Bread is the one of the simplest and yet most complicated of items to make. Most doughs consist of flour, water, salt and yeast. The art of making simple and complex doughs is understanding the nature of the item and what affects the finished product – gluten development and the fermentation of the leavener, yeast.
Types of Doughs
These doughs are low in fat and sugars.
- Hard and crusty breads – these are crust French breads, rolls, pizza doughs and hard rolls. These are the leanest of all doughs made.
- White and Whole wheat breads – these breads may contain some fats and sugar. They are softer doughs and usually have soft texture and crust.
- Grain breads - these types of bread are made from other types of flours and grains. They may contain additives that add acid and sweetness to the doughs i.e. rye, oat, flax seed and sprouted grains.
These doughs contain great amounts of fats and sugars, and also eggs. These additions give the breads a softer feel and richer taste. These types of doughs can be sweet or non-sweet depending on the amount of sugar that is added or toppings. Such breads include brioche, coffee cake, and dinner rolls.
These types of doughs have the fat rolled into the dough to create layers. This is done by rolling or pinning in the fat and folding the dough to create the many layers that make up the doughs. This process gives the doughs a flaky and buttery texture. Although there is some sugar in the doughs, the majority of the sweetness comes from the added fillings and toppings. The two main types are croissants and Danish however, some other breads can be finished in this style.
The production of bread
As in everything, there are specific steps to making breads. It is much more complex than just adding the ingredients to a bowl and stir. The process is a building block of steps that cannot be rushed - or done out of order. Each step is necessary to insure that the bread comes out as desired.
The 12 Steps of Yeast Doughs
- Scaling Ingredients
- Bulk Fermentation
- Dividing (scaling or portioning doughs)
- Preshaping or rounding
- Makeup and Planning
The recipes or formulas used in baking are exact and getting the amount of each ingredient is necessary. This is done in the bakeshop by weighing out the ingredients. Liquid can be measured by volume but with large quantity, it is more accurate to scale out each and every ingredient. Pay special attention to spices and salt. Salt plays an important role in the fermentation of yeast.
The purpose of mixing is to give even distribution of the ingredients and to form a smooth dough. This is also the beginning of the gluten formation. When mixing of the dough begins the flour, yeast and other dry ingredients are added to the bowl. Using the dough hook, they are mixed to distribute the yeast. The liquid is then added, and thus begins the development of the gluten. As the ingredients come together, they will begin to form a rough dough and pull away from the sides of the bowl. This is referred to as “take up”. The dough hook is mimicking the motion of hand kneading by folding and stretching the dough. This helps to from the gluten strands and align them into formation to aid in the rising of the dough.
This is the beginning of the fermentation of the yeast. They yeast will feed on the sugars and starches it will release carbon dioxide and alcohol. The gluten will work as a net to trap the gases and cause the dough to rise. During this time folding or punching of the dough will take place. The numbers of times the dough is folded will depend on the mixing stage used in the production of the dough. Longer mixing will have a shorter ferment and shorter mixing will have a longer ferment. The fermentation is part of the development of the dough. Improper fermentation time will affect the finished product. Over fermented dough will become hard and tough whereas under fermented dough will not have enough volume.
The dough is placed in a large container that will allow it to “grow” or expand. As it expands, the folds are then given to knock out the gases and allow the fermentation to continue. The dough is tempted to ensure that the ideal temperature is achieved which is normally 80 F. The dough is covered during this time to avoid air hitting it and forming a “skin” or crust that will ruin the texture of the dough. Some doughs can be oiled to avoid this.
As the dough ferments the yeast east and releases gases. These gases are what causes the expansion of the dough. The purpose of folding is to control this process and help further develop the gluten. Many things can affect the feeding of the yeast and too much carbon dioxide is just one. The folding releases the gases and allows the yeast to continue its process. During this release, the dough is folded thus realigning the gluten strands similar to the kneading of the dough. It also helps to keep the temperature of the dough constant.
Dividing or Scaling
This is done by cutting the dough and weighing them out to get and accurate size for the finished product. This is done in stages to ensure the integrity of the dough and finished product.
