Bread Ingredients–Liquid

WATER

Probably most often used in bread is water. A tasty but basic raised bread can just be flour, water, yeast, salt. As usual, know your water. Baking is a large part chemistry, and hard water can make for problems with raising. Tap water treated with chlorine can affect yeast production with its antibacterial properties.

To soften additives like corn meal, farina, or oatmeal, use boiling water. Baby bottle temperature, about the temperature of your hand, maybe a little warmer is used to raise yeast breads. Ice water is often used in unleavened breads and crackers.

MILK

Next is milk. Goat’s milk or cow’s milk, either way it adds nutrition to bread, and the dough browns evenly. Whole milk is recommended, but if a recipe does not raise well, consider using skim or fat free milk, as the milkfat can add to the weight of the mixture. Milk is usually used scalded to prevent it going sour in the raising. Milk is scalded by heating over low heat until there is a skin on the top. Scalding does not need to be done in quick breads, as they are baked right away.

A way to add more milk protein to the bread, it helps to add dry nonfat milk powder. This is cheap and easy to handle, a good way to improve bread nutrition for kids or the aging.

POTATO WATER

Potato water is the water left after cooking potatoes. It can be used as the liquid in a bread recipe as its starch components feed the yeast, improving the raising. The potato flavor also adds to the flavor of the baked product.

EGGS

While more slurry than liquid, eggs do add about 2 ounces of liquid to the dough. If halving or doubling recipes, this may make for flour adjustments. This writer personally uses grade A large eggs that she gets from a neighbor with free range chickens.

Along with adding to the liquid of the recipe, eggs add protein, minerals, and vitamins to the bread and increase the ability of the bread to raise. If the recipe calls for slightly beaten eggs, just take the fork to it for a minute or so. The egg doesn’t have to be completely mixed. If the recipe calls for well-beaten eggs, take a wire whisk and go to town for a few minutes.

There are different ways to separate eggs, but the point is to get the yolk away from the white. Crack the egg, open it, then swish the yolk back and forth between shell halves. The white will fall off into a bowl.

If you have to beat that egg white until it’s foamy, make sure that bowl has no water, fat, yolk, anything in it. Just a little bit of extraneous stuff, and it may not beat up.

If the recipe calls for beaten yolks, they will not get light, do not expect that. That was the chick’s yolk sack, it’s loaded with nutrients and growing energy. They will get lemony colored, and that will be about where it ends.

Eggs are also used in bread glazes. We’ll talk about those later.

Aside from these, about the only other liquid used in bread is beer. Limpa rye bread is made with beer. Beer would likely help the risability with its sugar content, and flavoring to the bread.

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