Yeast Cookery. Baking Bread

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yeast-bread_cThe main ingredients in bread are flour, yeast sugar and water. Fat may be added to enrich the dough. Yeast is used as a raising agent for making bread, etc. It is a small living organism which grows by feeding on sugar in the presence of warmth and moisture. Carbon dioxide is given off which makes the dough rise and become light and spongy. Yeast is killed at higher temperatures (over 46°C, 115°F) so the rising stage, known as proving, must be completed before the dough is baked.

When the dough is placed in the hot oven, the heat kills the yeast no further carbon dioxide is given off and the rising ceases. The rising action can be slowed down if the dough is kept at a low temperature. An excess of fat, sugar or salt in the dough prevents the yeast growing properly. Yeast can be obtained fresh or dried.

Fresh Yeast

Will keep for 4-5 days if stored in a screw-topped jar in a cold place or up to a month in a refrigerator.

Dried Yeast

Will keep for up to 6 months if stored in a tin with a tight-fitting lid, in a cool dry place.

Easy Blend Dried Yeast

Will keep for up to 6 months if stored in a cool dry place. This type of yeast is specially formulated and packed in individual foil sachets.

Flour

The choice of flour for bread making is important. Bread needs a strong flour which is one with a high protein content (10-15%). This protein, gluten, forms a cohesive elastic mass when water is added. For bread making a good quality elastic gluten is essential, which will expand and will hold its shape until set by the oven heat This type of flour will have high rising and water absorbing qualities, and should produce goods with a large volume and a light open texture. Where yeast is the raising agent, plain flour must always be used.


Useful hints

1. Choose the right flour.

2. Add the yeast correctly.

3. Add the liquid all at once.

4. Knead the dough thoroughly.

5. Always cover the dough with greased polythene or place the tin inside a polythene bag to prevent a skin forming.

6. After rising, knock back and prove as instructed.

7. Cook in hot oven (200-230°C, 400-450°F, Gas No. 6-8).

8. Properly cooked bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base.

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