A first starter refreshment. At this stage having refreshed your starter once you can then use that starter to continue with a second starter refreshment, or for example you can… Read More about 1st build
The second starter refreshment – this can be used as it is for cakes, pastries and pan loaves. See 1st build and 3rd build and How to Refresh a Sourdough… Read More about 2nd build
The third starter refreshment – this is needed for enriched doughs and boules. The more a starter is refreshed the higher the microbial activity, the higher the microbial activity the… Read More about 3rd build
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… Read More about Alveograph
A class of enzymes that catalyse the hydrolysis of starch to form simple sugars. Click here to learn more about attending one of our workshops
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… Read More about Antioxidant
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… Read More about Ascorbic acid
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… Read More about Ash
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… Read More about Autolyse
Used as a dough conditioner to produce and airy and chewy loaf. Banned in the EU and UK for use in bread making.
The method used to build a starter continuously over 24 to 36 hours to increase microbial activity to its peak. Used to rebuild a tired or microbially compromised starter. Literally… Read More about Back to back refreshment
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… Read More about Baker’s percentage/ Baker’s math
Generally, these baskets are made from cane, wicker or wood pulp. It is used to support the sourdough dough during the final prove.A banneton gets better with age. A brand new… Read More about Banneton
Barley has a long history of cultivation. It was grown in the Fertile Crescent alongside other ancient grains like emmer and einkorn. It is a crop that grows well under… Read More about Barley
To increase hydration and get a more open crumb it is best to add more water just a little bit at a time. The technical term for this is what… Read More about Bassinage
A batard is a loaf shaped like a baguette, but much wider and shorter. It has tapered ends and is slashed diagonally and baked using exactly the same method as… Read More about Batard
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.
Barley & Beta Glucans One of the things we ask ourselves most often is what if the bread that you eat every day could impact your health? Several of my… Read More about Beta Glucans
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… Read More about Biga
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.
The measure this hormone to get an idea of a persons stress level. Cortisol is a steroid hormone which is produced naturally in the body in response to stress. Cortisol is… Read More about Cortisol
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.
An easy way to think of cytokines is as a messenger. They carry messages of where the immune system needs to do battle, which mobilises the white blood cells. The… Read More about Cytokines
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… Read More about Diastatic malt
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.
Dysbiosis refers to the imbalance of microbial flora inside the body, for example an imbalance within the gut-microbiome. This imbalance may be caused by one species of gastro-intestinal bacteria taking… Read More about Dysbiosis
An ancient wheat species (Triticum monococcum) that has been in cultivation for thousands of years. Einkorn : the most ancient type of wheat. This is a diploid, meaning that it… Read More about Einkorn
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’.
Emmer is one of the oldest cereals to be cultivated by man. It is closely related to modern wheat varieties and is valued for its ability to grow well in… Read More about Emmer
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… Read More about 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… Read More about Enriched dough
The lining of the gut is called the Epithelial and it performs a variety of functions that includes, absorption, secretion, excretion, filtration, diffusion, and sensory reception but one of its… Read More about Epithelium
Exopolysaccharides (EPS) are complex sugars (polysaccharides) which are secreted mainly by sourdough lactic acid bacteria during the long slow fermentation process. In addition to natural polysaccharides present in cereal grains… Read More about Exopolysaccharides
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… Read More about Extraction rate
Sourdough starters are a symbiotic relationship between lactic acid bacteria and yeast. So you will find different find both yeast and lactic acid bacteria. There are three categories of of… Read More about Facultative Heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria.
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… Read More about Fermentation
A phenolic phytochemical found in the cell wall of plants. One of the most abundant phenolic acids in plants and an antioxidant.
Dietary fibre is a term that is used for plant-based carbohydrates that, unlike other carbohydrates (such as sugars and starch), are not digested in the small intestine. It also includes… Read More about Fibre
Flaxseed (or linseed) are small seeds that are high in fibre and can be used to bring a range of health benefits to your baking. There is evidence that flax… Read More about Flaxseed
Fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols: a group of short-chain carbohydrates (lactose, fructose, fructans, sugar alcohols, and galactans) that are indigestible to some people and may be associated with symptoms… Read More about FODMAP
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… Read More about Folding
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… Read More about Free Radical
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… Read More about 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… Read More about Glutelin
A non-selective herbicide widely used to kill broadleaf plants and grasses by interfering with an enyme pathway needed for plant growth.
Freshly milled flour that has not had time to oxidise
What is the Gut microbiome? The gut microbiome comprises of the trillions of bacterial species that inhabit our gut, mainly the large intestine. In the last decade, the gut microbiota… Read More about Gut Micobiome
The Gut-Brain Axis is a signalling pathway which exists between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. The communication between these two systems is largely affected by the composition… Read More about Gut-Brain Axis
Varieties of wheat with a high protein and gluten content, making them especially suitable for bread making. Usually grown in areas with colder climates.
