Baking Ingredients

You don’t need to keep too many ingredients on hand to bake at any given time. Since every day might be the right day to bake.

 

Yeast

Yeast is the heart of the bread-making process. It’s the essential ingredient that makes the dough rise and gives home-baked bread its wonderful taste. Other ingredients are added to complete the reactions that result in a perfectly baked loaf. In each yeast packet, there are thousands of living plant-like microorganisms. When activated by warm liquid, and fed by sugar or starch, the yeast releases tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. This gas is what makes the dough rise and achieve its light texture after baking.

 

Flour

Wheat is the most common type of flour used in bread baking. It includes all-purpose flour, bread flour and whole wheat flour. Wheat is rich in gluten, a protein that gives the dough its elasticity and strength. When yeast and flour are mixed with liquid and then kneaded or beaten, the gluten forms and stretches to create a network that traps the carbon dioxide bubbles produced by the yeast.
Recipes with whole wheat flour have less gluten and make denser loaves. That’s why these recipes generally require some all-purpose flour which increases the gluten and makes lighter, taller loaves.

 

Liquids

Water
is the most important liquid because it does 2 critical things:
It dissolves and activates the yeast.
It blends with the flour to create a sticky and elastic dough.

Milk, buttermilk, cream or juice

may be added to enhance the flavour or texture. Only warm liquids should be added to dry ingredients in a recipe because:

– A too-cool liquid will slow or stop yeast action.
– A too-hot liquid will destroy the yeast and prevent it from rising.
– Ideal temperature ranges are 38°C–43°C, when yeast is dissolved directly in water; 49°C-54°C when undissolved yeast is added to dry ingredients.

 

Salt

Salt is an important ingredient in bread baking because it slows rising time allowing the flavour of the dough to develop, and it adds to the flavour of the baked product. For best results, we do not recommend omitting the salt in a yeast recipe.

 

Egg

Eggs add food value, colour and flavour to breads. They also help make the crumb fine and the crust tender. Eggs add richness and protein. Some recipes call for eggs to be used as a wash, which adds colour.