Doughs And Batters

Are you having success in making doughs and batters? You need first a knowlege of various flours and then methods of baking and cooking with them.

When making batters and doughs it is very necessary to accurately measure all ingredients in each recipe. Oven temperatures should be related for the given mixtures. Essential ingredients used for making doughs and batters are: eggs, liquid, fat, flour, sugar, leavening agent, and salt. Some mixtures will need various flavoring substances added.

The essential ingredient is flour that is derived from grinding cereal grains to a fine powder. Grain that has not been finely ground is called meal. The grain of choice for flour is wheat as it has the proteins gliadin and gluten. Wheat contains the proteins gliadin and gluten that when combined with liquid form gluten. This forms the elastic part of the dough that allows the dough to expand as yeast or as other leaven released gases. This gluten coagulates and gives structure to the baked food.

White wheat flour is made by grinding and sifting cleaned wheat. This process is a separation of the endosperm from the bran and germ. There are three main portions of the wheat kernel. The three portions consist of 84 per cent endosperm, 14.5 per cent bran layers, and 2.2 per cent germ

If there is no separation during the milling process the flour is called whole wheat, entire wheat or graham. The peeled wheat flour includes all parts of the wheat kernel except the cull or the coarsest bran layer. The wheat passes through a series of rollers that crush the grain, and detaches the endosperm from the bran. The endosperm is sifted after each crushing. These flours are known as five break flours. Middlings are the term given to the inner portion of the kernel when granulated. After it is separated from the bran, it is fed through smooth rolls to reduce the particles to produce fine flour. There are about eight streams of flour that are derived from this rolling and sifting of purified middlings. From this purification process various grades and types of flour are made. There will be a variation of content as to gluten content, germ, and bran. The last reductions are not suitable for baking purposes. About 75 percent of the process becomes white flour. The composition of the flour depends on the wheat used and the degree of fractionation.

The miller will grade white flours on the basis of the flour streams used to make them. The straight grade contains 2 to 3 per cent of the poorest streams is withheld. There is very little flour that is of a straight grade. The patent flours are derived from the refined portion of the endosperm and can be made from any class of wheat. These patent flours include short, medium and long. Clear grade is from streams that are withheld in the making of patent flours. Most flour on the market is bleached as most consumers request white flour. Unbleached flour is similar to all-purpose but it has not been bleached.

Wheats have classifications that include durum (hard wheat), soft and hard. Semolina, a granular flour of high gluten content is made of the durum wheat. Wheats are grown in various parts of the United States and in western Canada.

Bread flour will have a slightly higher percentage of gluten and have a much stronger and more elastic gluten than any other type of flour. This flour is best used for yeast breads and can be used for quick breads. All-purpose flour has a less strong and elastic gluten than bread flour and can be a blend of hard and soft wheat flour. It is better suited to quick breads than for other uses. Some cakes that are of a high fat, high sugar and high liquid will bake better when all-purpose flour is used. Cake flours are produced to reduce the gluten content to a very small amount of about 7 percent. These are made from soft wheat and are finely ground. This flour is desirable for cakes. Pastry flour is made from soft winter wheat and has a weaker quality of gluten and a slightly lower percentage than is found in bread and all-purpose flours. It can be used in cakes and pastries but is better or all quick breads and waffles. All-purpose flour has a less strong and elastic gluten than bread flour and can be a blend of hard and soft wheat flour. It is better suited to quick breads than for other uses. Some cakes that are of a high fat, high sugar and high liquid will bake better when all-purpose flour is used. All-purpose and bread flours are more granular than pastry and cake flours and are usually more creamy colored due to their higher middlings content. By the bleaching process the color is modified in flours.

Enriched flour is white flour that has B-vitamins and iron added. Some contain calcium and vitamin D. The whole wheat, entire wheat and graham flours are products made from the whole wheat kernel with nothing added or removed. Cracked wheat even though it is not a flour is used sometimes for bread and quick breads. It is combined with whole wheat or white flour.

