If you’re looking for a little bread baking instruction, here are some of the most common bread making terms to get you started making bread.
You’re probably already familiar with a lot of these terms. The rest will become common as you continue on your bread making journey.
Bread Baking Terms: A-C
All-purpose flour has 9 to 11 percent gluten proteins, making it useful for quick breads, pancakes, muffins, and many other baked goods. Be sure to use unbleached. Read more about wheat flours.
Aspect refers to the overall quality of the loaf, including the crust, aroma and the flavor.
Autolyse is the rest period in the mixing cycle that allows the gluten proteins to bond. When you let the dough rest during the kneading process, you use less flour overall.
Baguette refers to a long, thin, cylindrical hearth bread, usually French bread (or pain ordinaire). Other breads (such as Italian breads) can also be shaped this way.
Banneton is a round or oblong basket that is usually made of wood or wicker and is used for raising bread dough to give it a distinctive shape and keep the dough from spreading sideways while the dough is proofing. Sometimes these baskets are lined with canvas. Click here for banneton baskets.
Batard refers to a short, torpedo-shaped loaf. It can be made from many types of dough. Here is a recipe for European bread made into a bartard.
Benching refers to the process of resting fermented dough just before shaping so that the gluten relaxes, making it easier to form.
Biga is an Italian-style pre-ferment that is usually made with commercial yeast. It is added to the dough to improve flavor and leavening.
Bloom refers to the external aspect of a loaf; bloom includes crust coloration and flowering at the cut points.
Boule are round loaves that are often raised in round bannetons but sometimes freestanding.
Bran is the exterior of the wheat berry or other grain. Read more about wheat grains.
Bread Flour is unbleached white flour with a gluten-forming protein content of 11.5 to 13 percent. It is very good for hearth breads and rolls because it provides structure and tenderness at the same time. Read more about wheat flours.
Build is the process of creating a bread dough with a starter and ending up with a finished loaf. There may be intermediate fermentation steps involved as well.
Caramelization is the browning caused when sugar reaches 325°F. This is what gives the bread crust its color.
Cloche is a bell-shaped ceramic mini-oven that you can use at home to replicate a brick oven.
Convection Oven is a type of oven that uses moving air to intensify the heat. It usually bakes much faster than a conventional oven.
Cooking spray – Vegetable or canola oil in a can that is used to grease pans and prevent the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough.
Cornmeal is a course corn flour that is in between flour and polenta. It is used to make corn bread and also to dust hearth breads and peels. Read more about non-wheat flours.
Couche is a type of linen used for raising hearth breads. When you bunch the cloth around the loaves, it provides a nonstick structure that helps rising loaves retain their shape.
Cracked Grain is coarsely milled grain; usually the result of the first stage of milling before grinding grain into a finer flour.
Crumb is the interior of the loaf and is defined by the holes in its structure.
Additional bread baking terms:
Ashe, Arthur J. , III. “Yeast.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. Gwinnett Public Library. 2 July 2008. www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar613160.
MacRitchie, Finlay. “Gluten.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. Gwinnett Public Library. 2 July 2008 www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar226760.
Wych, Robert D. “Malt.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. Gwinnett Public Library. 2 July 2008 http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar340680.
Reinhart, Peter. Crust and Crumb. Ten Speed Press 2006.
Reinhart, Peter. Whole Grain Breads . Ten Speed Press 2007.
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