Friday, February 26, 2010

Baking Ingredients

Baking Ingredients

Making bread will involve a variety of ingredients and tools. Understanding the effects of each one will ensure that you make bread that is flavorful and of good quality. You may be surprised to know that some of the most common ingredients can change the nature of the bread drastically even with mild application. You can acquire these in many outlets, the internet and through local dealers. Here are some more tips about baking ingredients.

On Sweeteners
Liquid sweeteners help provide more taste to the bread. Honey and molasses are some of the most common options. Sweeteners provide moistness to the bread as well, giving it a better appearance and longer shelf-life. Sweet things also feed yeast. You can also use barley malt syrup. When using honey, be careful about using very high temperatures, since it can scorch and brown the bread. 1/3 cup of honey for every 2 loaves is recommended.

About Salt
Salt generally boosts the flavor of the bread and manages the fermentation process. Bread without salt becomes flat and tasteless. Do not add salt to the liquid wherein the yeast is dissolving since this can prevent yeast growth. You can use real salt, earth mineral salt or unrefined sea salt. Use 1 tablespoon for every 2 loaves. A lot of recipes require less.

Other Present Ingredients
Lecithin comes from soybeans and helps keep bread soft and moist. It slows down the oxidation of the liquid components and functions as a binder. Lecithin appears in liquid, granular or powdered form. 1.5 tablespoons of granular or liquid per loaf is enough as a binder. If you use the powdered form, make sure to follow the guidelines written on the can.

Malt, barley malt syrup or diastatic malt powder are sweet derivatives of toasted barley. These provide nutrition and boost texture, shelf life and appearance. Exchange 1 tablespoon of sweetener in the recipe together with 2 tablespoons of syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of powder. If you put in too much, your bread can become gummy, very sweet or bitter and dense. Vital wheat gluten or gluten flour is taken from high protein wheat. It also serves as a binder, resulting to dough becoming more elastic.

If the flour is lower than 16% protein, you need to add more gluten. Gluten also aids in the compensation of damage done to bread gluten because of the jagged edges of the bran, happening during the milling procedure. 1 to 2 tablespoons for every loaf is adequate. Too much gluten flour will lead to bread becoming rubbery and tough.

Final Ingredients
Oats or oatmeal provides added moistness and crunch to bread. This will lead to good toasting bread. You can add 1 cup of rolled oats for every 2 loaves. Pour 1 to 2 cups of boiling water over the rolled oats and allow to cool. Whey in liquid or powdered form is a dairy by-product. It contains a lot of milk sugar, protein and minerals. It also helps in the browning process and sweetens the bread a little.

Happy baking,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bread Chemistry

Bread Chemistry

If you want to successfully make bread, you have to know more about its composition and chemistry. There are different ingredients that have relative effects to the process. Choosing the right ones will result to delicious bread with good form that keeps for several days or weeks. You have to learn the balance between the ingredients to get the most benefits possible.

About Bread Chemistry
The amount of flour and water is very important when making bread, since these change the crumb and texture of the bread. Professional bakers use a system of percentages called Bakers' Percentage when following recipes and making formulations. They measure all the ingredients according to weight instead of volume. Measuring by weight becomes more accurate and consistent, compared to volume measuring. Dry ingredients are also easier to measure when weighed.

Flour always has 100% and all other ingredients get a percentage of that amount according to weight. The common table bread in America uses about 50% water, leading to light and finely textured bread. A lot of artisan bread formulas also have 60% to 75% water. In yeast bread types, high water percentages lead to CO2 bubbles, plus a coarser bread crumb. One pound of flour will result to a regular loaf bread or 2 french loaves.

Knowing Bread Flour
Flour is a product created from grain which has been ground into a powdery consistent form. Flour gives the primary structure to the final baked bread. Common available flours are created from barley, maize, rye and other grains. Wheat flour is the most commonly used for breads, with each of the grains giving protein and starch to the resulting product.

Wheat flour, aside from its starch, also has 3 water soluble protein groups, globulin, albumin, proteoses and 2 non-water soluble protein groups called gliadin and glutenin. When flour mixes with water, the water-soluble proteins dissolve, which trigger gliadin and glutenin to create the structure of the remaining dough. Glutenin creates strands of long thin and chain-like molecules when kneaded, while gliadin creates bridges between glutenin strands. The networks of strands create by the 2 proteins are called gluten. Gluten boosts the quality of the dough.

