A measures of the amount of water added to flour to achieve a desired dough consistency. The higher the protein content of a flour, the more water it will absorb.
An organic acid produced by bacteria in the sourdough culture during the fermentation process. The presence of acetic acid helps to gives sourdough its characteristic acidic tang.
By-products of the fermentation process, these aromatic compounds contribute to the flavour of sourdoughs.
Forms the outer layer of the endosperm of wheat and other grains. A source of enzymes which aid in the digestion of the endosperm.
A tool used to measure the flexibility of dough. It does so by inflating a thin sheet of dough with air until the dough ruptures. The results from this test indicate the most suitable uses of a flour.
A class of enzymes that catalyse the hydrolysis of starch to form simple sugars.
A chemical that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules or compounds. In the body antioxidants can protect cells against damage by free radicals. Examples include vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene. Antioxidants are found in foods such as wholegrains and leafy green vegetables.
An oxidising agent. Used by some bakers as a flour improver or dough conditioner to strengthen gluten and produce a loaf with greater volume and a finer crumb. Also used as an additive to dried yeast where it helps to produce the acid environment favouring faster yeast action.
A measure of a flour’s mineral content. The higher the ash count, the more minerals are present in the flour. This results in a stronger dough, and bread with a higher nutritional value and a better colour.
A stage in bread making when flour and water is mixed and left to rest, prior to making a dough. During this phase, enzymes in the flour begin to break down starch and proteins to form simple sugars and gluten, resulting in a dough that is easier to work with and a loaf with a better crumb and rise.
Used as a dough conditioner to produce and airy and chewy loaf. Banned in the EU and UK for use in bread making.
A convention used by baker’s in which ingredients are expressed as a percentage of the total amount of flour. This allows recipes to be scaled up or down easily. For example, if a recipe calls for 1000g flour, 600g water, 2g yeast and 10g salt, it can be written as 100% flour, 60% water, 0.2% yeast and 1% salt.
A proving basket made from cane, wicker or wood pulp. It is used to support the dough during the final prove.
A loaf shaped like a baguette, but shorter.
A rest period after pre-shaping the dough. This allows the gluten to relax and makes the dough easier to handle during the final shaping.
A bleaching agent added to flour. Has been linked to lowering the nutritional value of the flour. Banned in the EU.
A leaven made using water, flour and a small amount of commercial yeast. The consistency is the same as normal dough. The mixture is allowed to ferment for 24 hours then added to freshly made dough with, if necessary, more yeast.
A classic, rounded loaf. The name comes from the French for ball.
The nutritionally rich outer layers of cereal grains.
A flour improver used to strengthen the dough and get a better rise. Use of bromate is banned in a number of countries.
The fermentation stage immediately following the mixing and kneading of a dough.
Occurs as a loaf bakes at high heat. During caramelization, sugars on the surface are oxidised, causing the crust to brown and develop more flavour.
A small piece of dough kept from a previous bake and used as a leaven for the next.
A linen cloth used to support the dough during the final prove after it has been shaped and prior to baking.
Describes the pattern of holes inside the baked loaf.
A sourdough starter made from whole wheat flour and used to make a Flemish style sourdough loaf.
A carbohydrate which forms on the surface of the loaf during baking, adding colour and flavour to the crust.
Made from sprouted barley, which is then dried and ground. Enzymes in diastatic malt convert starch in flour into sugars to feed the yeast, and help to give a better rise and browner crust during baking.
An additive (enzyme, oxidising agent, emulsifier or reducing agent) used to alter the characteristics of dough and improve the quality of bread.
A tetraploid species of wheat (Triticum durum) which is high in protein and gluten. Also known as semolina.
An ancient wheat species (Triticum monococcum) that has been in cultivation for thousands of years.
A property of dough which allows it to regain its shape after being stretched. A strong dough is elastic but not very extensible. See also ‘Extensibility’.
A tetraploid, tall-growing wheat species (Triticum dicoccum), originating in the Fertile Crescent around 10,000 years ago. Also known as Farro.
