Proving, baking and cooling are the stages of breadmaking that convert a fermenting dough into a stable product ready for consumption. There is evidence that leavened products were made in Egypt around 2000 BC and unleavened bread has been made since prehistoric times. The three operations, proving, baking and cooling have been essentially the same ever since, relying on the properties of the raw materials and the way they behave when heated to produce a staple product that is both nutritious and good to eat. How the process was discovered we shall never know in detail but the huge variety of leavened bread products eaten across the world today all rely on the same basic principles. Proving, or proofing, allows time under favourable conditions for the yeast and enzymes in the flour to be active. Then, during baking, the rate of heat transfer is increased so that the outside of the loaf dries to a crust and inside, the starch swells and the protein coagulates. Cooling reverses the direction of heat transfer and aims to produce loaves that are ready for wrapping, often with slicing as an intermediate operation. A typical timescale, with process conditions and their effect on loaf core temperature, is shown in Figure 5.1.
KeywordsSugar Fermentation Starch Microwave Convection
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