About Bread Liquids
Water or any other liquid can be used to create the flour and turn it into dough or a paste. The volume of liquid needed will change between recipes, although a ratio of 1 cup of liquid to 3 flour cups is basic for yeast breads. Recipes using steam as a main leavening procedure can have liquid content in excess of 1 part liquid to 1 part flour according to volume. Aside from water, other liquids can be used such as fruit juice, dairy products and orbeer. These can provide added fats, sweeteners and leavening components.

Bread Recipes
Bread recipes will differ, but it is important that you stick to the ratios provided. You will find that later on, you can change the amounts slightly to get the right consistency, flavor and texture that you prefer. Some countries have varying components to provide more uniqueness and creativity to the mix.
Happy baking,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bread Leavening Process

Bread Leavening Process

Leavening is a very important part of bread making so that you can get bread that is both chewy and tasty. You should understand how it works, since breads among different cultures generally use the same technique. Some people also serve unleavened bread, especially in the Middle East. You will appreciate yeast more as you go through the steps. Here are some tips on how to begin.

Bread Leavening
Leavening is the process of putting gas to dough during or before you bake to create lighter and more chewable bread. Most of the bread eaten in the West is leavened, although there are also unleavened breads that have symbolic use in Judaism and Christian churches. The bread chemical leavening is a basic technique that incorporates gas-producing chemicals.

There are a couple of common methods. The first method involves the use of baking powder or a self-rising flour the also includes baking powder. The second method involves adding an acidic ingredient like baking soda and buttermilk. The reaction of the soda and the acid leads to gas. Chemically leavened breads are referred to as soda breads and quick breads. The technique is usually done to make sweet breads, muffins and banana bread.

Yeast and Leavening
Several breads are leavened using yeast, a kind of fungus having only a single cell. The yeast used to leaven bread is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is the same species used to brew alcoholic beverages. The yeast will ferment carbohydrates in the flour and any sugar, thereby leading to carbon dioxide. A lot of bakers in America leaven the dough using commercially made baker's yeast. Baker's yeast provides you the benefit of creating quick, uniform and reliable results, since it comes from pure culture.

More on Yeast
The baker's yeast and sourdough method of baking bread typically follow a similar pattern. Water is mixed with salt, flour and the leavening agent. Other additions like fats, spices, seeds, herbs and fruits are not needed to bake bread, but are also used often. The mixed dough is allowed to rise 1 or more times so bakers will punch down the dough and allow it to rise again and again. The loaves are formed and the bread is ultimately baked inside the oven.

Several breads are created from straight dough, so all ingredients are combined in a single step. The dough is baked after the rising period. Dough can also be made using the starter method, when some of the water, flour and leavening are mixed 1 day or so before baking. These are allowed to ferment for 1 night. During baking, all other ingredients are added and the rest of the process is similar to straight dough. A more flavourful bread with better texture is made.

Steam Leavening
Rapidly expanding steam created while baking can leaven the bread. The method is both basic but unpredictable. The popover is the most common steam-leavened bread. Steam-leavening can be unexpected since steam cannot be created until the bread is baked. Regardless of the agents, steam leavening can be done. Agents include sourdough, egg snow, soda powder and yeast.

Happy baking,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yeast 101

Yeast 101

There are 2 kinds of dry yeast instant yeast and regular active dry yeast. These can be used alternately depending on the needs of the baker and the kind of bread you want to make. There are some advantages between the two. You can also boost the standard yeast and bread recipes and formulations by altering the yeast. You will find that the characteristics of the bread also changes as you make the necessary adjustments.

Yeast Introduction
Instant yeast is also called quick rise, rapid-rise, fast rising or bread machine yeast. This kind has the benefit of boosting rising time. Compared to active dry yeast, the dough gets to rise only in half the time. The standard yeast bread formulations can be enhanced by alternating the yeast inside the recipe. Instant yeast is ground more finely and can absorb moisture in a smaller amount of time. It quickly changes sugars and starch to carbon dioxide, the little bubbles that cause the dough to stretch and expand.

