So, to continue on from my previous post: the carbohydrates are used as fuel by the yeast, the proteins bond to form the all important gluten strands, and the minerals are used to strengthen the gluten strands. The oil helps to maintain moisture thus keeping your bread softer for longer.
Delving a bit deeper into the science of bread making (sorry!), something happens when water is added to flour and that is the formation of gluten. Gluten is formed by the bonding of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is an elastic protein that can be really stretched to form long strands. The more it is worked, the longer and stretchier it becomes. These strands form a complex mesh which helps to trap carbon dioxide bubbles produced by yeast, thus creating gas bubbles inside your dough. This is the process you are encouraging when kneading your dough, so as you can hopefully appreciate, well kneaded dough is a prerequisite for a well-formed loaf.
This is just a quick post as I am quite busy today, so next time I will describe the main types of flour and what the differences are. Until then…
Bread only has four basic ingredients although others can be added. The four main ingredients are flour, yeast, salt and water.
Flour is by far the most important ingredient so try to buy the best organic flour you can afford. Wheat prices have soared recently, but remember, the cost of a loaf made at home is roughly half that of shop bought bread.
Check for any additives especially with white flour, as they may have bleaching agents added to make them whiter – how pointless! If you can find it, organic stoneground flour is best.
Wheat flour is the most common type of flour in the UK. A grain of wheat is actually a seed consisting of 3 parts: bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the tough outer skin, the germ is the embryonic wheat plant and the endosperm is used as a food source by the germ in early development. The bran is a rich source of protein, the germ a good source of vitamins, and the endosperm a great source of carbohydrates, plus some protein, minerals and oil.
Why is this important? Well, all these components have an effect on the bread making process, and as a scientist myself I like to understand what is going on during the process, and in this way you will give the whole task more respect. Also, understanding what your kneading is doing will almost certainly make you a better baker. I will explain a little more next time…
Well last weekend we had a fair bit of snow up where I live and this is the perfect excuse to stay indoors and get baking!
So that is exactly what I did, baking up a batch of cheese topped tomato and herb rolls.
These were quickly followed by a couple of tasty white loaves.
What excuse (if any) do you need to get your apron on? I’d love to know.
Till next time……