There are other flours and meals than whole wheat flour. These flours are used in yeast and quick breads. Barley flour contains hordein, a protein with properties similar to gliadin. Rye flour contains mostly gliadin. Corn meal and corn flour is a granular product made from either white or yellow corn. There are various miscellaneous flours such as rice flour that is rice starch. Soybean flour is from soybeans which are legumes. Potato flour is mostly starch. Buckwheat flour contains a glutenous substance.

Flours today are leavened which means they are made porous by expansion of gas which has been incorporated and/or generated in the mixture. There are two general methods of leavings. In the fermentation method a biological agent breaks down some constituent of the mixture, forming a leavening gas. Yeast ferments sugar to form carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. There is an enzyme zymase that is responsible for this fermentation. The maltose from starch is further broken down to glucose by the maltase enzyme from yeast. There are two forms of yeast, dry and compressed. The compressed is composed of moist living cells pressed into cake form with a small amount of starch as binder. It is perishable and must be kept refrigerated. Dry yeast is made from an active strain of yeast, in fine granular form, packaged in metal foil, and sealed in an atmosphere of nitrogen to exclude air. It is best kept under refrigeration after opening.

A "starter" is some of the sponge from a previous baking saved for future use (to replace yeast). Sugar is added as food for this starter and must be used frequently (once or twice a week) to keep the yeast cells alive and to prevent souring. Yeast, sugar and potato water can be used to make liquid yeast. It must be used frequently as the "starter".

A nonfermentation method for leavening includes air, formation of steam from moisture in the mix, formation of gas from the interaction of ingredients in the mix, formation of gas from the mere heating of some ingredients, and the addition of volatile substances. By beating eggs, or by folding and rolling doughs, by folding and beating doughs air may be incorporated. Egg whites contain water that furnishes the expansion in such baking recipes as angel-food cakes as the air which was added by beating. Some food substances that contain acid such as sour milk, molasses, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, and chocolate when combined with soda will form gas. Baking powder has substances that give off carbon dioxide gas when an acid reacts with sodium bicarbonate. Even when no sour milk or other acid is used, sodium bicarbonate will give off CO2 gas when heated. There are recipes that will add baking powder and soda.

Liquids can be added to flour mixtures as they hydrate the starch and gluten and dissolve certain constituents such as salts, sugar, and baking powder. Potato water, milk, fruit juices, water, coffee and eggs which contain water are adding to baking recipes. The egg can be used to incorporate air, add flavor and aid in forming the emulsion. In yeast mixtures sugar is a food for the yeast plant. It may affect texture, flavor, and browning in recipes. Fats and oil product a shortening effect by coating flour particles and forming layers which separate different parts of the dough structure.

Flour mixtures are classified on the proportion of flour to liquid. Flour mixtures based on their thickness are classed as batters or doughs. Batters are classified as pour and drop batters. A "sponge" is a batter containing yeast. Some of the drop batters are stiff and require scrapping from the bowl, while some pour batters are very thin and others very thick. Doughs will need to be thick enough to be kneaded or handled on a board. All doughs should be rolled except yeast that is shaped. This dough may be soft or barely stiff enough to handle or even stiff.

There are various methods for mixing cakes such as the conventional method. The fat is creamed then sugar is added gradually to the fat to continue the creaming process. Egg yolks are added to the fat-sugar mixture and stirred till blended. The dry ingredients are sifted and added alternately with the milk. Other ingredients are added to the creamed mixture. The modified conventional method is different in that the whole beaten eggs are added to the fat and sugar mixture with constant creaming. The conventional sponge method is varied from the others by using half of the sugar being reserved to be beaten with the eggs till very stiff. It is then folded into the first mixture at the end.

There are methods of mixing such as the first mixer method when the fat at good creaming temperature is mixed with the sugar and beaten eggs. This is combined with a rotary egg beater until very light, then dry and liquid ingredients are then added as in the conventional method. Another mixer method is by putting all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and beating until smooth and well blended. There is a quick mix method that uses the electric mixer but requires a higher ration of sugar and liquid than used in standard cakes and standard mixed. The mixing is done in two stages.

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