About Active Dry Yeast
Active dry yeast is also known as compressed yeast or cake yeast. Prepare 1 package of dry active yeast. This is equal to about 1/4 ounce or 2.25 teaspoons. A 4-ounce jar of active dry yeast is equal to 14 tablespoons. 1 cube or cake of compressed yeast or fresh yeast is equal to 1 package of active dry yeast. Active dry yeast possesses a larger particle size compared to the instant active type, making it vital to proof water before using. The recommended water temperatures will change depending on the manufacturer, although it is usually between 100 to 115 degrees F.

You can store active dry yeast longer (about 1 year) if not opened at room temperature. It will also have a longer shelf life if frozen. You can put it directly inside the freezer in its vacuum sealed pack. If frozen, you can directly use it without thawing.

Opened active dry yeast can keep longer than 6 months in the refrigerator and about 12 months inside the freezer. You should store yeast in its original container with the open flap folded closed in a resealable plastic bag. It can lose its power by as much as 10% every month if only stored at room temperature and opened without the safety outer container.

Instant Yeast
1 envelope of instant yeast is equal to 1.25 ounce or 2.25 teaspoons. 1 cube or cake of compressed yeast is equal to 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of instant yeast. To exchange bread machine or instant yeast for active dry yeast, you can use 25% less instant yeast compared to active dry yeast. Instant dry yeast does not necessarily have to be active by warm liquid. The yeast has been made from various strains of yeast to make breads. Rapid rise yeast is more finely granulated compared to active dry yeast, so it cannot be dissolved in water first. It can placed straight to the dry ingredients. It is a good choice among bread machines.

Instant active yeast is added to dry ingredients. The liquid part of the recipe's ingredients should be warmed to about 120 to 130 degrees F to make the dough. The bread recipe will only need one packet of instant dry active yeast to rise. The first rise is substituted by a 10-minute rest. You do not have to punch the dough in after. The second rise is after the dough is shaped into a loaf.

Happy baking,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Freshly Milled Grains

Freshly Milled Grains

Bread baking is both an art and science. You have to understand the process, as well as the ingredients you are using to make the healthiest and freshest breads possible. You may not realize that time is a very important factor to consider to avoid rancidity and other problems when milling and baking. Here are some tips about freshly milled grains and how you can prepare these to get the best results.

About Milled Grains
There are 25 vitamins, proteins and minerals, plus high fiber from freshly milled flour of whole grain berries. Since grain is naturally preserved inside its shell, it is vital to preserve the entire grain until the final moment to get the most nutrients possible. Natural occurring vegetable oils are encapsulated so that these do not spoil quickly in the whole grain kernel.

As soon as these are milled, flour can get rancid in a short time, because vegetable oils are released. A number of studies present that vitamin loss happens within 3 hours after milling. To make the healthiest breads, you have to mill and bake within 3 hours. Flours left on the shelf for several months have already lost parts of their C and B complex vitamins.

Durum Wheat, Hard Wheat and Soft Wheat
Durum wheat contains high levels of protein, although these create lemon yellow mealy flour referred to as Semolina, such as the one used for making past. Kamut can also be used to make pasta. Hard white spring wheat, referred to as Prairie Gold and Golden 86 can also be used to make bread. This is a hybrid, wherein the bitter compounds of the bran are bred out. The grain is lighter and sweeter, making it an ideal ingredient in making pizza dough and French bread. Soft white winter wheat is referred to as pastry wheat and is used for cookies, pies, pastries, biscuits, muffins and cakes.

The high gluten grains are kamut, spelt and hard wheat. These result in high rising breads containing high levels of protein. Hard wheat can also make yeast bread. Kamut grain and spelt grain lead to yeasted breads. There are several other nutritional grains, although these should be mixed with wheat to create yeast bread.

More on Grains
Changing the grains used can lead to a certain recipe. For example, 10% to 20% of rice flour results to crunchier cookies. Mixing soft white wheat and red wheat 2:3 leads to soft yeasted rolls. Mixing oat flour and soft wheat 1:3 leads to cake flour ideal for a very delicate chiffon cake. Other flours like grains or beans can be substituted for wheat flour in bread recipes, in turn, presenting its own special features. Spelt and kamut do not have adequate gluten inside to successfully raise yeast bread. You can add 1/6 cup of wheat flour to the mix to get high rising breads.

On Wheat Flour
Wheat flour has the highest gluten, a type of protein. It is also that portion of the grain that leads to elasticity, when kneaded. The substance trapping the carbon dioxide provided by the fermenting yeast provides rise and texture to the bread.
Happy baking,