The Science of Bread

Photo by: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha

People have been baking bread for a long time. Wheat for bread — or maybe beer, but they made the beer from the bread, so same thing — was the reason people invented agriculture.

After all that time we’ve ended up with thousands of variations on flour, salt, water and yeast. You can follow any of these recipes and do pretty well. But to be able to modify a recipe, or troubleshoot when a loaf doesn’t come out right, you’re going to need to know a bit of the science behind bread.

And that means you need to understand gluten, the protein that gives bread its springiness and lets it rise. Rather than write my own version, I’ll point you to this great explanation of gluten, and what happens when you knead bread.

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