What Not To Do When Making Bread

What Not To Do When Making Bread – While chemistry teachers may regularly field questions about chemistry from Breaking Bad these days, baking bread is probably more likely to be on their list of recreational activities. Making bread is a seemingly simple process that basically involves mixing just four ingredients. However, there is much more chemistry than meets the eye; here we delve into the science to find out what’s going on in your bread.

The bread making process can be divided into four steps at a very simple level. First, the ingredients are mixed. The four main ingredients used to make bread are flour, water, yeast and salt. Combining these makes a dough, which is then kneaded before being left to bake. Sounds simple enough, right? Perhaps, but there is much more going on at the molecular level.

What Not To Do When Making Bread

What Not To Do When Making Bread

We begin our examination of the science of bread with flour. One of the most important components of flour are proteins, which often make up 10-15%. These include classes of proteins called glutenins and gliadins, which are huge molecules made up of large amounts of amino acids. These are collectively called gluten, a name we’re probably all familiar with.

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Without these proteins, making bread would be much more difficult. they are inert in the flour itself, but as soon as water is added to the mix, the fun begins. The proteins can then line up with each other and interact. They can form hydrogen bonds and disulfide cross-links between their chains, eventually forming a giant gluten network throughout the fermentation. Kneading the dough helps these proteins to curl up and interact more strongly with each other, strengthening the network.

Another ingredient that can affect the gluten network of dough is salt. It can help strengthen the gluten network, making the dough more elastic, and of course adds flavor to the final bread. Ascorbic acid, a compound better known as vitamin C, also helps strengthen the gluten network.

This mesh is vital to the bread being able to rise, but of course, the bread will not rise at all without one of the other ingredients. This, of course, is the yeast. Yeast contains enzymes that are able to break down the starch contained in the flour into sugar. first using amylase to break down starch into maltose and then maltase to break down maltose into glucose. This glucose acts as food for the yeast and it metabolizes it to produce carbon dioxide and ethanol.

However, not all of the sugar produced by this process is metabolized by the yeast. It can also be involved in some other chemical reactions during the baking process. In particular, it is involved in the Maillard reaction, a series of reactions between sugars and amino acids that occur rapidly above 140˚C. These reactions produce a variety of products that can impart flavor to bread as well as contribute to the brown crust of the bread.

The Best Way To Store Bread

However, back to yeast and let’s take a closer look at the products of its sugar metabolism. Ethanol is, of course, just the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, but you don’t have to worry about getting a little weak from eating a piece of bread because it’s forced out of the dough during the baking process. So is carbon dioxide, but before the dough is baked, it simply diffuses through the dough and enlarges the tiny air bubbles that already exist. This is another reason kneading the dough is important, as it ensures that there are plenty of those pre-existing bubbles.

How carbon dioxide is stored in bread has been the subject of some debate among scientists. A long-held explanation was that the gluten network helps trap carbon dioxide and prevent it from escaping the dough. However, it turns out that the picture is a bit more complicated than that. Although the gluten network is certainly involved, it turns out that the proteins and lipids in the dough are also involved, and can help stabilize the gas bubbles.

Of course, bread doesn’t always have to be made with baker’s yeast. Sourdough breads are another way to make loaves. Sourdoughs start with a starter that begins with a mixture of flour and water. The natural germs in the flour begin to grow, and if this mixture is regularly “fed” with more flour and water, you end up with a mix of bacteria and yeast. These yeasts are wild yeasts, a different type of baker’s yeast. For starters, they have to be more acid tolerant because of the acidic compounds produced by the bacteria, and they also differ in how they metabolize sugar.

What Not To Do When Making Bread

Whereas baker’s yeast will quite happily devour maltose, converting it to glucose before turning it into carbon dioxide and ethanol, the wild yeasts found in sourdough are unable to process maltose. Fortunately for them, the bacteria in the sourdough mix can, and since maltose is just two glucose molecules joined together, it produces food for both the bacteria and the yeast. This help is eventually returned by the yeast, as the bacteria can feed on any dead yeast cells. The end result is still the same, but the taste can sometimes be altered by bacterial metabolites; compounds such as lactic acid can sometimes add a sour taste.

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Sometimes we might want to cheat a little and resort to faster ways to get carbon dioxide into our bread. This is where baking soda and baking powder can help. Both of these contain sodium bicarbonate, a basic compound that decomposes in the presence of acidity, producing carbon dioxide as one of the products. However, there is a slight difference between the two. Baking soda only contains sodium bicarbonate, which can leave a bitter taste in bread if the acidity isn’t enough to break it down completely. Baking powder, on the other hand, also contains an acidic compound (usually cream of tartar, potassium bitartrate) that helps break down the bicarbonate after it’s mixed into the batter.

You may be wondering how this whole process works for gluten-free bread. After all, without the gluten network forming, your bread would look pretty flat. For gluten-free breads, use a gluten-free flour such as rice flour, which usually has xanthan gum added to it. This is a polysaccharide produced by certain bacteria that can help provide elasticity similar to gluten.

After your bread is cooked, if you don’t eat it in time, it will of course start to go stale. This is not due to moisture loss, but due to starch crystallizing and hardening over time. While this can be temporarily reversed by heating the bread, it doesn’t last long; fine if you’re going to eat it right away, but not if you’re trying to save a whole loaf for future use. In the habit of keeping your bread in the fridge? You are actually accelerating the aging process. experiments have shown that bread kept in a refrigerator at 7˚C goes as stale in one day as bread left outside at 30˚C in six days.

There is more to the science of bread than could be covered in this short post and graphic, but I’ve collected some additional links below for those interested in delving deeper into this fascinating area of ​​food science. In the meantime, next time you’re at the supermarket, you might want to look at the humble bread a little differently.

Easy No Knead Bread Recipe (best Flavor!)

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The graphic in this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. See site content usage guidelines. Emma is a former editor of The Kitchn and a graduate of Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. He is the author of True Brews and Brew Better Beer. For more cooking stories, visit her website

Let’s talk about sandwich bread. the loaves rising on the counter, the fresh smell of bread filling the house as they bake, and the anticipation of making a sandwich with that bread. So good.

What Not To Do When Making Bread

Yes, homemade bread is truly a glorious thing, except when it isn’t. Have you had problems with flat loaves, soggy middles, or pieces that fall apart when you slice? Here are some common mistakes to avoid when making sandwich bread.

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Breads made from under-kneaded dough often have no structure and either have holes in the middle or always fall apart when you try to slice the loaf. This is a common problem with no-knead bread, as the dough is often not worked enough to form a good gluten structure.

At the other end of the spectrum, over-kneaded dough results in dense, dry, and crumbly breads. This is more common with doughs kneaded with a stand mixer, as it is easy for a powerful mixer to overwork the dough.

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