Science of bread making

Bread is the product of baking a mixture of flour, water, salt, yeast and other ingredients. The basic process involves mixing of ingredients until the flour is converted into a stiff paste or dough, followed by baking the dough into a loaf.

The aims of the breadmaking processes used in New Zealand (mechanical dough development, bulk fermentation and no-time doughs) are to produce dough that will rise easily and have properties required to make good bread for the consumer.

To make good bread, dough made by any process must be extensible enough for it to relax and to expand while it is rising. A good dough is extensible if it will stretch out when pulled. It also must be elastic, that is, have the strength to hold the gases produced while rising, and stable enough to hold its shape and cell structure.

Two proteins present in flour (gliadin and glutenin) form gluten when mixed with water. It is gluten that gives dough these special properties. Gluten is essential for bread making and influences the mixing, kneading and baking properties of dough. When you first start to bake bread, learning to mix the ingredients is very important.

Breadmaking involves the following basic steps: