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Bread Baking Ingredients and functions Explained

There are bread and there are nutritious bread. Baking is an art. Just as you learn any other skill in life to be successful; you also need to learn the art of baking. However, what you must know is that once you go through the skill of bread baking, you will understand that it is not rocket science or hard.

However, in our trainings, we always first of all take the students through understanding the real structure of ingredients or components that make up a bread loaf.  It is important to know that bread is just a final result of such process or mixing, kneading, proofing, and baking.

A reader wrote me a mail that I should explain the importance of these ingredients and what they contribute in a bread.

Below are bread baking ingredients and their functions:

1.  FLOUR   

Flour is undoubtedly the most important ingredient in baking bread. It gives the bread structure. In bread baking, the kind of flour used is hard flour. Hard flour contains stretchy gluten and has a high water absorption capacity which gives a bread production higher volume than other types of flour.


While I was buying my ingredients to bake my bread from my supplier one day, she told me that she has tried to make bread and it turned out like biscuit and it did not rise. She asked me what was wrong and I just smiled. Yeast was absent. Yeast  is the very essential ingredient which makes the dough rise and gives bread a great taste and aroma.   In fact, it represent the heart of  bread baking process called Fermentation. During the process of fermentation, the yeast multiplies and grows by using the available sugars and water, giving off carbon dioxide (for rise) and ethyl alcohol (for flavor) as by products.  In adding yeast to your own bread, you must also understand baker’s percentage. I mean there is a percentage of yeast to be added to a bag of 50Kg flour for example. Too much yeast will also make your bread to rise quickly and make your bread tasteless, and very light with holes inside.

Join Our Next Bread Baking Class or Buy Your Bread Baking Book and learn how to bake. Micro Bread Baking Business. 

No doubt water is very essential too as it helps in hydrating the flour and makes gluten development possible.   Water in your bread baking process brings the growth of both the yeast and the development of gluten. This is because it will help in dissolving and activating the yeast as well as the protein in the flour thus creating a very sticky and elastic dough that will make a good result.

4.  SALT

We use salt in virtually every food. Likewise here salt enhances flavor and also help as a preservative, keeping the quality of bread. One of the things salt does is to slow rising time helping the dough flavor to develop and giving the fermentation process also to get the bread into a good structure. It also help in keeping the carbon dioxide bubbles from expanding too rapidly.

5.  SUGAR 

Sugar helps in providing food for the yeast and also adds flavor to bread.
Join Our Next Bread Baking Class or Buy Your Bread Baking Book and learn how to bake. Micro Bread Baking Business. 

6.  FATS

Fats help in making bread stay longer and fresher as well as rich as it also help in slowing moisture loss. The most commonly used form of fat is the shortening, next is margarine and then butter. Fat adds flavor and make bread tender and moist.

Shortening has bland flavor and has excellent creaming quality.  However, most bakeries use the flavored margarine because of it adds a vanilla like flavor to the bread and cost almost the same.  On the other hand, butter is used only to make high end products such as rolls, butter bread , etc.

7.  EGGS

Egg is a very expensive ingredient. which adds food value, color and flavor to breads. Apart from the above, egg make the crumb of bread fine and gives it a tender crust.  It also helps make the crumb fine and the crust tender. Egg adds richness and protein. Some recipes call for eggs to be used as a wash that adds color, especially the yoke.

8.  MILK

Milk has a stabilizing effect on fermentation, preventing wild fermentation. It improves crust color because of the lactose sugar it contains. It also improves texture, crumb color, flavor, taste, and keeping quality of the baked loaf.

Join Our Next Bread Baking Class or Buy Your Bread Baking Book and learn how to bake. Micro Bread Baking Business. 

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