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. Some are amazingly simple: Matzoh, for example, is nothing more than flour and water, baked until crisp. Raised breads, on the other hand, involve the complex interactions between flour and the leaveners that give them their porous, tender quality. 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. For more about bread science, check out these links!
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