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Breaking down the science of dough

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm working on improving my doughnut making skills. But I'm more of a scientific person than a Chef so would like some of the professionals to explain what chemical reactions each of these ingredients have in the overall recipe. Basically the "why" you need it and "what" does it do and possibly what increasing and decreasing the quantity will do? You don't need to know all of the answers as I'm sure someone can fill in the blanks. Thanks!

Raised Doughnuts:
1 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup warm water
  • For dissolving yeast and "activating" it.
1 pkg yeast
4 cups of flour
2 eggs, well beaten
post #2 of 10
Spend some time at Barnes and Noble perusing breadbaking books in order to learn the chemistry of baking. Without having a class or two in chemistry or biology, there's no other way to learn.

While some of the ingredients you listed are meant for moistness, others feed the yeast in order for it to produce the "rise".

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #3 of 10
1. Milk- flavor, color, tenderness, protein structure. None of these in great amounts.
2. Shortening- Mostly tenderness, flavor if using lard.
3. Sugar- flavor , color, moisture retention.
4. Salt- Flavor, color, some control of yeast growth.
5. Yeast- leavening,
6. Flour- stucture as well as food for the yeast.
7. Eggs- structure, tenderness, emulsifier, flavor.

Thats what I could come up with off the top of my head.

Changing the ratios within the formula too much will cause frying and quality problems.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
1. Milk- flavor, color, tenderness, protein structure. None of these in great amounts.
I read somewhere in the forum that it's recommended to scald the milk to help yeast growth. True?

2. Shortening- Mostly tenderness, flavor if using lard.
Does it also prevent the flour from forming too strong of a bond?

3. Sugar- flavor , color, moisture retention.
Does it help feed the yeast?
post #5 of 10
Again off the top of my head

1. I doubt the scalding in and of itself promotes yeast growth. It may in fact hamper the rate of growth if used while still too hot/warm. By using milk that has been warmed to say 100 F instead of using it cold from the refrigerator the rate of yeast growth will be faster.

2. That is how tenderness is achieved.

3. The sugar is one source of food for the yeast.
post #6 of 10
You mix yeast and scalding milk together and what you'll get is a lot of dead yeast.. the only advantage I could possibly see is that similar to making yogurt the heat kills off the existing bacterial ecosystem, allowing the yeast to take hold without any competition. I would say that the elements in flour are far more essential in the feeding of yeast, since many breads don't require sugar. jbd basically has hit everything on the head.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #7 of 10
Scalding the milk converts some of its proteins to forms more accessible for the yeast spoors. The technique is helpful for a faster rise and sweeter yield. For an accessible discussion, written in layman's terms, you might want to look at Shirley Corriher's book, Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed. FWIW, Corriher is the Canadian "food scientist" so frequently exploited by Alton Brown.

Additionally, scalding destroys enzymes which would impair the leavening process; and kills bacteria as well. However, ordinary pasteurization takes care of these functions.

If you want technical, bio-chemistry answers, this probably isn't the right forum (although let's see how the thread goes). The level of my own expertise is limited to what I learned as an undergrad biology major (forty years ago) before switiching to physics before landing in math. I suggest PMing "Luc H," who is an actual and in fact chemist (or used to be), very interested in process, and might at least be able to point you in the right direction.

BDL
post #8 of 10
Didn't scalding milk also arise as a way to deactivate enzymes and natural bacteria that competed with the (weaker) yeast of the day?
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #9 of 10
Before the universal pasturization of milk (After WWII in the US), combined with better and more reliable refrigeration during shipping, storage and marketing, made milk a reliably safe food, heating milk was a very good idea, if you wanted breads to rise correctly. Many modern recipes have the milk heated merely as a method of adding heat to the dough, to jump start the fermentation, or to melt a fat. (Melted butter in a recipe behaves quite a bit differently than adding it as a solid. )

To the original poster: I'd suggest the first thing you do if you want to improve your baking is to acquire, and use, a good digital scale. Using ingredients by mass eliminates lots of measuring variability, and makes answering questions like "What happens if I use twice as much fat?" easier. It also makes it easier to look at a recipe, and see what's wrong with it (or alternatively, how it's different from others of the same thing.) If you're working with a recipe that doesn't give mass, first time you make it, make it as directed, but weigh everything and record what the stuff massed.
post #10 of 10
I'd reco Daniel DiMuzio's book Bread Baking. I've only just started reading it but he is easy to understand and he goes into all the technical aspects you are asking about.
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