Thursday, December 31, 2009

bread glossary (and link to more)

I have yet to find a perfect glossary but this is my favorite so far: link to the fresh loaf glossary, a very nice glossary of bread terms that will prove quite useful later on.

Some of the ones I use often as they are on my favorite list. (lifted whole from the link above).

Boule: a round loaf (French for "ball")

Crumb: When a baker talks about the crumb they are talking about the pattern of holes inside of a loaf. (I am still working on this one... but someday hope to understand fully).

Fermentation: (1) the process by which yeast metabolizes sugars to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol (2) (aka bulk fermentation, first fermentation) the period of time the dough rests after mixing and before dividing/shaping.

Gluten: "A tenacious elastic protein of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough." Gluten is what allows bread dough to develop those long, beautiful strands and create large open pockets of air (think about the inside of a loaf of Ciabatta compared to the inside of a muffin). Bread flours tend to be made from hard wheats that are higher in protein than regular flour, providing more gluten.

Poolish: A type of sponge. Typically quite wet, an equal weight of water and flour with an extremely small amount of yeast. For my batch of two French Bread loaves, I typically use 8 ounces of water, 8 ounces of bread flour, and 1/8 teaspoon a instant yeast. Mix it, cover the bowl, and leave it at room temperature overnight. (I understand from other sources as well as discussions on the fresh loaf that this may also be called "old bread" or "old dough" method. and was originally a bit of dough reserved from the previous days batch. I could also be misunderstanding greatly)

Sourdough: a preferment that is a culture of wild yeast and bacteria that is perpetuated by the periodic addition of flour and water, or a bread leavened in whole or part by this culture.

Sponge: Also known as a "preferment," a sponge is a portion of the ingredients that is mixed ahead of time, typically overnight. Using a sponge extends the fermentation process longer and generally releases more complex flavors in your loaf. It can also be used to soften dry ingredients (such as whole grains) and release sugars from the grains.

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