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Bread Baking: Functions Of Basic Ingredients In Yeast Breads

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Liquid - The liquid in yeast breads may range from water, milk, and potato water to fruit juice, buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, whey and bouillon. Liquids used in yeast breads should be sufficiently warm so that after the sweetening and shortening are added the temperature of the combination is at least 80 or slightly above.

Sweetening - The sweetening used can be honey, molasses, applesauce, fruit juice, or sugar. Some breads use no sweetening at all.

Yeast - Yeast is a living organism that grows in the presence of moisture and carbohydrates at a warm temperature (l06 - l20). Under these conditions the yeast ferments, forming gases. These gases are captured by the rubbery gluten in flour. Like a balloon, gluten is stretched (blown up) by the gases, causing the bread to raise. All commercial yeasts are not the same because the quality can vary. Saf Yeast can be stored in the freezer for several years and used as needed. Saf Yeast will store, unopened, on the
shelf for one year. It is a good item for food storage.

Fats/Oils - The fats/oils in yeast breads may be cold-pressed oil, shortening, butter, margarine, bacon grease, or animal fat. The fats/oils make bread tender and rich. Dough made without fats/oils tends to become stale more quickly. Butter is particularly delicious when used in sweet yeast breads and rolls.

Salt - Salt brings out the flavor of the bread. The texture and shape of bread is affected by the omission of salt because it controls yeast activity. Bread low in salt will have a coarse texture.

Flour - Fresh ground whole grain flour adds the most flavor, nutrients, and gluten to the bread and results in superior products. Whole grain flours other than wheat may be used for their distinctive flavors. However, they tend to make bread heavy as they do not have enough gluten to help lift the dough. Replace no more than one-fourth of the flour content in a given recipe with flours other than wheat or add vital gluten.

Other Additions - Raisins, dates, dried fruits, citron, nuts, hulled sesame and roasted hulled sunflower seeds, sauteed onions, dried or fresh herbs, bean or grain sprouts, toasted wheat germ, milk solids are all added to improve flavor and increase nutritional values. These "improvers" are seldom used in greater quantity than up to about one-fourth the weight of the flour.

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