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Baking and Bread Making

Understanding Different Types of Dough

paste used in cooking

Paste used in cooking.

Baking is a science and an art, and at the heart of many baked goods is dough. Understanding the different types of dough and how to make them is a fundamental skill for any aspiring baker. In this unit, we will explore the role of ingredients in dough, and learn how to make and use yeast dough, quick bread dough, pastry dough, and pizza dough.

The Role of Ingredients in Dough

The basic ingredients in most doughs are flour, water, and often a leavening agent. However, the proportions of these ingredients, the type of flour used, and the addition of other ingredients such as fat, sugar, and eggs can drastically change the characteristics of the dough.

  • Flour: Provides the structure for the dough. Different types of flour have different protein contents, which affects the gluten development and thus the texture of the dough.
  • Water: Hydrates the flour to form gluten, which gives the dough its elasticity and strength.
  • Leavening agents: Cause the dough to rise. Yeast, baking powder, and baking soda are common leavening agents.
  • Fat: Adds flavor and creates a tender, flaky texture in the dough.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness and aids in browning. In yeast doughs, it also provides food for the yeast.
  • Eggs: Add richness, color, and can also act as a leavening agent.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough is used for making breads, rolls, and some pastries. The yeast ferments the sugars in the dough, producing carbon dioxide gas which causes the dough to rise. Making yeast dough involves mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough to develop the gluten, letting it rise until it doubles in size, shaping it, and then baking it.

Quick Bread Dough

Quick breads are so named because they don't require the lengthy rising times of yeast breads. Instead, they use baking powder or baking soda as leavening agents, which react immediately upon being mixed with the wet ingredients. Quick bread dough is typically mixed just until the dry ingredients are moistened, to avoid overdeveloping the gluten which can make the bread tough.

Pastry Dough

Pastry dough is used for pies, tarts, and pastries. It is characterized by its high fat content, which creates a flaky, tender texture. The fat is cut into the flour before the liquid is added, creating pockets of fat in the dough that steam during baking to create layers.

Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is a type of yeast dough that is typically stretched or rolled out very thin. It often contains olive oil, which adds flavor and creates a crisp texture when baked at high temperatures.

In conclusion, understanding the different types of dough and how to make them is a fundamental skill in baking. By mastering these doughs, you will be able to create a wide variety of baked goods, from breads and pastries to pizzas and pies.