CHAPTER 21: BREAD
Good food needs good bread and to make good bread one needs to
understand the components (ingredients) that are used in bread
making, and their functions. The basic ingredients are Flour, Salt,
Yeast and Water.
Before we go on to discuss the different components of bread,
let us first list the different types of dough.
Bulk Fermented Dough: This is the process that most bakers use
to prepare bread. Flour and salt are blended with yeast and water
and mixed to smooth clear dough. The dough is then covered to
prevent drying out and a skin forming, and then giving a period of
bulk fermentation. Here all the ingredients are mixed at once and
allowed to ferment. The dough is then knocked back (de gassed)
after about two thirds of the fermentation has taken place and
then kneaded to encourage further yeast activity. And to equalize
the dough temperature. When the fermentation is complete, the
dough is weighed off into loafs/rolls. The total fermentation can
vary from one to twelve hours, depending on the recipe.
No Time Dough :This process speeds up the fermentation
process by adding an improver that contains chemicals that would
naturally be produced by fermentation, given a little more time.
Flour, Yeast, Salt and water with the improver are blended into a
dough, but the mixing is continued for almost double the time.
until the gluten is developed sufficiently. It is preferable to use a
machine rather than mixing by hand. When mixing is complete,
the dough is ready for scaling (weighing). A little extra yeast is
added in recipes using improvers, as the quick fermentation does
not allow the yeast to grow to its normal levels. As this process
does not allow time for the gluten to mellow properly, about 4%
extra water must be added to compensate. The extra water will
increase the yield, which should pay for the improver. No time
dough is ideal for those kitchens with limited time, space and
facilities. Improvers also assist prolonged quality maintenance.
Improvers also help make reasonable quality bread that has less
gluten (weak flour).
Ferment and Dough: This process is meant for heavily enriched
dough’s, to allow yeast to become accustomed to the high amount
of fat and sugar, which have been added, and which will slow
yeast activity. In the first stage, the ferment yeast is blended
into a thin batter and fermented with about 20% of the flour
mentioned in the recipe and with all the water. Fermentation
depends on the yeast content. It is best fermented in a prover or
in similar conditions. The first ferment is then blended with the
rest of the flour, salt, fat and perhaps milk powder to form a
dough. This is the second or the dough stage and is bulk
fermented for roughly the same time as the ferment. The dough
can then be scaled.
It is important to maintain the ideal dough temperature, which
controls the speed of fermentation. Even for basic bread dough,
it is necessary to be exact to get the best from the raw material.
The best temperature for fermentation is between 25°C and
28°C. Above 32°C, fermentation is rapid but gets progressively
weaker. Under 24°C, fermentation is slow. As water temperature
can be readjusted, it is the medium that controls the
temperature of the dough, determines the water temperature
and the rule of thumb is the doubling method. Double the
required dough temperature, take the temperature of the flour
and subtract that from the above number. The result is the
required water temperature. If the dough is required at 28°C,
and the flour temperature is 18°C, then 2x28=56, 56-18=38.
Therefore the water temperature should be 38°C. Water is
essential to bread making to hydrate the insoluble wheat portions
forming gluten. Dissolve the salt, sugar and soluble proteins and
form an elastic dough. Water has a marked effect on the speed
of fermentation – a thin batter fermenting faster than a tight
dough. The water content in dough will vary according to the
water Absorption Powers (WAP) of various flours.
SALT – good bread needs salt to offset the blandness and bring
out the flavors present. It is also necessary to stabilize the
gluten, help retain the moisture and control the fermenting yeast,
which in turn will affect the crumb or texture of bread and the
crust color. Fermentation is too rapid in dough with too little salt,
which checks the growth of yeast so more sugar is converted to
gas. Because the gluten is also weakened, it offers less resistance
to the gas expansion, leaving too much volume and loose crumb
texture. The bread lacks brightness and the flavor is insipid. Too
much salt seriously retards yeast activity. Excessive amounts will
stop fermentation. With the yeast activity slowed down, there is
a corresponding of the tightening of the gluten resulting in a
smaller volume. At worst, the result is a heavy, rubber like mass
with a taste of excessive salt.