In sourdough starters you have yeast and lactic acid bacteria. There are three types of lactic acid bacteria, based on the kind of acids that they produce. The LAB ( Lactic… Read More about Heterofermentative lactobacilli
Flour with an extraction rate between whole wheat (100%) and bread flour (70-75%).
In sourdough starters you will find both yeast and lactic acid bacteria. There are three types of lactic acid bacteria, based on the kind of acids that they produce. The LAB… Read More about Homofermentative 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.
Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to and defending itself against injuries, infections and even, in some cases, food that your immune system recognises as a threat. When your… Read More about Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to and defending itself against injuries, infections and even, in some cases, food that your immune system recognises as a threat. When your… Read More about Inflammation
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common life-long gastrointestinal disorder in which sufferers experience digestive discomfort in the form of stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhoea and bloating. These symptoms occur for a… Read More about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Organic compounds formed when fat is metabolised in the body.
Khorasan (Triticum turgidum subsp. turanicum) is an ancient form of wheat, named after the historical region of what is now Iran. Grains of Khorasan are larger than modern wheats and it is… Read More about Khorasan (Kamut)
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. How to make a leaven or a levain.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), commonly though incorrectly referred to as “bad” cholesterol because they deliver fat molecules to cells specially within blood vessels such as arteries. The deposition of fat within arteries could… Read More about Low density lipoproteins (LDL)
The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar – it occurs when certain foods are heated or stored, and changes their flavour and colour. It’s… Read More about Maillard reaction
Produced by allowing barley grains to germinate, then dried quickly before a plant develops.
A hormone which helps regulate your sleep cycle. Its production is influenced by your body’s internal clock and by exposure to light. Generally, melatonin levels will rise through the evening,… Read More about Melatonin
A substance necessary for metabolism.
A large, rounded loaf made popular by the Parisian baker Lionel Poilâne.
Naked oats (Avena nuda) are oats which naturally lose their husk during the harvesting process. They are recommended for home milling because it is the husk that makes oats difficult… Read More about Naked oats
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… Read More about No-time dough
A harmless substance that when taken by a patient is associated with harmful effects due to negative expectations or the psychological condition of the patient.
A malt product which has no enzyme function and is used mainly to add flavour and colour to bread products. See also Diastatic malt.
Oats (Avena sativa) are a widely cultivated cereal which provide a good source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and beta-glucan. They have been linked to a number of health benefits,… Read More about Oats
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… Read More about Oxidation of dough
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… Read More about Pentosan
The outer seed coat of wheat and other cereal grains.
Phenolics are compounds that have gained much attention in many scientific research areas due to their strong antioxidant properties which are thought to be beneficial to health. Scientists believe that… Read More about Phenolics
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.
Polyphenols are phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring compounds that are what give plants their colours and help to protect them from various stress that they might face in nature, such… Read More about Polyphenols
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.
What are Prebiotics These are non-digestible elements like complex sugars, dietary fibres and resistant starches in whole foods, mostly from plants and fungi (with a few exceptions), have been attracting… Read More about Prebiotic
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… Read More about Preferment
Folding and loosely shaping dough after the bulk fermentation. This helps to build structure in the dough.
Probiotic bacteria are found mainly in fermented foods, a sourdough starter when it is alive is a probiotic. There are many studies that promoting a positive health image of probiotics… Read More about Probiotic
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. Rye is widely grown in central and eastern Europe. It has lower gluten levels… Read More about Rye 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… Read More about Score
Seeds are little nutritional packages, containing everything needed for a plant to germinate. This means they are rich in fibre, fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Different seeds bring different nutritional… Read More about Seeds (an overview)
A neurotransmitter…it is created by a biochemical conversion process that combines tryptophan, a component of proteins, with tryptophan hydroxylase, a chemical reactor. Together, they form 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), or serotonin. It is… Read More about Serotonin
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… Read More about Shaping
What are Short Chain Fatty Acids and how do they influence our overall health? The end products of dietary fibre fermentation by the gut microbiota are short-chain fatty acids (SCFA),… Read More about Short chain fatty acids
Wheat varieties with a low protein content (around 10%). These wheats produce flour which absorbs less water and develops less gluten.
So what is a starter? A culture of naturally occurring yeast and lactic acid bacteria, obtained by the fermentation of flour and water. By refreshing an existing starter with further… Read More about Sourdough starter
Spelt (Triticum spelta) is an ancient grain thought to have arisen from a cross between emmer and wild goats grass. Spelt flour has a lovely, slightly nutty flavour, along with… Read More about Spelt flour
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.
A maintenance schedule to maintain and build microbial levels within your starter. The process we use to optimise microbe population in order to optimally ferment your dough. This involves continuous… Read More about Starter refreshment
Flours milled using a traditional method between two horizontal stones. Stoneground flour is generally considered to be higher in nutrients.
100% extraction flour which is also known as strong white flour. The colour actually depends on many factors including the kind of grains and the milling process.
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.
An essential amino acid used to build proteins. It can’t be synthesised in the human body, so foods containing tryptophan need to be included as part of a healthy diet…. Read More about Tryptophan
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… Read More about White whole wheat
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.