THE CULINARY CORNER

Yeast breads Part II

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Welcome to my little corner of culinary delights.  To get optimum results in making yeast breads, exacting measurements and procedures are necessary.  It takes some practice to get good at it.  Yeast breads produce many wonderful pastry products.  Various types of dough and procedures are required for such variety.

There are two basic types of loaf bread.  They are lean and enriched.  The most basic of all would be the lean.  You would be using flour, water, salt, fat and yeast.  Sugar may or may not be used.  Your enriched breads are the same as above except for certain items being added.  Those items can be such things as eggs and milk.  Enriched breads also have a higher content of fat and sugar.  Different grains can be substituted or added such as rye flour.

The first step is to dissolve fresh yeast or dry yeast in a little bit of water.  Ideal temperature for the water is 100°F to 110°F.  Next combine the fat, sugar, salt and milk solids.  After fully mixed, add the eggs gradually if eggs are to be used.  Add your liquid and mix briefly.  After having done this, work in your flour and yeast.

The dough must not be under mixed or overmixed.  To under mix, you get a denser volume.  To overmix, you start to break down the gluten and get a poor texture.  The gluten needs to be developed.  This is done by kneading the dough.  This produces the elasticity in the dough.  To test if it is properly kneaded, take a small piece of dough and stretch it to form a membrane.  If properly kneaded, you can easily see light through the membrane.  If under mixed, the dough will tear before a membrane can form.  If overmixed, the membrane will break.

The next stage is to let it ferment.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a tea towel.  After it has doubled in size, it has fermented sufficiently.  Punch it down in the center with your hand.  Turn it over for a second rising. A draft free corner at 80°F to 90°F gives best results.

After the second rising, scale into amounts desired for making individual loaves, rolls or whatever.  Once scaled, you need to round your individual pieces by hand and allow them to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes under a tea towel.  Fermentation will continue.  Once this is completed, shape your rounds into the type of bread or rolls desire.  It is important to expel the gasses at this point in the procedure.  Otherwise, you will get large air holes in your finished product.

We come to the proofing.  Ideal conditions would be 80°F to 95°F with a humidity facture between 80 to 95 percent.  The bread should again double in size.  Be sure that the seam side is down.  Serrate the tops and place into the oven at a range of 400°F to 425°F. 

Until next time, peace to all.