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Of flours, eggs, sweeteners, colours, fats, emulsifiers
Tuesday, 12 July, 2022, 13 : 00 PM [IST]
Joshna Joseph
Bakery ingredients consist of flours,eggs, sweeteners, colours, fats, emulsifiers, dairy based ingredients and so on.Varying the proportions of ingredients in a recipe alters the texture and flavour of the finished product.

Flour provides the structure in baked goods. Wheat flour contains proteins that interact with each other when mixed with water, forming gluten. It is this elastic gluten framework which stretches to contain the expanding leavening gases during rising. The protein content of flour affects the strength of dough.

The different wheat flour types contain varying amounts of the gluten forming proteins. Hard wheat, mainly grown in the midwestern US has high protein content. Soft wheat, grown in the southern US has less protein.

In yeast breads, a strong gluten framework is desirable, but in cakes, quick breads and pastries, high protein flour makes a tough product. Bread flour is hard wheat flour with about 12 per cent protein. Bread flour is used for yeast raised bread because the dough it produces has more gluten than dough made with other flours. Sufficient gluten produces a light loaf with good volume. Slices hold together, rather than crumble. Cake flour is soft wheat flour that is 7.5 per cent protein. The lower gluten content causes products to have a tender, more crumbly texture that is desirable in cake. All purpose flour is blended during milling to achieve a protein content of 10.5 per cent. This medium protein flour can be used for all baking purposes.

Sucrose (table sugar) has many functions in food other than providing sweetness. In small amounts, added sugar helps yeast begin producing gas for raising yeast dough. Sugar in large amounts slows yeast fermentation; in very sweet dough the rising time is longer. Sugar tenderises dough and batter products and may help the baked product to brown. Moisture is retained better in sweetened breads than in unsweetened breads. It is the sugar in cookie dough that causes spreading to occur during baking.

Fructose in crystal form is nearly twice as sweet as sucrose. Fructose attracts more water than sugar, therefore, fructose sweetened products tend to be moist. Baked products made with fructose will be darker than if they were made with sucrose.

Honey is sweeter than sugar because it contains fructose. Honey has a distinctive flavour. Molasses imparts a dark colour and strong flavour to baked foods. It is not as sweet as sugar.

The following artificial sweeteners are available for home use. They provide sweetness to homemade foods but lack the browning, tenderising, and moisture retaining properties provided by table sugar. Specially formulated recipes are often needed to make a product with acceptable texture and appearance when using artificial sweeteners. Because the different low-calorie sweeteners vary in sweetness and bulk, package directions must be followed for the amount to use in place of sugar.

Saccharin is a heat stable non-caloric sweetener that, in its pure form, is 200-300 times as sweet as sucrose.

Leavening Agents
Baking soda produces gas for leavening when combined with an acidic ingredient such as vinegar, lemon juice, or molasses. The volume of quick breads, cookies, cakes, and some candies depends largely on the amount of baking soda added to the batter or dough. Reducing the amount of baking soda without replacing it with another leavening agent will reduce the volume and lightness of the finished product.

Baking powder contains baking soda and the right amount of acid (cream of tartar) to react with it. Batters made with double acting baking powder rise twice; once when dry
and moist ingredients are mixed together, and again when the product is baked.

Fat, in the form of solid shortening, margarine, or butter; or in the liquid form of oil, contributes tenderness, moistness, and a smooth mouthfeel to baked goods. Fats enhance the flavours of other ingredients as well as contributing its own flavour, as in the case of butter. In baked goods such as muffins, reducing the amount of fat in a recipe results in a tougher product because gluten develops more freely. A small amount of fat in yeast dough helps the gluten to stretch, yielding a loaf with greater volume.

Shortening is 100 per cent fat and is solid at room temperature. It is often made of hydrogenated (solidified by adding hydrogen) vegetable oils, but sometimes contains animal fats. The flakiness of pastry comes from solid fat such as shortening or lard rolled in layers with flour. There are emulsifiers in shortening to help emulsify shortening and liquid. This means that oil and water stay mixed together, creating an even distribution of flavours and a consistent texture in batters and dough.  Butter imparts a good flavour without a greasy mouthfeel to baked goods because it melts at body temperature.  Margarine is made from fat or oil that is partially hydrogenated, water, milk solids, and salt. Fat free margarines also are available and contain no fat. These margarines are best used as spreads. Oil is used in some muffin, bread and cake recipes. Oil pastry is mealy rather than flaky.

Eggs serve many functions in baked goods. They add flavour and colour, contribute to structure, incorporate air when beaten, provide liquid, fat, and protein, and emulsify fat with liquid ingredients. Reducing or omitting egg yolks can result in less tenderness. Reducing or omitting egg whites can result in less volume. Cakes made without the emulsifying action from the egg yolk may not have a uniform flavour and texture.

Liquids are necessary in baked goods for hydrating protein, starch and leavening agents. When hydration occurs, water is absorbed and the chemical changes necessary for structure and texture development can take place. Liquids contribute moistness to the texture and improve the mouthfeel of baked products. When water vaporises in a batter or dough, the steam expands the air cells, increasing the final volume of the product. Milk contributes water and valuable nutrients to baked goods. It helps browning (Maillard reaction) to occur and adds flavour. When making yeast dough, milk should be scalded and cooled before adding to other ingredients. This is done to improve the quality of the dough and the volume of the bread.  Juice may be used as the liquid in a recipe. Because fruit juices are acidic, they are probably best used in baked products that have baking soda as an ingredient.

(The author is sr executive QA and regulatory at Roha Dyechem Pvt. Ltd)
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