The importance of the different ingredients in making homemade bread
Types of flour
Type 55 wheat flour traditionally used in cooking for pushed or leavened doughs such as brioches or savarin dough and of course, traditional French white bread. Rye flour which comes in variable proportions in the manufacture of country bread or rye bread also called “black bread”. Type 80 or 110 wheat flour (brown or wholemeal) which is used in the manufacture of brown or wholemeal bread.
Sourdough and yeasts
The organic yeast is composed of billions of micro organism (fungi) that eat, consume oxygen, sugars, multiply, causing fermentation and exhale carbon dioxide but the process is long and requires a minimum of time grows . It can come in many forms. It is very important to differentiate them since the process of using these yeasts is not the same depending on whether it is lyophilized or dehydrated or fresh .
Sourdough is a dough in which naturally present germs have been allowed to develop. These germs include yeasts and acidifying bacteria that produce lactic acid and acetic acid.
Yeast sourdough, also called poolish, is a pre-fermentation composed of flour and lukewarm water (in equal quantities) and fresh baker’s yeast. Personally, I also add a pinch of sugar to activate the yeast.
It must be drinkable and sufficiently hard because the minerals (calcium salts) in solution help strengthen gluten. Water that is too soft will lead to sticky, sagging dough. It should also be lukewarm (around 30 ° C) because the yeasts do not thrive in cold water.
It brings flavor of course, but it also improves the mechanical qualities of the dough, the coloring of the bread as well as its conservation. Incorporated at the start of kneading and dosed between 1 and 2%, it preserves the taste of the bread by slowing down oxidation during kneading.
The stages of breadmaking
It consists first of all in intimately mixing all the elements that will form the dough. This is called frasage. It is carried out at slow speed until all traces of water and flour have disappeared.
Secondly, it is the actual kneading which is done at high speed. This is when the structure of gluten changes. At the end of kneading, the proteins in the dough form a continuous network capable of expanding while retaining carbon dioxide.
It begins as soon as the yeast comes into contact with the mixture of water and flour. After the kneading phase, the baker lets the dough rise (point) for the first time. The physical properties (viscosity and elasticity) of the dough will change again during this step, thus completing the kneading action. This is important for the final quality of the bread, both for its appearance and for its taste. After grouting, the dough is broken up, possibly divided into several pieces of dough and then shaped. The shaped dough pieces continue their fermentation in the absence of air. Just before putting in the oven, the baker gives small blows of the blade on the dough pieces which will form beautiful edges also called “grignes” on the crust of the bread. These small strokes of the blade are essential for the bread to have optimal and regular development. Without them, the bread would warp and burst under the expansion of carbon dioxide and water vapor.
The last step in bread-making, baking takes place in an oven heated to 240 ° C. The crust forms around 90 ° C while the water vapor is distributed in the crumb and the coloring begins between 110 and 150 ° C. When it comes out of the oven, bleeding begins, during which time the bread will lose 1 or 2% of the water it contains when cooling.
Tips for successful bread
- Always add a pinch of sugar to activate the yeast.
- Regular and complete kneading to develop the gluten network.
- Check that the temperature of the room is sufficient for a good development of the yeasts (25 ° C minimum) otherwise place the dough covered near a radiator.
- To obtain a nice crust, put in the oven a container containing water for cooking in a humid environment or bake in a steam oven (25%).
- Brush the dough with a brush and hot water to obtain a sticky starch paste. The coloring will be more pronounced.