Looking for a quarantine hobby? Have a lot of baking supplies floating around the house? Why not try out baking? Baking is a simple, inexpensive and rewarding hobby – afterall, what better way to end a few hours baking than with some newly baked delicious bread to munch on?
If you’re looking to start baking, here are the first things you should know.
What are the main ingredients used in baking?
There are a few key ingredients used when baking. It is important to know why they are used so that you can adjust their amounts depending on your food preferences.
These ingredients include:
- Flour is arguably the main ingredient used when baking bread. Flour comes from wheat and contains protein in the form of gluten and starch. The gluten and the starch in flour is what gives bread structure and texture. As such, breads using flours containing high levels of gluten will have a hard structure, versus the soft structure of a bread using flour with low levels of gluten.
- Water is another essential ingredient in bread as it activates yeast agents for the process of fermentation (explained later). Water develops dough and dissolves starches so that added ingredients such as salt and sugar can mix and interact.
- Yeast is known as a leavening agent and when activated, produces carbon dioxide gas to make air bubbles in dough. This is what causes the dough to rise. Yeast is an important ingredient for breads which aim to be fluffy and soft in texture, such as croissants and Danishes
- Sugar, salt and fat are the main ingredients which add flavour to dough. Salt also causes gluten to become more firm, which is why savoury bread is usually harder than sweet bread. Fat such as butter can be added to increase moistness in the bread.
What are the main processes when baking?
There are three main processes which occur when baking bread. These are fermentation, proofing and baking.
Fermentation is the process of yeast agents consuming sugar and carbohydrates in the dough to produce carbon dioxide gas. During fermentation, the glutens also relax, making the dough softer and malleable. Fermentation usually takes two hours or so before completion.
Proofing dough also involves fermentation, whereby the dough increases in volume (up to three times its original size). Depending on how rich the dough is, and the strength of the flour, proofing time varies. Dough is usually proofed in proofing containers for up to two and a half hours.
Baking the bread itself is, of course, one of the main processes of baking. By placing your fermented dough in a heated oven, your bread will turn brown and the glutens within will harden. Your dough will expand, and cook to become more firm. When baked, breads will become much more flavoursome and delicious to eat.
Looking to learn more about baking? Unsure about the processes involved in baking? Contact Suprima Bakeries for more information regarding the baking process for beginners!