Here is a referrence list for bread ingredients:
Salt - Bread dough crafted without salt tastes flat and very noticeable. A small amount of salt enhances the flavor of the grain. Too much salt can inhibit the yeast’s growth and make the dough tough. Corse Sea Salt can be used on top of the loaves.
Oil - Vegetable oils or butter produce a moist loaf that stays fresh longer than breads that are prepared with out it.
Flour- Whole grain flours should be stored in the refrigerator so that they do not go rancid or develop meal moths.
The cereal grains used for bread making are usually milled to an all purpose consistency. However, there are no real standards for milling all purpose flour and it can in fact vary in texture from region to region.
Our section on Going with the Grains contains a lot of information of the wide variety of grains and their uses available to us. Here specifically is additional information for the bread baker.
Yeasted, Sour Dough, or Quick Breads and pastries offer the baker wonderful opportunities to put cereal grains into play in your vegetarian kitchen. Yeast is a one celled natural wild plant which is the soul of bread-baking. In order for yeasted dough to grow and develop it needs several elements: time, moisture, sugar, and air and warmth. Too much heat will kill it and too little will put it into a state of suspended animation. To activate yeast, you need to give it a sweetened liquid environment under 140º. When you refrigerate or freeze yeasted dough, it will keep for several weeks.
Between 80” - 90º to 110º yeast will ‘eat’ the sugars and complex carbohydrates of the cereal grains in the ‘sponge’ and begin the process of fermentation. Dry yeast will keep for a year when refrigerated and the one pound blocks of compressed fresh active yeast which are used by professional bakers must be refrigerated and has a shelf life of about two weeks. Yeast is sold in dated packages and must be within the code date to be alive.
If you purchase yeast in bulk from your Health Food Store or Costco or Sam’s Club, one scant Tbs. Active Dry Yeast is equivalent to a ¼ oz. package. Compressed yeast is much more delicate. It can be frozen but its potency decreases.
Altitude or elevation also effects the growth of the yeast. At 3,500 feet above sea level the yeast develops more quickly so you can reduce the amount of it that you are using by about a third. Your dough will also take less time to rise and proof and may need less flour and more liquid as it tends to dry out more quickly. You may also need to adjust theoven’s temperature, increasing it by 25º or so.
Wheat- There are several varieties of Wheat used in baking.
Hard Winter Wheat is the highest in protein and it is used for bread baking.
Semolina is used for pasta.
Soft Spring Wheat is used for cake flour and pastries.
Pastry Wheat Flour is milled differently from bread flour, and is somewhat finer. It has 8% protein. It is made from soft wheat and its lower protein level makes it unsuitable for bread baking. It has the ability, however, to hold fat which makes it ideal for pastry and whole grain cakes.
Cake Flour registers at the finest milling and has about 6% protein. It is used to make the fluffiest cakes.
All Purpose Flour is a blend of hard winter wheat and soft wheat at about a ratio of eight to two respectively.
Unbleached White and Whole White Wheat are both excellent flours to use in bread baking and taste alive and full of flavor as opposed to bleached white flour which frankly has no place in your vegetarian kitchen as is has been treated with chlorine.
Wheat Berries can be sprouted or cooked before adding to the dough.
Wheat Bran is the outermost layer of the grain which adds roughage to the diet and sweeps the colon clean.
Wheat Germ is the rich in B Complex vitamins. It is the heart of the wheat berry and needs to be refrigerated or it will go rancid quickly.
Gluten flour is used in the preparation of Seitan or Wheat protein. It can be added to flour blends lacking in sufficient gluten to rise appropriately. It has a protein content of about 40%.
Whole Wheat Flour has a sweet nutty flavor and contains all of the benefit of the wheat berry. It can be ground from fine to coarse and your product will reflect the fineness or coarseness of the flour.
Cracked Wheat has been cut to a degree of coarseness in which it varies.
Bulgur has been par-boiled and allowed to dry. It too comes in various degrees of coarseness.
Graham Flour has a significant amount of bran left in the flour which gives it a different texture and degree of sweetness from whole wheat flour. It is distinctly nutlike in flavor.
Triticale is a hybrid cross of wheat and rye grains. It is hearty, strong and high in protein but low in gluten.
Mixed Grain Flour is usually a blend of several grains and often consists of wheat, rye, barley, triticale, corn, oats, millet, flax and soy grits.
Millet has low gluten
Barley Flour is high in mineral content.
Oat Flour is richest in proteins and minerals. It has been ground fine.
Rolled Oats have been hulled, steamed and rolled flat. They can be ground to a more coarse consistency for addition to a more densely textured bread.
Oat Bran lowers cholesterol.
Rye - Rye grows in poor soil, has an earthy, strong flavor and contains some gluten.
Rye Berries are used whole or cracked in Westphalian Pumpernickel, a dense, dark loaf.
Corn or Maize- Corn is a sweet grain indigenous to North America.
Hominy or Samp is un-hybridized corn which has had the hull removed.
Corn Grits are ground Hominy.
Corn Meal is ground from yellow corn.
Johnny Cake Meal is ground from hulled white corn.
Polenta is a coarse grind of yellow corn used as an Italian porridge growing in popularity here in the U.S.
Mesa Harina is a fine ground white corn meal which has been soaked in lime water before it has been dried. It is the main ingredient in tortillas.
Corn Flour is a finely ground cornmeal from the entire kernel. All of these various varieties have a place in bread baking, each to its own effect.
Rice Flour is made from both brown and white rice varieties. It creates a dense closely packed loaf.
Soy Flour adds additional protein to bakery product containing as it does 40 – 50 % protein. Cornell University added it to their formula for high density nutrition in Cornell Bread in the 1950’s.
The sky is the limit when it comes to what to use for the liquid in bread baking. Water, Milk Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk, Potato Water, Yogurt, Buttermilk, Beer, Wine, Vegetable and Fruit Juices. and even left over soups are all used as part of the sponge in bread making.
Granulated Sugar, Brown Sugar, Maple Sugar, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Barley Malt, Sorghum, Rice Syrup, Agave, Stevia all feed the yeast, sweeten the loaf and color the crust to varying degrees of golden goodness. To substitute any liquid sweetener, like molasses, honey, agave, or barley malt, for granulated sugar use about for every cup of sugar the recipe calls for and reduce the liquid by ¼ Cup.
Fats - Butter and various vegetable oils provide softness and a moist richness to the loaf.
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