Ingredients To Make Bread
When following bread recipes in this website you will find a few ingredients that are used on a regular basis. Such as leavens, liquids, salts, sugars and enhancing ingredients, such as eggs, butter and oils. Let's take a look at a few of these to help you make the best loaf/loaves of bread you can.
Liquids are always used in bread making. However different liquids can create a different consistency, flavor or look to a bread.
Water: Is the primary liquid used to dissolve yeast and to form bread/pizza doughs.
Milk: Can be used to create a tender softer crust when used instead of water.
Yogurt/Buttermilk: These liquids can be used to add flavor ( tangy, sour ) to any bread.
Powdered Milk: Can be use with water if milk is not available.
Other possible liquids used when making breads are coconut milk, beer, green tea, juices ….
NOTE*** When using any liquid in a bread recipe, always have your liquids at room temperature before using. Unless instructed otherwise.
Fats are also a primary ingredient in many breads. They not only add a richness orsoft crust and wonderful flavor, but can also help to keep your bread from spoiling longer. Many of the fats used are butter, oils, eggs and margarine.
NOTE*** When using fats in bread recipes, keep in mind that the fats coat the gluten strands, creating a barrier between the flour and yeast. This will cause the rising time for the recipe to be longer.
Sugars and Other Sweeteners:
Sugar helps to feed the yeast or add flavor to breads. White, brown (dark and light ) sugars can be used for both flavor and texture to any bread.
In some recipes malt extract, honey, molasses, maple syrup and corn syrup can be used to enhance flavor, texture and color.
NOTE*** Remember to much sugar can cause bread to rise to quickly and collapse. Be sure to follow recipes correctly.
In the world of bread making, yeast is the king of all leavens. This living organism is an essential ingredient. Yeast causes breads to rise by converting the natural sugars in flour to gases.
Four commonly used yeasts are the Cake yeast, dry yeast, instant yeast and sour dough starters. In this website you will usually see the dry and instant yeast used the most. ( In most of the step by step instructions I like to use instant yeast in my recipes ).
The cake yeast or fresh yeast is mostly used in commercial bakeries. This yeast usually comes in the shape of butter. It should be firm to the touch, moist and creamy-color, and smell yeasty. If you use this kind of yeast, it should be used in about 3 days or frozen for 3 months. This is the reason it's unlikely a home baker will ever use cake yeast.
Dry Active Yeast:
The traditional or ordinary dry active yeast comes in those little packages of three ( 1/4 oz sachets ). This is the yeast that many people are familiar with. This type of yeast will need to be reactivated with water prior to use. You would activate the yeast in lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Then allow to sit for about 10 minutes to wake up and start to bubble ( it's alive ).
Also known as Easy Blend (easy bake ), Fast Action ( quick ) or Instant yeast.
Instant yeast is the one I like to use most. It's easy to use and quick. Instant yeast has an ascorbic acid or vitamin C, which accelerates the action of the yeast during the fermentation process, allowing a quick rise. There is no need to activate the yeast first. Just sprinkle into the flour, to activate, no water needed. This yeast also comes in the 1/4 oz sachets or packets of three.
A sourdough starter can also be used to leaven bread. Making a starter does take time ( a week or more ) to make. This leaven adds a lot of flavor and many bakeries also use this type of leavening.
NOTE*** As a rough guide, one sachet = about 2 teaspoons (1/4 oz ) of instant yeast is equivalent to 1/2 oz of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry active yeast.
When making quick breads the rising agent changes to chemical leavens such as, baking powder, baking soda or cream of tartar. These leavening agents require the loaves to be baked immediately after mixing. Cream of tartar is used in combination with baking soda.
When water is added to these leavening agents, they instantly create air bubbles and lift the batter.
Salt: is used in most bread recipes. It helps to control the fermentation and to add flavor.
Table Salt: Dissolves quickly and helps the bread to have a longer shelf life not to mention better flavor.
Sea Salt: Same as table salt. It's just a preference.
Coarse Salt: Usually used as a topping on bread or baked pretzels to add a visual look or flavor.
NOTE*** When using salts in a recipe be sure to never add the salt at the same time as the yeast. The salt can kill the yeast.
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