The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Science

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Bread Science

I came across this investigation researching an indirectly related subject--general gas permeability of baked bread.

http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/39916/1/J%20Food%20Engineering-2012-108-128.pdf

It deals with the effects on crumb, oven-spring and, especially, crust when baking dough is subjected to varying amounts of steam.

I found it interesting, and--if I read it correctly--in some cases "less is more". For example, we like a thin, crispy  crust, and a light crust color in baguettes.  I typically steam baguettes for only 10 minutes--reasoning the thinner loaves will have reached their limit in oven spring in that time. The investigation reports this relatively short steam exposure also contributes to a lighter crust.

I found this report quite readable. Although I have a science background, it's not a food science background. Consequently, I frequently find reading food science reports difficult. This one isn't.

David G

 

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

So, what I got out of skimming through that report is the following: More steam makes for a thicker, stronger, yet lighter colored crust, with a glossier appearance due to gelatinization of the starch on the surface, which also helps the bread retain more moisture for a longer time after baking.