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#70 BAKING GLOSSARY: A possible start?

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  • #70 BAKING GLOSSARY: A possible start?

    This posting will be sent to two fine forums:


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    The FornoBravo forum is one I joined because it had extensive postings on building a masonry wood burning bread oven. It also has a forum within a forum on Brick Oven Cooking and within that forum, one specifically called: "Threads in Forum: Pizza"

    It's structure for Pizza looks like this:

    Forno Bravo Forum > Brick Oven Cooking Forum>Pizza

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    The PizzaMaking forum has, as it's name suggests, a strong focus on Pizza with this structure:

    + Pizza Making Forum
    |-+ General Topics
    | |-+ Chitchat
    | | |-+ Glossary

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    In response to requests for a Glossary, the PizzaMaking Forum had this response from it's moderator:

    "If we can get some glossary terms started in this thread, it would make my life easier! I could then cut-and-paste the entries to the static web page."

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    As a member of both Forums, I felt I could make a small contribution by getting the boule rolling in the hope that others would offer their definitions to a Glossary that could be used by both Forums.

    Since the PizzaMaking moderator mentioned a "static web page." perhaps the FornoBravo Forum moderator could set up a similar page (and also one for photographs) where members could go for definitions illustrations, and explanations.

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    It seems to me that both Forums have similar goals: to advance bread baking by novice bakers to the art form it has become for professionals such as Joe Ortiz, the author of "The Village Baker".

    To that end, I will start to Copy some of the definitions from "The Village Baker" by Joe Ortiz with full credit, thanks, and - Attribution to him in this posting, with the initials, "J.O." following those that I extracted from his book:


    ABSORPTION: Absorption has to do with the ability of a flour to absorb water and attain a certain dough consistency. We often refer to it as hydration percentage. For the KASA, it is 61%; for the Caputo 00, it is 55-57%. The differences in these values tells us that the type of protein/gluten in the KASA is capable of absorbing more water than the type of protein/gluten in the Caputo 00. It also suggests that the KASA is a somewhat "stronger" flour than the Caputo 00 even though the protein levels are comparable.(Peter)

    AMYLASE: A natural enzyme that helps change starch into sugar; used in some French bakeries in a product called levit as a yest food. (J.O.)

    ASCORBIC ACID: See Vitamin C. (J.O.)

    Ash. Ash is a measurement of what remains after a sample of a flour is incinerated. A high number suggests a high extraction rate (the removal of things like bran, germ, etc.). The KASA has an ash number of 0.54. I don't have the corresponding number for the Caputo 00, but my recollection is that it is somewhere around 0.50. I know that at one time, the maximum ash content under Italian law was 0.50. If my number is correct, that suggests that the KASA retains more of the bran, germ, etc., where the mineral content is highest. (Peter)

    ASH CONTENT: The mineral content of any flour, usually around .5 to .6 percent. The higher the ash content, the grayer the crumb. (J.O.)

    AUTOLYSE: A process used by some French bakers whereby all or some of the ingredients in a batch of dough are mixed to incorporate them, then the dough is allowed to rest for 5 or 10 minutes, right in the mixing bowl. After this rest period, the Autolyse which allows the flour to be fully hydrated and the gluten to relax, the dough is then mixed to full development.(J.O.)

    BAKER'S YEAST: See Yeast. (J.O.)

    BANNETON: A basket lined with Belgian linen and used to hold a loaf while it is undergoing its final rising. At home bakers can use a wicker basket, lined with a plain dishtowel and sprinkled with flour.(J.O.)

    BASSINER: To moisten a dry dough by pouring in more water and incorporating it. It is easier to obtain a very wet dough (or to correct the consistency of a dough) by adding water later, than by starting out with too much. (J.O.)

    BATARD: Literally, "bastard" , this is a medium-long loaf that is neither a baguette nor a boule. In America it is often called a French loaf. See also Pate batarde. (J.O.)

    BIGA: The Italian name for a yeasted starter that is mixed very firm and set to rise overnight. It helps give Italian breads their characteristic earthy flavor and uneven crumb. (J.O.)

    BLOOM: The rich color and attractive physical appearance of a loaf that was put into the oven at the right time and was well baked. (J.O.)

    BOULE: Ball of dough or round loaf.(J.O.)

    BREWER'S YEAST: See Yeast. (J.O.)

    CAKE FLOUR: See Flour. (J.O.)

    CHEF (CHEF LEVAIN): Original or chief leavening agent. It is usually a natural starter that is given the first of many refreshments; thereafter it is known as the levain. (J.O.)

    Falling Number. The falling number is a measurement that indicates the level of amylaze enzyme activity in a flour. It is viewed in relation to the amount of damaged starch in the flour that the amylase enzymes converts to sugar to feed the yeast during fermentation. The greater the starch damage, the greater the tendency on the part of millers to supplement the amylase enzyme (with barley malt or fungal amylase). The degree of amylase enzyme activity is inversely proportional to the falling number (i.e., the higher the number the lower the amylase enzyme activity, and visa versa). The low falling number for the KASA (260) implies the addition of barley malt to supplement the natural amylase enzyme levels of the underlying flour. The high falling number for the Caputo 00 (340-360) implies no malt supplementation and low amylase enzyme activity. This suggests that a Caputo 00 dough is capable of long fermentation. (Peter)

    Other Specs. The other specs, like Peak, Stability and MTI Mixing Tolerance Index), have to do with relative strength of a flour and dough and the ability of the dough to withstand kneading for prolonged periods before the gluten suffers damage. The numbers for the KASA suggest a very high quality flour. We do not have the numbers for the Caputo 00 but I am reasonably certain they are lower than for the KASA because it is a somewhat weaker flour with lower absorption and, quite likely, because of a somewhat different protein/gluten profile. (Peter)

    p/l. The p/l number is an indication of the elasticity ("springback")/plasticity (extensibility) cnaracteristics of a dough. A high figure suggests higher protein content and higher absorption. The typical range for p/l for bread dough is 0.4-0.7. At 0.5-0.6, the Caputo 00 falls within that range. A Caputo 00 dough will handle better than doughs made from other 00 flours but not as well as one based on much higher protein/gluten levels. (Peter)

    Protein. Looking at just the protein levels, one might think that the two flours are fairly similar. However, protein levels alone don't tell much about the type and quality of protein or gluten. It's possible for two flours to have similar protein levels and behave quite differently. One has to look at other parameters of the flours to discern the true differences. We do know, however, that the KASA is milled from hard red winter wheat, which produces a "strong" flour. By contrast, the Caputo 00 is milled from national grains and blended with a "strong" flour, known as Manitoba, which increases the overall protein level of the Caputo 00 flour. Because of that supplementation, the Caputo 00 flour has more overall protein than other brands of 00 flour available in the U.S., such as the Bel Aria, Delverde, etc. (Peter)

    W . W is a number that is proportional to the strength of a dough and its ability to resist deformation. Molino Caputo publishes this figure but, like almost all U.S. companies, King Arthur doesn't. The Caputo number of 240-260 is in a range that implies a dough that is strong enough to withstand reasonably long fermentation. However, it is not as strong as other doughs based on higher gluten flours. (Peter)

    The moderators have set up these Forums for our use so now it is up to all of us to build this glossary. If you have a definition, please insert it alphabetically. If either moderator wants to change and standardize the fonts above, please do so.


    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, ...
    but no simpler!" (Albert Einstein)