- Using a bench scraper, you cut the dough as close to the amount you need. Once on the scale you can adjust by adding more or removing the scale and cutting excess off.
- Rescaling the dough to check for accurate weight.
During the baking process, moisture is lost from the dough due to evaporation. This comes to about 10 to 13 % of the total weight of the finished product. To compensate for this you would add an extra 1 ½ to 2 ounces of dough for every pound of finished baked bread.
When using the Dutchess press (see chapter 1) the dough is divided and cut into 36 equal pieces. In this process, the loss moisture should be considered and made up as well.
Pre Shaping or Rounding
Once the doughs are scaled out, they need to be pre-shaped into a form that will allow for the next stage. Most bakers choose to pre-shape their doughs into round shapes. This round form allows for a smooth surface to the dough. The gluten strands are pulled tight and helps for continued fermentation. This also gives the baker the chance to feel the dough for texture and strength of the gluten strands. If the dough is slack or loose then you can give it a tighter shape. If the dough is tough and not to elastic give it a looser form. Try to get your pre-shaped dough as close to the final make up shape as possible.
Once the dough has been rounded, it needs to rest. This step can be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. This allows the gluten strands to relax and get ready for the final stages of the process. This is done on the bench or work area. The cough is covered with plastic warp but not tight. It will continue to ferment and rise.
Make up and panning
This is the point where the dough is shaped into the shape of the finished product. The shapes vary depending of the types of bread you are making: Rounds, oblongs, baguettes, dinner rolls. The way the dough is made up will depend on the desired crumb of the finished product. For a tight crumb make sure all gas bubbles are removed during this phase. If an open crumb is desired be gentle and to preserve the air holes. Any gas bubbles left in the dough will leave a hole in the finished product.
This occurs in two ways: proof box or in a warm dry place. If you are using a proof box, the temperature and humidity must be set according the formula of the type of bread you are making. High fat breads usually proof at a lower temperature to avoid the butter melting and leaching out of the dough. The dough should double in volume and spring back lightly when touched. If you attempt to degas your bread after it is proofed it will NOT rise in the oven. This is the end of the fermentation and rising stages. The amount of time a dough proofs will vary from 30 minute to 2 hours depending on the dough.
This is the stage of cooking the bread. The oven is set for the conditions needed to produce the finished desired result. The ovens used in class are the convection oven and the deck oven. Each cooks differently due to the type of oven. Breads are finished in different ways before going into the oven. They can be washed with water, egg wash, heavy cream, as well as other types of washes. These will affect the finished products crust and look. Both class ovens have the ability to inject steam to help with crust formation allowing for rapid expansion without splitting the crust. It also helps in heat distribution and helping with oven spring. Oven spring is the final rise that occurs in bread once it begins to cook. This then sets the structure of the bread as the temperature of the dough rises the yeast dies at 140 F. Scoring is another useful techniques used to avoid the splitting of the dough as it rises in the oven. Slits are made to the top of the dough with a lame (curved razor tool) or sharp knife.
Once the bread is cooked to the correct internal temperature (this varies for types of breads), then it is removed from the oven. The cooked bread is placed on a cooling rack. The cooling allows for many things to happen. Excess moisture is released from the bread as it cools and the alcohol created by the fermented yeast evaporates. Most breads are allowed to cool on the pan. Breads baked in loaf pans or other pans can be removed and set on its side so that moisture does not condense on the bottom causing the crust to become soggy.
The bread can be stored in moisture proof bags to prevent staling or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap in their pans. Before either occurs, the bread must be cooled completely.
- Wrapping or bagging hot or warm bread will cause moisture to form and thus making the bread wet and soggy.
- Once properly bagged, bread can be kept at room temperature if use occurs within a few hours or days, or frozen for longer periods.
- Putting breads in the refrigerator will increase the staling of the bread as will leaving them unwrapped on the rack.
- Breads that have a hard crust should not be wrapped, this will affect the texture of the finished crust.