YEAST – is a living organism of the fungal family of plants, which
changes sugar into CO2 (carbon di oxide), alcohol and other by-
products. The gas is caught up in the gluten network, which
aerates the dough. The second function of yeast, equally vital to
producing a quality bread, is to assist the ripening or mellowing of
the gluten in the dough, so that when the item is baked, the
gluten is in a condition which gives evenly to the expanding gases
and at the same time retains them (gases). For fermentation to
occur, yeast needs a source of glucose (a simple sugar). Small
amounts of glucose and fructose in the dough are fermented
directly by the yeast. Other sugars and carbohydrates are
converted to glucose by enzymes in the flour. Yeast must be in a
good condition to work efficiently. It should be cool to the touch
and a creamy color. If it is dark ad of a soft sticky consistency,
with an unpleasant odor, then it should not be used. Small
quantities can be kept pressed into a small bar and stored in a
cool place. Yeast works best between 25C and 28C. Above this,
the fermentation is rapid but gets progressively weaker as the
temperature increases until 55C to 60C, when yeast get killed.
Between 23C and 25C, yeast works slowly, till at 25C,
fermentation stops. It should never be mixed with dry salt or
sugar or dispensed in a strong solution of either, which will kill
the yeast. As a living organism, it can never be dissolved in liquid.
FLOUR - there are two basic types of flour used for bread
making, whole meal and strong white flour. Whole meal flour
contains whole-wheat grains, with nothing added or taken away
during processing, Strong with flour has higher protein content
and therefore more gluten than soft cake flour. Whole meal
flours have a higher water absorption rate than white flours so
the dough may be stickier. Extra enzymes in the bran coating of
the grain speed up the dough ripening so the dough temperature
should be a little cooler to slow down the fermentation. Because
the physical and chemical changes in the dough are more rapid,
whole meal dough needs shorter fermentation.
GLUTEN - Without gluten in the dough, there could be no bread.
Gluten is developed in bread during the manipulation (mixing) of
the dough, when two proteins – glutenin and gliadin combine in the
presence of moisture (water) to form gluten. Gluten strands
traps the gas generated by the yeast and holds it in the dough
structure. When it coagulates, it becomes the framework of the
dough, so that it does not collapse. Gluten is conditioned by many
factors including the amount of yeast and how active it is, the
amount of salt and water in the dough, fermentation time, dough
temperature, the acidity of the dough and manipulation
(kneading). Given good material and correct balance, nothing
contributes to good bread making than properly made dough. The
kneading, fermentation and the knocking back are also important.
Proper mixing gives gluten the opportunity to absorb the
maximum water and become thoroughly hydrated.
IMPROVERS - contain chemicals, which would be produced in
dough naturally, given time, under the skilled eye of the baker.
The are used in no Time dough, 1 to 1 1/2 % for rich dough and 2½
% in leaner dough. For basic bread goods 2% improver are added
to the flour, water salt and yeast, and is calculated on the basis
of the flour only. For dough that is enriched with fat and sugar
and eggs, 1 to 1 1/2% is enough. The active ingredients in a
typical improver would include sugar, pure emulsifier, soya or guar
flour, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and enzyme active malt flour.
Retardation is the arresting of fermentation at temperatures
between 2°C and 4°C. It enables the dough to be made in bulk,
retarded and then baked through the day as and when required.
This ensures freshness and standard quality. Enriched dough
which ferments slowly, retard the best and can be kept for up to
72 hours. Retardation can be done in two ways: the dough is given
between 50-70% of its Bulk Fermentation Time (BFT), then rolled
out in 3 kgs-4kgs pieces to quickly take out its heat, and then
refrigerated. In the second method, the dough is again given 50-
70% of its BFT and then made into pieces, refrigerated and then
kneaded, and then brought back to room temperature. The final
proving should not be forced. The dough should be cooled before
retarding as a high temperature will extend fermentation before
retardation is effective. To avoid crusting of the dough, it should
be kept in the refrigerator at 75% humidity or in polythene bags.
