Bread is actually a pretty open term. When many Americans think of bread, they think about a loaf of something made with flour, water, salt, and yeast. They will often picture a loaf made in a pan.

While the picture is a fairly common site in reality, there are others. Pocket breads, long loaf, donuts, bagels, bialy, quick breads, that are leavened with baking soda and baking powder.

Shape doesn’t really matter much, though some recipes do belong in a pan.

Whole grain breads are just that, made with whole grains. It has been said that no one can make bread with only whole wheat flour, it comes out too hard, it is a difficult dough to knead. Back in the day, this writer was making loaves with just whole wheat flour three times a week, for a restaurant. Bread can be made with just whole wheat flour.

Rye, however, does not have the gluten needed for the yeast to raise the bread. If making rye bread, it is a good idea to include some wheat flour to help with the rise. Just rye bread will eventually rise. Almost as fast as sourdough starter will make the bread rise.

Sourdough starter will raise the bread if the right yeast is present. A starter relies on catching and feeding the wild yeasts available in the air around us. It is a very slow raising, though, and, if the starter isn’t in a place that has the right yeast in the air, it may not raise the bread at all. There will be a discussion of yeast in a future article.

A word that is tossed about a lot these days is “artisan.” Artisan bread. Artisan cheese. How anything mass produced can be considered artisan is subject for some thought. Artisan foods are high-quality foods made in small batches using traditional methods. An opinion only: Artisan anything can’t be made is large enough batches to supply the whole country. But the marketing department always has its way of using words in a slightly different way than the rest of the world.

Then there are the quick breads, breads leavened with baking soda and baking powder. These are the loaves of sweet bread with fruits or spices in them. Biscuits, muffins, pancakes, all are quick breads.

Next post, we go into ingredients.


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