Science of Bread: Bread Science 101
From Chinese baozi to Armenian lavash, bread comes in thousands of forms. What do they have in common? On the most basic level, they all involve cooking a mixture of milled grains and water. Imagine a continuum of breads, ranging from the thinnest flatbreads to the fluffiest brioche. Leaveners come in two main forms: baking powder or soda and yeast. Baking powder or baking soda work quickly, relying on chemical reactions between acidic and alkaline compounds to produce the carbon dioxide necessary to inflate dough or batter (more on this later). Yeast, on the other hand, is a live, single-celled fungus. But leavening agents would just be bubbling brews without something to contain them. Starch, a carbohydrate that makes up about 70% of flour by weight, also gets in on the act. Sometimes, a baker will let the dough rise several times, allowing the gluten to develop more completely and the yeast to add more of its flavors. For more about bread science, check out these links!
Related: Arán agus Pizza