Dough is sometimes enriched with fat, milk or egg yolks, to
increase the food value, add to the taste and flavour, and to
produce a softer crumb (texture) and also to retard staling. Salt
will have to be reduced when using salted butter. Fermentation is
slower in enriched dough, so the dough should be kept a little
softer and for a slightly longer time.
POINTS TO NOTE
- Take careful note of the formula/recipe and the method,
- See that the scales are accurate and the scale pans are clean.
- Carefully weigh the flour, sieve it, take temperature,
- Calculate water temperature and measure.
- Disperse yeast in a little water, add salt in the rest of the
water and add to the flour,
- Mix thoroughly until clear and elastic.
-Take the dough temperature and cover the dough to prevent skin
formation. - Prove in a place at the correct temperature or in the
- Knock back when proved according to the BFT.
- Prove rolls in the prover or at controlled temperature and
- Cover with greased polythene sheet to prevent skin formation
- Egg/starch wash and cutting is best done when the dough is ¾
- Rolls are baked at 230°C with steam.
STEPS IN BREAD MAKING OPERATIONS
To start with, the ingredients should be correctly scaled and
weighed as per a good recipe. Baking is a science, it is essential to
begin correctly with the right ingredients in the correct
1. FERMENTATION: the dough should be fermented for the
proper length of time, during which the yeast cells act on the
sugars and produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. A number of
physical and chemical changes take place during this time.
Physical changes include:
- steady increase in the volume of the dough and can be up to
five times its original volume
- increase in temperature by about 5°C to 6°C
- increase in the number of yeast cells by about 26% in straight
dough and 56% in sponge dough.
- Loss of moisture
- Change in the consistency of the dough – it becomes soft,
elastic and extensible
Chemical changes include:
- the PH of the dough reduces from 5.5 to 4.7 due to the
production of acetic acid, lactic acid, sulphuric acid and
- formation of maltose by diastatic enzymes by acting on starch
- production of carbon dioxide and alcohol by enzymatic
- mellowing of the gluten by proteolytic enzymes present in the
flour and yeast.
Fermentation time will depend on:
- type of flour
- quantity of the yeast
- temperature of the dough
- presence of yeast food (sugar)
2. FERMENTATION CONTROL
It is important to control the fermentation so that the gas
production and the gas retention coincide as closely as possible.
If the peak of gas production in the dough is reached before its
gas retention capacity is at a maximum, then much of the gas will
be dissipated and not enough will be left to aerate the dough
when its extensibiity is at its highest point. On the other hand if
the dough reaches its optimum gas retention capacity before gas
production is at its highest rate, much of the gas will be lost
subsequently. Hence, fermentation control is important to have
the development of gas production and gas retention capacities at
a parallel and even rate.
3. GAS PRODUCTION:
Gas production will increase with:
- addition of malt and sugar
- the increase of yeast concentration
- the presence of yeast food
- high temperature of the dough (35°C)
Gas production decreases with:
- addition of salt
- excess amounts of yeast foods
- higher temperature of the dough (above 35°C)
4. GAS RETENTION
gas retention is governed by chemical and physical factors such
as minerals, moisture, PH, proteolytic enzymes and oxidising
agents, mixing, dough expansion, punching (knocking back).
5. FERMENTATION LOSSES
The weight loss in fermented dough is in the range of 0.5 to 4%.
However, under average conditions it is 1%. The loss in weight is
normally attributed to the loss in moisture, which depends on the
temperature and the relative humidity. Minor loss may be
attributed to the escape of carbon dioxide.
