Baking

As you recall from the previous chapter,many changes take place in a dough during baking.The most important changes are these:

1. Oven spring,which is the rapid rising in the oven due to production and expansion of trapped gases as a result of the oven heat.The yeast is very active at first but is killed when the temperature inside the dough reaches 140°F (60°C).

2. Coagulation of proteins and gelatinization of starches. In other words, the product becomes firm and holds its shape.

3. Formation and browning of the crust.

Load the ovens carefully, as proofed doughs are fragile until they become set by baking.

Oven temperatures must be adjusted for the product being baked. Rolls spaced apart are baked at a higher temperature than large loaves so they become browned in the short time it takes to bake them. In general, lean breads such as those popular in North America are baked at 400° to 425°F (200° to 220°C),while some French breads and rolls are baked at 425° to 475°F (220° to 245°C). Rich doughs and sweet doughs are baked at a lower temperature, 350° to 400°F (175° to 200°C) because their fat, sugar, and milk content makes the crust brown faster.

Hard-crusted breads are baked with steam injected into the oven during the first part of the baking period.This aids the formation of a thin, crisp crust.

Rye breads also benefit from baking with steam for the first ten minutes. A break on the side of the loaf is caused by continued rising after the crust is formed.To allow for this final expansion, hard-crusted breads are cut or scored before baking by making shallow slashes on the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor. Small rolls bake completely without a break, so they are usually not scored. Baking times vary considerably, depending on the product. A golden-brown crust color is the normal indication of doneness. Loaves that are done sound hollow when thumped.

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