Makes up the largest part of a grain and provides the food source for the germinating plant. The endosperm contains carbohydrates, protein, iron and some B vitamins. White flour consists only of the endosperm.
A dough made with butter, sugar, eggs or oil. Enriched doughs are softer and richer than those made solely with flour, water, salt and yeast. Examples include brioche and hot cross buns.
A property of dough which allows it to be stretched. See also ‘Elasticity’.
A measure of the percentage of the grain that is made into flour during the milling process. Flour with a higher extraction rate has more of the bran, germ and outer layers of the endosperm in it. Whole wheat flour is 100% extraction, white flour around 72%.
Damp grains may germinate prior to milling, resulting in poor quality flour. The Falling number test indicates the amount of sprout damage by measuring enzyme activity in a wheat sample.
Equipment for measuring the rheological properties of dough as it is mixed. A farinograph measures development time and the stability of a dough during mixing.
Fermentation occurs when the yeast and bacteria in dough convert carbohydrates (simple sugars) to carbon dioxide and alcohol. A process that causes gas bubbles to form and has a leavening effect on the dough. By-products of the fermentation process give flavour to the dough.
A phenolic phytochemical found in the cell wall of plants. One of the most abundant phenolic acids in plants and an antioxidant.
A technique for aiding gluten development in a dough. The dough is tipped out onto a work surface and folded in thirds, like a letter, turned through 90o and folded again before being returned to the bowl.
An atom or molecule with at least one unpaired electron. Free radicals are highly reactive, seeking to acquire electrons. They are known to cause cell and DNA damage in the body and have been linked to the ageing process as well as a number of degenerative disorders.
Enzymes extracted or purified from microscopic moulds
The part of a grain that, given the right conditions for germination, would sprout. The germ has a high fat content, and is usually separated out during milling because its presence reduces shelf life in flour. The germ contains vitamin E, minerals and protein. Whole wheat flours contain wheat germ.
A protein in wheat and other cereals needed for the formation of gluten. Gliadin provides extensibility in dough, allowing it to stretch. See also Glutenin.
A protein found in wheat and other cereals, needed for the formation of gluten. Glutenin gives dough its elasticity, causing it to spring back into shape when stretched. See also Gliadin.
Freshly milled flour that has not had time to oxidise
Varieties of wheat with a high protein and gluten content, making them especially suitable for bread making. Usually grown in areas with colder climates.
Lactic acid bacteria which ferment carbohydrates and produce carbon dioxide, lactic acid, ethanol and acetic acid. See also Homofermentative lactobacilli.
Flour with an extraction rate between whole wheat (100%) and bread flour (70-75%).
Lactic acid bacteria which ferment carbohydrates with lactic acid as the primary product. Often used in dairy products. See also Heterofermentative lactobacilli.
The ratio of water to flour, expressed as a percentage. For example, a dough with 600g flour and 400g water has a hydration of 67%.
Describes a substance which absorbs water from the surrounding environment.
The brand name of Khorasan wheat, an ancient grain with a rich flavour.
Organic compounds formed when fat is metabolised in the body.
The process of working dough by pressing, folding and stretching to ensure even distribution of ingredients and to develop gluten.
The process of knocking excess air out of the dough after the bulk prove. This makes for a more even texture in the bread.
An organic acid produced by lactic acid bacteria during the fermentation process.
A tool consisting of a handle with a straight or curved blade, used to score the top of a loaf just before it is baked.
A French term for a culture of naturally occurring yeast and bacteria that can be used to leaven dough.
A chemical reaction that causes bread to brown when it is toasted.
Produced by allowing barley grains to germinate, then dried quickly before a plant develops.
A large, rounded loaf made popular by the Parisian baker Lionel Poilâne.
A method of making bread which eliminates the bulk fermentation by using high-energy mixing to speed up gluten development. It is used by many large bakeries because it allows loaves to be made in a much reduced time.
A malt product which has no enzyme function and is used mainly to add flavour and colour to bread products. See also Diastatic malt.
