Chemistry of Baking

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Chemistry of Baking Everybody bakes. Moms bake, kids bake, bakers bake; but not many people think about what actually goes on inside of the oven. There are all sorts of chemical reactions that happen when all of those molecules are mixed together just the right way and then heated up. Many complex chemicals transform themselves in that short hour or so that you leave it alone and let the oven take control. This paper will detail just what it is that happens inside that magic box of heat. From what the ingredients start out as and which ones induce and go through the actual reactions, to what happens to those ingredients and the changes that they make. The main ingredient in most baked good and the main source of chemical reactions is, of course flour. Flour is the most prominent ingredient in all baked goods and is what gives them their thickness. All flours are composed largely from starch and protein, but wheat flour(most commonly used) is distinctive in that it has very high levels of a class of proteins known collectively as gluten (8 - 14%). When dough is made from wheat flour and water, the gluten develops into a thick, cohesive, elastic mass. When placed in an oven, it puffs up to many times it original volume and sets with a light, airy texture. Yeast is made up of many tiny, single-celled plants. The conditions required for growth are warmth (25-30oC), moisture and food (starch plus a small amount of sugar). Refrigeration slows down the growth so that yeast can be kept for a limited period of time. Fat has four major roles in baking. Shortening(Fat weakens or 'shortens' a dough by weakening its gluten network), Creaming (fat can trap air during beating and mixing, producing a batter that consists of masses of tiny air bubbles trapped within droplets of fat), layering (in puff pastry fats which are soft over a wide temperature range are used. These can be

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