It is the most common and most popular baked product which is had all round the world in some or the other form- leavened or unleavened. Each country has its own recipe and specialties when it comes to making bread. Bread is consumed in many forms like bread rolls, bread buns, and loaves etc which are leavened breads. Unleavened breads would include pita, phulkas, chapatti, puris etc.
Leavened breads, which are most common, use four main ingredients: Flour, salt, sugar, water and yeast. To make bread, ensure that you scale and weigh the ingredients properly. Once that is done, you can start preparing the dough for bread. Mixed dough for yielding aerated loaf of bread should be fermented for the proper length of time during which time yeast cells act on the sugars and produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. Once fermented, the dough will rise in volume which is because of gas retention. This risen dough is punched to release the gases and covered under a wet muslin cloth. The dough will rise once again and will be punched again to remove the gases, will be rolled into desired shapes and then baked.
A baker makes use of various additives which are collectively called Bread Improvers. These improvers enables the baker to produce to produce an improved loaf, with better keeping properties, finer texture, softer crumb, added bloom or enhanced flavour. Bread additives can be in the form of mineral additives, enriching agents or yeast foods like malt sugar, demerara sugar etc.
Made using refined flour or a combination of whole wheat flour and refined flour. It is the most commonly used bread and also sold as sandwich bread.
It is actually made with 100% whole wheat flour. Caramel is usually added to give the "brown" colouring.
Multi grain Bread/ Seven grain Bread:
Bread made using refined flour or a combination of whole wheat flour and refined flour. Grains like sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, safflower seeds; rye etc is added to increase the fiber content. It is more nutritious than white bread.
It is a part of Russian, Scandinavia and German cuisine. Made with rye grain and highly nutritious. It is darker in colour and stronger in flavour. Rye bread is disc-shaped, with a hole in the center for easier storing. These breads have a rough texture and a stronger taste than wheat bread, and can be stored for longer periods of time.
It's unleavened bread which is not fermented much. It forms a pocket when cut into halves and these pockets can be stuffed with vegetables, cutlets, falafel, grilled chicken breast etc. Pita can be grilled or served just like that along with hummus (chickpea dip).
Irish Soda Bread:
It is a quick bread made with a particular variety of soft wheat grown in Ireland along with baking soda and buttermilk.
Roti/ Chapati/ Phulka:
Unleavened breads made from whole wheat flour. These are disc shaped and served along with gravies, subzis, etc.
They are a staple diet in Mexican cuisine. It is made using maize flour and is thin, disc shaped (similar to Indian breads like roti). Tortillas can be stuffed or deep fried and then served along with dips.
Quite popular in Italy, it is seasoned with olives, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs. It can be topped with cheese or stuffed with meat or vegetables and then baked. A pizza dough is usually similar to focaccia dough.
An Italian delicacy, this bread is moon shaped and is commonly stuffed with vegetables, meat etc.
It is a Chinese delicacy and is made by steaming or deep frying a wheat flour base dough or rice flour dough. It can also be stuffed with vegetables or meat.
A french bread, boat shaped, which has a rough exterior and soft interior. There are various slits on the baguette and many a times it is sprinkled with poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc.
Commonly called as Breadsticks, they are pieces of dough rolled up into thin seeds and can be topped with sesame seeds, cheese, mixed herbs, poppy seeds etc.
It is an Italian white bread which is elongated, broad and flat. It should be
somewhat collapsed in the middle.
How to select
French rolls are simply small rounded baguettes, made with French dough. They are best served with soup and main course as compared to the standard size baguettes. It is best consumed on the day it is baked. However, it can be foil wrapped and then refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Basic bread dough can be shaped into various sizes and designs. They can be shaped in the form of plaits, made into a chessboard design using white bread dough and brown bread dough, bread rolls, sticks, croissants, loaves etc. Also, they can be flavoured with various ingredients like garlic, herbs, potato, cheese etc.
When bread is a little old, it can be dried in the oven or toasted on open flame and then ground into bread crumbs. Alternatively, bread can be cubed and deep fried to make croutons which can be stored for a longer time.
Staleness in bread is the dryness and crumbliness felt by the palate. The flavour gets insipid as the bread gets more stale. Crumb staling happens because if changes in starch. Thus, staling is a shift of moisture within the loaf rather than its loss. Thus, bread makers use anti staling agents like lecithin, soya flour, GMS etc which improves texture and increases volume etc.
If purchasing from the bakery, ensure that it is freshly baked. You can make out from the crust and aroma of the bread. If purchasing sandwich bread, check the manufacturing date, expiry date and packaging. If purchasing a particular variety of bread, check the packaging for details of the same. Culinary Uses
· Bread, when baked in a loaf form, can be thinly or thickly sliced as per recipe requirement. Maintain or discard the crust if you want. Sliced bread loaves are most commonly used to make sandwiches with various fillings like vegetables, shredded chicken, salami, cheese, omelette etc (toasted or grilled), open toasts, hot dog rolls, submarines, etc.
· Bread is a basic accompaniment to soups. These breads are usually in the form of bread rolls, grissini sticks etc.
· Bread, when baked into buns, act as a base for burgers. Burger buns are usually sprinkled with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
· Croissants (crab shaped) can be plain, stuffed with vegetables or chicken etc and had as a snack.
· Butter a few slices of bread and rub some garlic on each slice. Cut into cubes and bake in the oven till crisp. Use as croutons for soups. They can be flavoured with herbs, cheese etc.
· Indian breads include roti, chapatti, naan, parathas, kulchas etc. This assortment of breads is placed in a bread basket and served with gravies, subzis and dals.
· Bread is used to make pannis- an Italian speciality where ciabatta bread is sliced and then stuffed with vegetables/ chicken and cheese and then grilled.
· Pita bread is grilled and served along with hummus.
· Bread dough can be stuffed with a creamy sauce cooked with vegetables like sweet corn, mushrooms, herbs and cheese. Bake and serve as a mid day snack.
· Bread dough can be rolled thinly and then topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc. Cut into thin strips or into triangles and then bake till golden brown and crisp. These strips can be used as crackers or as a garnish for salads.
· Bread croutons is used in the famous Ceasar salad where it is combined with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper etc.
· Bread, in the form of crumbs, is used as a coating agent for tikkies, patties etc. Any such fritters etc are first rolled in bread crumbs and then deep fried. Bread crumbs is also used in thickening few sauces, in prepapration of crab cakes etc.
· Use sliced bread to make sweets like bread butter pudding, double ka meetha (fried bread soaked in rabdi and garnished with nuts) etc.
· Prepare French toast for breakfast. Soak slices of breads in a mixture of eggs, sugar and condiments, cook in a broad pan using butter and serve warm. How to store
It is best consumed when bought fresh. However, if it remains, cover in plastic film, place in a bread box and then store under refrigerated conditions. Try and use as soon as possible. Alternatively, grind into bread crumbs or cube and deep fry to make bread croutons which can be stored in an air tight container for few days. Bread that is kept in warm or moist conditions is prone to mold growth. Health Benefits
· Breads are high in carbohydrates.
· Depending on the variety of bread, bread can increase your protein intake and add fiber to your diet. Switching from white bread to whole wheat bread helps relieve constipation.
· They can add healthy vitamins, minerals and fats to the body.
· Eating as a slice of bread before bedtime is known to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
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