation and to add flavor. The presence of salt in a dough inhibits fermentation, which strengthens the developing gluten. This results in a bread with a stable crumb, a long shelf life, and more taste than breads made without it.


Fine salt

Dissolves well and is best for making bread dough.


Coarse salt

Sprinkled over an unbaked loaf, this makes a flavorful topping.


Sugars

Sugar can accelerate the fermentation process of bread dough by providing additional food for an active yeast culture. However, modern yeasts do not need sugar to become active. Sugar is no longer a necessary ingredient in bread recipes, but it is used to enhance a bread’s flavor, texture, and crust color.

Sugar can accelerate the fermentation process of bread dough by providing additional food for an active yeast culture. However, modern yeasts do not need sugar to become active. Sugar is no longer a necessary ingredient in bread recipes, but it is used to enhance a bread’s flavor, texture, and crust color.


Granulated sugar

The most commonly used sugar for making bread.


Malt extract

Made from malted wheat or barley, this encourages active yeast.


Molasses

Adds a sweet, slightly bitter flavor and a dark golden color to bread.


Honey

Honey melts well when used for making bread.


Enriching ingredients

Fats are the primary enriching ingredients that when used in a bread recipe change the character of the resulting dough. The fat coats the gluten strands, creating a barrier between the flour and the yeast, which slows down both the fermentation and the rising time. In a recipe calling for a large amount of fat, the enriching ingredient or ingredients will be incorporated into the dough after an initial period of rising. In general, breads made with enrichments have a soft, tender crumb and become more cake-like the higher the proportion of butter and eggs added. Select only the best-quality enrichments for breadmaking.

Fats are the primary enriching ingredients that when used in a bread recipe change the character of the resulting dough. The fat coats the gluten strands, creating a barrier between the flour and the yeast, which slows down both the fermentation and the rising time. In a recipe calling for a large amount of fat, the enriching ingredient or ingredients will be incorporated into the dough after an initial period of rising. In general, breads made with enrichments have a soft, tender crumb and become more cake-like the higher the proportion of butter and eggs added. Select only the best-quality enrichments for breadmaking.

Butter

Vegetable Oil

Olive Oil

Eggs


Butter

Use only unsalted butter when enriching a bread dough.


Vegetable oil

Use a light, neutral oil like sunflower.


Eggs

Choose fresh eggs with undamaged shells for making enriched doughs.


Olive oil

Use a high-quality olive oil with a fruity fragrance and distinctive flavor.

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