Baking Terms Defined
Active Dry Yeast
Yeast that has been dried, forming small dehydrated granules. This product was developed in the 1940’s for use by the armed forces.
Along with carbon dioxide – one of the two major by-products of yeast fermentation. The alcohol in bread dissipates in baking
A blend of hard and soft wheat and contains lower amounts of the proteins that form gluten. It is the most versatile of all the wheat flours and can be used for cookies, cakes and pies. Yeast-leavened breads made with All-Purpose flour tend to be smaller and more compact.
To cook food in an oven with dry heat.
Yeast used to leaven baked goods, derived from the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Contains higher levels of gluten-forming proteins. It is recommended for use in yeast-raised products, and is the best choice when using a bread machine.
Bread Machine Yeast
Instant dry yeast designed for easy dispersion and tolerance of the handling in bread machines.
An inactive yeast product that is a by-product of beer making. It is processed as a nutritional supplement for humans.
Also known as fresh or compressed yeast, this “wet” yeast can be added directly to dry ingredients or dissolved in warm liquids prior to mixing.
One of the two main by-products of yeast fermentation, this gas is trapped in the dough by the gluten network – causing the dough to rise.
A chemical that can bind two incompatible items, such as oil and water.
The process by which yeast converts available sugars to carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Wheat flour is used to make yeast-raised products. It contains gluten forming proteins, which are necessary to support the fermentation of yeast. The most common wheat flours used in baking are whole wheat flour, bread flour and all-purpose flour.
The endosperm of wheat flour contains two proteins – glutenin and gliadin. When the flour is hydrated and kneaded, these proteins combine to form gluten. Gluten provides the dough structure that is responsible for holding the carbon dioxide gas produced by yeast, and gives the dough strength and elasticity.
Hard Wheat Flour
Recommended for use in yeast-raised bakery foods. It contains a high level of wheat proteins that form the gluten network when flour is hydrated and kneaded.
This type of yeast is also known as “fast-rising” or “fast-acting” dry yeast. Instant yeast can shorten the rising time in traditional baking by as much as 50%.
Kneading is the process of developing dough into a smooth, elastic ball. When flour is mixed with liquid, gluten strands are formed. Kneading develops the gluten by making it stronger and more elastic for better volume and gas retention.
A substance that helps make baked products rise. Yeast, baking powder and baking soda are the most common leaveners for baking.
A bread starter consisting of flour, water and wild yeasts.
Nitrogen is used to replace the oxygen in the package. Particularly important for items that are sensitive to oxygen exposure – like yeast.
In bread making this refers to the rising step for bread. Most often this is in an acclimate controlled “proof box”.
Activating yeast before adding it to the dry ingredients by mixing it with warm water and a pinch of sugar.
Any bread leavened with a chemical leavener – baking powder, baking soda and an acid – rather than yeast. Muffins and biscuits are the most popular.
The stage when making yeast breads where the dough is set in a warm, draft-free place for a period of time while the yeast ferments some of the sugar in the dough into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide gas helps the dough to rise.
Salt Rising Bread
Bread that was traditional before the use of yeast. Made with a fermented mixture of cornmeal, salt, sugar, water and flour.
Contains a lower amount of the proteins responsible for gluten formation compared to hard wheat flour. It is commonly used for chemically-leavened products such as cakes, cookies and crackers. It can be used in yeast-leavened bread, but is not recommended for use in bread machines.
An emulsifier used in yeast manufacturing to aid in the drying process. Sorbitan Monosterate protects the yeast from excess drying and aids in the rehydration of the yeast cells.
A mixture of flour, water and yeast that is allowed to sit in a warm place for the yeast to ferment and develop a sour flavor. Once fermented the starter can be used in bread recipes to provide a unique flavor.
White flour without bleaching or aging agents added to hasten the aging process. This flour whitens naturally as it ages.
A dough that has not risen enough.
Bread or dough product containing no yeast or chemical leavener.
A method of removing oxygen from a package. Larger bulk packages of dry yeast are vacuum packed.
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital Gluten is the dried protein taken from the flour by getting rid of the starch. It is a good dough conditioner or enhancement for yeast breads especially for whole grain breads or when using all-purpose flour.
Whole Wheat Flour
Wheat flour milled using the whole wheat berry, and contains lower amount of gluten-forming proteins. When using whole wheat flour to make yeast-raised baked goods, the addition of bread flour and/or vital wheat gluten is recommended to create a more desirable loaf that is lighter and taller.
A group of microscopic single cell fungi found practically everywhere on earth. Baker’s yeast comes from one species of the yeast family called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and is very strong and capable of fermentation (converting sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol).
Any bread whose primary leavening action results from the fermentation of sugar by yeast.