Saturday, June 19, 2010

Off with your Bread!!!

So you wanna make some bread?  It seems easy enough, but what do the ingredients say about the integrity of bread?  If they stood alone could they do the infinite job of being BREAD?  I know the answer without even using a life-line. The answer is NO, each step is influenced by the other.
Flour: what roles does flour play?  Flour provides structure to the bread. Gluten in flour forms a network to trap the air bubbles and the starch in the flour helps to set the bread.  In breads that use yeast, we really want that stretchy web to trap the carbon dioxide and steam during baking.  Result, really spongy bread with lots of holes to trap BUTTER..:)
Fat: we all know this word, and it comes in so many great forms. In the bread making process fat covers the gluten particles, so they won't get lost in the mix it is similar to neon spandex on girls in my era(we know who we are) . This fat in bread gives it tenderness and "Where's the Butter?"
Sugar:the main function of sugar in bread is to provide food for the yeast, the more food, the more the yeast multiples and grows giving off carbon dioxide and alcohol, which gives the bread the "Where's the Butter?" moment. Sugar tenderizes the bread and prevewnts the gluten from forming.
 Eggs: We have learned from prior posts that eggs are a leavener, meaning it aids in the structure of bread.  The yolk adds fat, which we found out tenderizes, it aids in a smooth and even texture. Breads that contain eggs just have more depth of flavor and character.
Liquids: Liquids carry the flavor throughout the dough, it acts as the catalyst in gluten formation, it provides steam during baking and promotes tenderness.
Salt: carries a small role but a role nonetheless, it strengthens the gluten stands and adds flavor, it helps regulate the yeast so the bread does not rise too fast.
Yeast: Yeast a one-celled organism multiples and grows using available sugar and water, in the process giving off carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol(fermentation). We "punch down" the dough to help the yeast to decolonize, breaking up the little yeast colonies, giving the yeast more food and air, named the second rise.
Most breads are done when we think they are done.  It is when we over-think the process that we get paper weights. It should be golden brown, firm and when tapped with a finger sound hollow.  Read the recipe before you begin, have everything read before you start and remember it is just food.

                             A Bagel is a doughnut with the sin removed. ~ George Rosenbaum



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