Bread facts

July 15, 2009 RENU

  1. Comes in 1000’s of forms.
  2. All involve cooking milled grains+h20.
  3. Range from thinnest flatbreads to fluffiest brioche.
  4. Matzoh is amazingly simple as flour+h20 baked till crisp.
  5. Raised breads, on the other hand, involve the complex interactions betwn flour & leaveners that give them their porous, tender quality.
  6. Leaveners come in 2forms: baking powder/soda & yeast.
  7. Baking powder/soda work quickly, relying on chemical reactions betn acidic & alkaline compounds to produce CO2 necessary to inflate dough or batter. They r used for delicate structure, ones that rise quickly as CO2 is produced, such as quick breads like cornbread & biscuits.
  8. Yeast, on the other hand, is a live, single-celled fungus. There are about 160 species of yeast & many of them live all around us. Comes in little paper pkts as beige granules. It lies dormant until it comes into contact with warm water. Once reactivated, begins feeding on the sugars in flour & releases CO2 that makes bread rise @ a much slower rate than b.powder or soda. Yeast also adds many of the distinctive flavors & aromas we associate with bread.
  9. But leavening agents would just be bubbling brews without something to contain them. Here’s where flour comes in. There are lots of diff types of flour used in bread, but wheat flour is most commonly used in raised bread is wheat flour. This is because wheat flour contains two proteins, glutenin and gliadin, which, when combined with water, form gluten. As you knead the dough, the gluten becomes more and more stretchy. This gum-like substance fills with thousands of gas bubbles as the yeast goes to work during rising.

Entry Filed under: Kitchen science

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