6. KNOCK BACK
Punching of the dough in between fermentation periods:
- increases the gas retention of the dough
- equalises the temperature throughout the dough and ensures
more even fermentation.
- Reduces the retarding effect of excessive accumulation of
- Introduces atmospheric oxygen and stimulates yeast activity
- Aids the mechanical development of gluten by the stretching
and folding actions
The first punch is normally given when 60% of the fermentation
is complete and the second punch is given in half the time
required for the first punch.
7. DOUGH MAKE UP
The function of dough make up is to transform the dough into
properly scaled and moulded dough pieces which after prooving
and baking will yield the desired bread. The operations involved
a) Scaling (dividing): the dough is divided into individual pieces of
pre determined uniform weight and size. The weight of the
dough depends on the final weight of the dough. Generally, 12%
extra dough is weighted to compensate for the baking losses.
Dividing should be performed in the minimum amount of time to
ensure even weight as the dough is scaled on volumetric basis.
Longer time changes the density of the dough due to
production of carbon dioxide by yeast, thereby changing the
weight of the divided dough. If there is delay n dividing,
corrective steps such as de gassing the dough or increasing
the size of the dough should be taken. The de gassers are
essentially dough pumps which fed the dough into the hopper
and in the process remove most of the gas. The advantage of
using de gassers are:
- more uniform scaling
- uniform texture and grain of the bread.
b) Rounding The dough pieces which had lost a good part of the
gas during the dividing, is irregular in shape and sticky with
perhaps cut surfaces. The function of the rounding (using a
rounder), is to impart a new continuous skin that will retain the
gas as well as reduce the stickiness.
c) Intermediate Proof: Dough that has undergone dividing and
rounding operations has lost much gas, lacks extensibility and
will tear easily. It is rubbery and will not mould properly. To
restore a more flexible and pliable structure, which will
respond well to the manipulations of the moulder, it is
necessary to let the dough rest while the fermentation
d) Moulding: The dough is now moulded into the required shapes.
9. FINAL PROOF
The purpose of the final proof is to relax the dough from the
stress received during the moulding operations and to facilitate
the production of gas in order to give volume to the loaf. It also
changes the tough gluten to a good, mellow and extensible
It is the most important step in bread making and the heat
transforms the unpalatable dough into a light porous readily
digestible and flavoured product. The factors that influence the
quality of baked products are the baking temperature, humidity
and the duration of baking (baking time). There are two types of
changes that take place during baking.
1. Film Formation: when the dough is placed in the oven, the
effect of heat is the instantaneous formation of a thin
expandable surface film. The length of the time that the film
remains expandable depends on the temperature and the
moisture conditions of the oven.
2. Oven Spring: Sudden expansion of the dough volume by about
of its original size in the oven is called oven spring. In
short, it is the difference in height of the product, before and
after baking. The dough piece containing millions of minute gas
cells, under the influence of heat, begins to expand. As the
pressure in the gas cells increases and causes expansion of cell
walls, the carbon dioxide generated by yeast in the dough is
liberated at about 50°C. the freed gas increases the pressure
in the gas cells causing expansion of the dough. The
evaporation of alcohol and other low boiling point liquid
increases the gas pressure, leading to an additional expansion
of gas cells.
1. Yeast Activity: the yeast in the dough will generate carbon
dioxide and alcohol with the rate of generation increasing the
temperature until the thermal death point of yeast (60°C) is
2. Starch Gelatinization: the oven spring due to the softening of
gluten in the early stages of baking is counter acted by the
starch swelling which begins at about 54C. The degree of
gelatinizaton is restricted by the limited availability of water.
3. Gluten Coagulation: Starch geltinization is associated with
water absorption resulting in the removal of water in gluten as
it denatures, Gluten coagulation sets in at about 74°C and
continues till the end of baking. In this process, gluten is
transformed into a semi-rigid cell structure. The major change
that takes place during baking is the re distribution of water
from gluten phase to starch phase.