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Baking Blog

Ingredient Types and Functions


Uniquely holds three characteristics important to bread making: elasticity, viscosity and extensibility

For most bread doughs, vital wheat gluten can be used at 1-2% (baker’s percent) to improve the machinability of the dough. For multigrain and wheat bread, or any other types of bread with bran and fiber, vital wheat gluten application could go up to 20%.6 When using vital wheat gluten from 2-4% (baker’s percent), an increase of water needs to be at 1.5% for every 1% vital wheat gluten added.2 This is to ensure proper hydration of the vital wheat gluten for it to function optimally.

Excessive use of wheat gluten would result in drier doughs that have a hard time with pan flow, and a higher than normal oven spring

Grains and Seeds

Amaranth Flour 
Blend with wheat flour, maximum usage of 15% of wheat flour levels, to prevent undesired flavor and texture. Use in tortillas, bread, cakes, cookies.

For gluten-free products, blend amaranth flour with other gluten-free flours (i.e. buckwheat, sorghum)

Amylase only works on starch molecules. Amylase, like other enzymes, is sensitive to pH, temperature, moisture, ions and ionic strength, shearing and pressure. Amylase functions best in the range 30°C to 40°C (86°F to 104°F) and are usually destroyed at temperatures above 45°C (113°F). In breadmaking, amylase breaks down complex sugars into simple sugars. Not only does this provide additional sugar for yeast fermentation, it also reduces the amount of branched amylopectin chains. Highly branched amylopectin chains in starch accounts for rapid staling rates in bread. Therefore by reducing these large amylopectin structures, bread staling is reduced, and the softness of the bread upon storage, is extended

Exceptionally high in fiber and low in starch, makes  it one of the lowest glycemic index (GI) grains you can use. With three times the soluble fiber of oats, it’s a delicious, nutty-tasting way to add nutrition to baked goods

Flavor: Subtly sweet and nutty

Texture effect: Often moist in small amounts; crumbly in larger quantities

Works best in: Pancakes and quick breads

Gluten free: No

Millet has no gluten and so is ideal for coeliacs (those with gluten allergies), is high in protein so is ideal for vegetarians and vegans, and is “alkalising” which means it balances the acidity of diet that is low in fruit and vegetables and high in simple carbohydrates and meat protein

Linseed( flaxseed)
Flaxseed enhances the nutrition profile of baked goods by adding fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Flax must be ground for human digestion to fully benefit

Rolled Oats
Rolled oats provide a source of whole grains and fiber to baked goods

Oat Bran
Oats provide a source of whole grains and fiber to baked goods

Pumpkin Seed
Rich in essential vitamins, minerals, protein,fibre,irons,fats,magnesium,irons,amino acids. Pumpkin Seeds can be added as an inclusion or a topping on Breads. Very common in Germany.

Poppy Seed (Blue and White)
Used as a enhancer for Seeded Bread Mixes and Toppings
Rich in Protein,Vitamins,Minerals and Fats

Quinoa flour enhances the nutrition profile of baked goods, it is high in protein and has a nutritionally balanced amino acid profile.
It can be used as a wheat flour replacement for gluten-free products

Rye is high in B vitamins, especially niacin. It contains iron, zinc, and magnesium as well as vitamin E, rutin, antioxidants, and insoluble fiber. It has a bitter-strong, earthy flavor with a pleasant aftertaste

Used as a enhancer for Seeded Bread Mixes and Toppings
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, vitamin B1, selenium and dietary fiber

Semolina is a granular flour with a light yellow color. It is produced from durum wheat, which is used almost exclusively for making pasta. Durum wheat has the ideal properties for making the best pasta. It is high in protein and gluten, which are necessary components for pasta making.

Semolina flour is available coarsely ground or ground twice for a fine texture. Besides pasta, semolina flour is occasionally used for gnocchi (an Italian dumpling), various breads, and a variety of other baked goods. Bread made with semolina flour has a crispy crust and a chewy interior. It is interesting to note that Italian pasta makers never refer to semolina as flour – they refer to it as grain.

Sorghum can be used in combination with gums and starches to replace wheat flour for gluten-free product

Good source of selenium, which is a proven enemy of cancer. They contain bone-healthy minerals. Besides calcium, your bones need magnesium and copper to stay strong. Sunflower seeds have both these minerals

Triticale flour has a higher protein and lysine content than many other cereal grains. Triticale flour could be used as the only flour or wheat-rye variety breads. In traditional pan breads,it can replace a portion of the wheat flour. It has low gluten content so it can be used in the production of layer cakes, although additional flavors may be needed to mask its nuttier flavor profile

Wheat Bran
Wheat Bran is used as a source of dietary fiber for preventing colon diseases (including cancer), stomach cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, hemorrhoids and hiatal hernia

Wheat Germ
are the repoductive parts of the wheat grains. Like all germs, they are rich in vitamins, nutrients and oils. The oils are the reason the germs are removed during the milling process: they can become rancid quickly and reduce the shelf life of the flour. In whole wheat, the germ remains included, hence the shorter shelf life

Inclusion of Salt

Salt is an important ingredient in bread baking because it slows rising time allowing the flavor of the dough to develop, and it adds to the flavor of the baked product.

Salt facilitates the development of crust color, which tends to improve taste.
In the absence of salt, the crust will remain pale.

Salt improves the flavor and odor of bread.

Salt also improves the shelf life of bread. The salt content of bread should never exceed 2.0% and is recommended by the Heart and Stroke Society to remain around 1.8%.