Mixes using a fork to turn the dough while the bowl remains in a fixed position. See also Planetary mixer.
Acids produced by the naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria during fermentation.
The increase in loaf volume during the first few minutes of baking as the heat of the oven speeds up the yeast’s production of carbon dioxide.
During the mixing of a dough, oxidation causes bonds to form which increase the strength of the gluten. Too much mixing or kneading (really only possible with a mixer) can lead to over oxidation, causing the flour to become bleached and the finished loaf to lose flavour.
A natural process occurring after flour is milled causing the flour to whiten and the gluten-forming proteins to strengthen.
A portion of dough made ahead of time and left to ferment, usually overnight and at a cool temperature. The term is French and means fermented dough.
The purest wheat flour, ground from the centre of the endosperm and with a very low ash content.
A board (usually wooden) used by bakers to move loaves into and out of the oven.
Carbohydrates in flour which absorb large amounts of water. Rye flour contains a higher proportion of pentosans than wheat flours. Pentosans also reduce the rate at which a baked loaf stales.
The outer seed coat of wheat and other cereal grains.
An acid contained in the endosperm of grains which reduces the availability of some minerals to humans during digestion.
Mixes using a rotating dough hook while the bowl remains in a fixed position. See also Oblique mixer.
A pre-ferment made using a mixture of flour, water and commercial yeast. Usually has a consistency that is more like a batter than a dough.
A portion of dough made several hours before the final dough and allowed to ferment. There are a number of preferments used in bread making. See also Biga, Chef, Pâte fermentée, Poolish, Sourdough starter and Sponge.
Folding and loosely shaping dough after the bulk fermentation. This helps to build structure in the dough.
The final rise of the dough after shaping.
A white bread baked in a Pullman pan which produces a long, rectangular loaf to provide uniform slices for sandwiches.
A traditional dense rye loaf, slightly sweetened with molasses.
Slowing the rise of a dough by reducing the environmental temperature, usually by putting it in the refrigerator, to improve flavour and/or control the timing of the bake.
The study of how materials deform when a force is applies. The rheological properties of a dough are mainly determined by water absorption.
Flour milled from rye (Secale cereal) which has a higher nutritional value than refined wheat flour.
German sourdough culture.
Cuts made on the surface of the dough just prior to baking. Scoring controls the expansion of the loaf in the oven and creates a distinctive pattern on the baked loaf. See also Lame.
Folding, rolling and sealing the edges of dough to produce the final shape of a loaf. After shaping, the dough may be placed in a tin or proving basket to help retain the shape during the final proof.
Wheat varieties with a low protein content (around 10%). These wheats produce flour which absorbs less water and develops less gluten.
A culture of naturally occurring yeast and lactic acid bacteria, obtained by the fermentation of flour and water.
Flour ground from an ancient variety of wheat (Triticum spelta).
A mixture of flour, water and natural or commercial yeast that is allowed to ferment prior to making the final dough.
A grain that has been allowed to germinate before being used. Sprouted grains are lower in starch but higher in other nutrients than unsprouted.
Flours milled using a traditional method between two horizontal stones. Stoneground flour is generally considered to be higher in nutrients.
100% extraction flour.
A set of three or more bread tins strapped together in a line.
A technique for strengthening gluten in a dough without too much mixing or kneading. Especially useful for high hydration doughs.
Slowly raising the temperature of an ingredient that is sensitive to heat.
The temperature at which yeast is killed as the loaf is baked. This is 55-60oC (130-140oF).
A hybrid of wheat and rye, combining the yield of wheat with the disease resistance of rye.
A heavy, dark German whole grain bread.
A flour milled from white wheat, which has a lighter and milder flavoured bran. White whole wheat is made from the whole grain, including the bran, germ and endosperm, unlike traditional white flour which is milled from only the endosperm.
Wheat varieties that are sown in autumn for a crop the following year. The majority of wheat grown in the UK is winter wheat.
A single celled organism that converts simple sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide through fermentation.