Understanding The Science Behind Baking Bread

Any procedure of making dough needs to be extensible enough to allow it to relax and expand during rising in order to produce good bread. If a piece of dough can be pulled apart and stretched, it is good dough. Additionally, it must be elastic, or strong enough to support the gases released during ascent, as well as stable enough to maintain its shape and cell structure. Gliadin and glutenin, two proteins found in flour, combine to make gluten when combined with water. These unique qualities of dough are due to gluten. Gluten affects the mixing, kneading, and baking qualities of dough and is necessary for manufacturing bread. It's crucial to learn how to mix the ingredients when you first start baking bread. 

Even though the bread mixture just contains four ingredients, you're actually working with a ton of invisible compounds. In addition to being a white powder, flour also contains a variety of proteins, primarily in the form of glutenin and gliadin. It also contains a lot of carbs, either in the form of starches, which are long chains of sugar or in the form of simple sugars like glucose. 

As long as the chemicals are dry, they typically remain in a non-reactive state. However, something occurs when water is added: Suddenly, thousands of completely new compounds also begin to combine and react! The reactivated yeast begin chomping on the starches like tiny Pac-Mans and spitting out additional sugars, carbon dioxide, and alcohols as a result of the water. Gluten is created by the combination of the proteins glutenin and gliadin with water.  

You were actually arranging the gluten molecules throughout the stretch-and-fold exercises so that they formed a kind of molecular net. Then, when the yeast began to release carbon dioxide, it actually caused the "net" to increase. Like when you blow up a pool toy or inflate a hot-air balloon, it operates in the exact same way! 

Baking is useful for many things. The bread might rise even more in the oven during the initial baking phases, which bakers refer to as "oven spring." Actually, the loaf rises higher because the yeast is heating up, metabolising more quickly, and producing more carbon dioxide. Although the yeast cells have all died by the time the loaf reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it still rises thanks to the simple heat expansion of carbon dioxide gases, water vapour, and alcohols that the yeast left behind from its heyday. 

Finally, enough water is taken out of the loaf when it reaches about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and the final messed-up structure of the bread hardens into its final shape. The bread starts to burn if it is cooked any further than this. 

In fact, additional physical changes could take place when the oven was made steamy. The bread's crust was kept flexible and soft by the steam, allowing it to rise even higher and become lighter. If not, the crust would have prematurely dried out and stopped rising. 

More chemical alterations are also made possible by the steam. Since water conducts heat more effectively than air alone, the bread is able to bake more uniformly thanks to it. Better heat transfer also make it possible for Maillard reactions, a special occurrence in cooking. Hundreds of novel, extremely tasty compounds are produced by these unique interactions between proteins and carbohydrates. The same ingredient gives a seared steak its fantastic flavour and the bread crust its lovely golden-brown hue.