Inclusion of Sugar

Flavor: Sugar is required for fermentation (activates the yeast) which gives breads its yeasty flavor

Crust browning: Sugar can be broken down into its two monosaccharide units (glucose and fructose), which can take part in the Maillard reaction

Tenderizer: When the appropriate amount of sugar is added in the formula, a desirable amount of gluten develops and optimum elasticity is obtained. Sugars are also used in bread making to prevent stickiness due to its hygroscopic nature. In cakes, sugars tend to disrupt the gluten network, making the cake more short and crumbly

Shelf life extender: In cakes and cookies, sugar binds to water molecules which slows moisture loss, preventing baked goods from staling too quickly

Commercial Yeasts and  Wild Yeasts

Yeast is the heart of the bread-making process.
It’s the essential ingredient that makes the dough rise and baked bread its wonderful taste and aroma.

Yeast is a living plant-like microorganism.

When activated by warm liquid, and fed by sugar or starch, the yeast releases tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas.

This gas is what makes the dough rise and achieve its light texture after baking

Commercial Fresh
3 major functions in the dough:
1) leavening
2) maturing
3) flavor and aroma

Commercial Dried
The dried form of yeast, used as a natural leavener, due to its ability to produce carbon dioxide from carbohydrate fermentation
 3 major functions in the dough:
1) leavening
2) maturing
3) flavor and aroma

Biga (Italian)
A biga is the Italian version of a firm pre-ferment.
Consistency of water to flour is around 38%

Levain (French)
Pâte Fermentée or preferment to bring out the flavor and improve the structure of the bread

Poolish is a preferment with Polish origins

It is by definition made with equal weights of flour and water (that is, it is 100% hydration)

Sour Teig (German)
 A German word for Preferment
Used in Rye Breads and produces a depth of flavour, good keeping properties,
and excellent crust colour

A preferment for Bread making

Sours, Preferments for Sour Doughs

When the preferment has ripened sufficiently, it should be fully risen and just beginning to recede in the center. This is the best sign that correct development has been attained. It is somewhat harder to detect this quality in a loose preferment such as a poolish. In this case, ripeness is indicated when the surface of the poolish is covered with small fermentation bubbles.

CO2 cluster bubbles are seen breaking through the surface. The aroma should be pleasing that has a perceptible tang to it. Take a small taste. If the preferment has ripened properly, we should taste a slight tang, sometimes with a subtle sweetness present as well. 

Dough structure improved. A characteristic of all preferments is the development of acidity as a result of fermentation activity, and this acidity has a strengthening effect on the gluten structure

 Depth of Flavor. Breads made with preferments often possess a subtle wheaty aroma, delicate flavor, a pleasing aromatic tang, and a long finish. Organic acids and esters are a natural product of preferments, and they contribute to superior bread flavor

Shelf Life/ All Natural. There is a relationship between acidity in bread and keeping quality. Up to a point, the lower the pH of a bread, that is, the higher the acidity, the better the keeping quality of the bread. Historically, Europeans, particularly those in rural areas, baked once every two, three, or even four weeks. The only breads that could keep that long were breads with high acidity, that is, levain or sourdough breads

Overall production time is reduced. Above all, to attain the best bread we must give sufficient time for its development. Bread that is mixed and two or three hours later is baked will always lack character when compared with bread that contains a well-developed preferment. By taking five or ten minutes today to scale and mix a sourdough or poolish, we significantly reduce the length of the bulk fermentation time required tomorrow. The preferment immediately incorporates acidity and organic acids into the dough, serving to reduce required floor time after mixing. As a result the baker can divide, shape, and bake in substantially less time than if he or she were using a straight dough

Rye flour offers some specific considerations. When baking bread that contains a high proportion of rye flour, it is necessary to acidify the rye (that is, use a portion of it in a sourdough phase) in order to stabilize its baking ability. Rye flour possesses a high level of enzymes compared to wheat flour, and when these are unregulated, they contribute to a gumminess in the crumb. The acidity present in sourdough reduces the activity of the enzymes, thereby promoting good crumb structure and superior flavor


Eggs add food value, color and flavor to breads. They also help make the crumb fine and the crust tender. Eggs add richness and protein. Some recipes call for eggs to be used as a wash, which adds color.

Fats and Oils

In bread making fat provides flavour but more importantly lubricates the dough. This helps to retain the gases released during baking thus ensuring a well risen loaf which will have a soft crumb and will stay fresh longer
Fats added to early in the mixing process prevents the gluten strands of flour from developing

Olive Oil: Derived from the pressing of olives. Extra virgin olive oil is from the first pressing of cold olives, while pure olive oil is a blend of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.

Canola Oil: Perfect for making tender cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, and quick breads. 

Corn Oil: Extracted from the germ of the corn kernel. Has a rich taste.

Sunflower Oil: Extracted from the germ of the sunflower seed.

Soybean Oil: Made from the press of soybean



The most important liquid because it does 2 critical things

It dissolves and activates the yeast
It blends with the flour to create a sticky and elastic dough

Malt Powder Enzymes

Diastatic malt powder contains active amylase that is part of the sprouting process. There are two forms of amylase; alpha and beta. Both of which turn starches into sugars, creating food for the yeast. Degrees Lintner is used to measure the diastatic power of malt. The higher the Litner value, the higher the ability of the malt to reduce the starch to sugars. Usually, a high percentage of that sugar is maltose, which yeast loves. When using the accepted AACC method, the degrees Lintner is approximately ¼ the value of the maltose. Because the diastatic malt produces sugars, the other sweeteners in a formula may be reduced. However, note that the yeast does not consume these sugars the exact same way as traditional sugars and sweeteners. Not only does diastatic malt act as a sweetener, it also improves loaf volume, texture, and overall flavor

The enzymes and sugars do three important things

  1. Provide nutrients for yeast.
  2. Facilitate the conversion of starch into sugar, making bread more flavorful.
  3. Improves Bread Crust Colour