Bread Baking Glossary
Autolyse: a technique for improving gluten development without heavy kneading. In a bowl combine equal amounts of flour and water from the recipe and mix until the flour is fully hydrated. Let the mixture sit for a minimum of 20 minutes- one hour is ideal. It works well for whole wheat flour (presoak the wheat flour portion of a recipe)
Baker’s percentage: the way bakers list ingredients in a dough in which the quantity of each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of flour in the recipe. For example:1000g flour, 660g water, 20g salt,10g yeast is expressed in baker’s percentage as 100% flour, 66% water, 2% salt, 1% yeast.
Banneton: a woven basket, sometimes lined with linen, used to hold a shaped loaf while it is proofing.
Boule: a round loaf (French for "ball").
Conventional wheat: No wheat sold in the US is genetically modified. However, conventional wheat has been genetically engineered to produce shorter stalks, larger heads, and it relies on chemical fertilizers to grow.
Crumb: The pattern of holes inside a loaf.
Discard: The portion of starter you remove from the mass before feeding again. People discard a portion of their sourdough starter to control the amount of starter they have to maintain. If you bake once or twice a week you may not have any discard.. You can keep discarded starter in a separate jar and use it for baking cookies, quick breads, pancakes, etc to add nutrients and a depth of flavor.
Dough Scraper: a somewhat pliable curved tool that assists in removing dough from a bowl.
Fermentation: (1) the process by which yeast metabolizes sugars to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol (2) (aka bulk fermentation, first fermentation) - the period of time the dough rests after mixing and before dividing/shaping.
Gluten: The protein portion of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough. Gluten is what allows bread dough to rise. Flours for products that need to rise are made from hard wheat because it contains higher levels of protein. Gluten and protein often are used interchangeably.
Heritage/heirloom Wheat: wheat that is pre-hybridized, pre-1950's wheat that many people find more digestible. It is the wheat that was grown before the introduction of intensive, scientific plant breeding.. Many people find heritage/heirloom wheat more digestible.
Hydration: the ratio of liquid ingredients (primarily water) to flour in the dough. A dough with 1000g flour and 640g water has a hydration of 64% (640/1000).
Leavening agents: substances causing expansion of doughs and batters by the release of gasses. They are what make baked goods rise. For non-yeasted items (cakes, quick breads, etc) they are generally baking soda and baking powder. For breads and bread products, they are yeast or sourdough starter.
Mise en Place: Everything in its place. The act of laying out all the necessary ingredients before beginning a recipe.
Organic: The production of food without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified components.There are strict standards to follow and businesses are inspected once a year in order to keep certification up to date.
Preferment: The portion of the ingredients that are mixed ahead of time, typically overnight or longer:
Sponge: (Biga, Poolish) – the preferment portion of the ingredients made with commercial yeast. Poolish is a French term and it usually refers to a wetter dough,.usually an equal weight of water and flour with a small amount of yeast. Biga is an Italian term and is much drier.
Levain: the preferment made with sourdough starter that is used to bake a loaf of bread. It’s typically made with 20g active starter and 100g each of water and flour .It’s usually developed for at least 12 hours.
Proof: The time when dough rests and rises after mixing all the ingredients together. the final rise of the shaped loaves before baking. The dough is left in a warm place to do this. It can take various amounts of time to complete this process.
Score (aka slash or dock): Cutting the surface of the loaf prior to baking. This provides for controlled expansion of the loaves during baking so they do not “break” undesirably. Scoring is also used to enhance the appearance of the bread. This can be done with a lame, single-sided razor blade, or very sharp pointed knife.
Sourdough starter: the leavening agent used in baking bread that is made with flour, water and naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria in the air.
Stone Ground: whole wheat flour that retains most of the wheat berry (germ, endosperm, bran). The bran pieces are noticeably larger than the rest of the flour and that is why most people find baking with all whole wheat difficult.
Stretch and Fold: one of the best ways of encouraging gluten development. To do a stretch and fold, start by grabbing the dough and pulling it up, and folding the dough on itself. Rotate the bowl a quarter of a turn, and repeat. Do this two more times. This process is typically done 2-5 times leaving 20 minutes between stretch and fold- The dough needs twenty minutes to relax between stretch and folds.
Unifine milling system: high impact milling that shatters the grain in a single pass, causing the bran to be as fine as the rest of the flour. This makes it easier to do all whole wheat baking.
Yeast: commonly used as a leavening agent in baking bread and bakery products. It converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Baker's yeast is a single strain, while sourdough is composed of yeasts and good bacteria in the air.
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