Below are the basic ingredients in bread making:
- Yeast – A microscopic living organism that is used in bread to cause it to rise. When dry it is completely inactive, but when added to liquid it starts to function. The addition of sugar will start the yeast rising as it eats the sugar. This rise is the process of fermentation and is caused by a mass release of carbon dioxide from the yeast as it eats the sugar. The carbon dioxide released by the yeast is captured by the gluten in flour and becomes captured air bubbles which are the cause of rising in bread. Most bread machines have a function to keep yeast and liquid in separate areas until they need to be combined. Though there is nothing that can replace yeast because of its unique nature, if you want to substitute in a recipe, adding an equal amount of baking powder and lemon juice that add up to the amount of yeast called for can become a close second. Also remember to check the expiration date on your package of yeast.
- Eggs – are used in certain bread recipes and give an immense difference in flavor, texture and color in the resulting bread and also help to bond the ingredients together. Refer to your machine instructions to know when and how they should be added.
- Liquids – in bread serve the functions of activating the yeast and adding to the flavor and texture of the loaf. The use and addition of liquid ingredients depends on the bread machine being used and the recipe you are referring to. It is best to consult your bread machine manual to determine the proper order of ingredients.
- Flour – Used in bread as the base, the type of flour used is a major determining factor in the taste, cooking time, texture and density of the bread. It is much more suggested to use whole wheat flour in bread recipes rather than all purpose flour due to the lack in nutrition of the latter. When using whole wheat flour, you should check your machine for a function for it. If it does not have one, then it is suggested to use the longest rising cycle possible to be sure you get the best possible results.
- Fats – Ingredients such as butter, oil or margarine are used to effect the level of moisture and the texture of the bread. These ingredients make a bread thicker and more dense and can also be used to prevent the bread from sticking. Due to the differing nature of certain bread machines it is wiser to refer to the manual for instruction on how to add these ingredients.
- Salt – basically serves mostly as a flavor enhancer in bread recipes. It also serves as a yeast inhibitor in recipes and removal or reduction will cause a faster if not chaotic pace in the rise of the bread. If removed from a recipe it would be wise to also reduce the amount of yeast used to prevent over-rising.
- Sweeteners – Any sugar or other ingredient such as molasses or honey which is highly sweet. They mostly serve to feed the yeast and should be used in small amounts such as a tablespoon or two unless a sweet bread is being made. If you have a sugar restrictive diet, the subtraction of it will only slightly hinder in the rise of the bread and the yeast will pull the requirement naturally from the flour.
- Add- Ins – These are all additional ingredient which include but are not restricted to spices, raisins, nuts and just about anything imaginable. Use of additional ingredients can completely change any number of factors in a bread. Use in bread machines varies from ingredient to ingredient.
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