Bread Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the Chemistry and Craft of Making Bread
Bread Science by Emily Buehler: A Review
If you love bread and want to learn more about how it is made, you might be interested in Bread Science, a book by Emily Buehler that explains the chemistry and craft of making bread. In this article, we will review Bread Science and show you how it can help you improve your bread making skills.
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The author's background and motivation
Emily Buehler is a former chemist who became a bread baker after completing graduate school. She worked at Weaver Street Market, a cooperative bakery in North Carolina, where she learned the art of making artisan bread. She also noticed how much science is involved in bread making, from fermentation reactions to yeast behavior, gluten structure, gas retention, and more. She decided to write Bread Science to share her knowledge and passion for bread with others.
The structure and content of the book
Bread Science is divided into eight chapters that cover the entire process of bread making in detail. The first chapter introduces the basic bread recipe and the four main ingredients: flour, yeast, water, and salt. It also explains some important concepts such as weight versus volume measurements, baker's percent, and dough characteristics. The second chapter covers the basics of bread science, such as starch and sugar, yeast and bacteria, fermentation, flavor and color, water and protein, gluten structure, gas retention, proteases, salt, and more. The third chapter discusses preferments, which are mixtures of flour, water, and yeast that are prepared in advance to enhance the flavor and texture of bread. It explains the difference between poolishes, sponges, and starters, and how to create and maintain a sourdough starter. The fourth chapter describes how to mix the dough by hand or by machine, and how to add special ingredients such as nuts, seeds, fruits, herbs, spices, cheese, etc. The fifth chapter focuses on fermentation, which is the process of letting the dough rise and develop. It shows how to control the fermentation time and temperature, how to punch and fold the dough to strengthen it, and how to tell when the dough is fully risen. The sixth chapter teaches how to shape the dough into various forms, such as boules, batards, baguettes, rolls, braids, etc. It also gives tips on how to achieve smooth and symmetrical shapes, and how to prevent the dough from sticking or tearing. The seventh chapter explains how to bake the bread in the oven, and how to modify the oven to create steam and heat distribution. It also covers topics such as scoring, slashing, docking, steaming, baking times and temperatures, crust formation and coloration, and cooling and storing the bread. The eighth chapter provides some recipes for different types of bread, such as white bread, whole wheat bread, rye bread, sourdough bread, ciabatta, focaccia, pizza dough, bagels, croissants, brioche, and more.
The benefits and challenges of reading the book
Bread Science is a comprehensive and informative guide to bread making that can benefit both beginners and experienced bakers. It can help you understand the science behind bread making and how it affects the quality of your bread. It can also help you improve your craft by giving you practical tips and techniques for every step of the process. It can inspire you to experiment with different ingredients and methods and create your own recipes. However, reading Bread Science can also be challenging for some readers. The book is very detailed and technical, and it uses a lot of scientific terms and concepts that might be unfamiliar or confusing to some people. The book is also very dense and long, with over 250 pages of text and illustrations. It might take some time and effort to read through the whole book and absorb all the information.
The 15th anniversary edition of the book
In 2021, Emily Buehler released the 15th anniversary edition of Bread Science, which contains all the great content of the original edition with a beautiful new cover. The new edition also includes some minor updates and corrections based on feedback from readers and reviewers. The new edition is available in both PDF and print formats.
How Bread Science can help you improve your bread making skills
Now that you have an idea of what Bread Science is about, you might be wondering how you can apply the knowledge from the book to your own baking practice. In this section, we will show you some examples of how Bread Science can help you improve your bread making skills.
Understanding the chemistry and craft of bread making
One of the main benefits of reading Bread Science is that it can help you understand the chemistry and craft of bread making. By learning about the science behind bread making, you can gain a deeper insight into what happens in each stage of the process and why it matters. For example:
You can learn how starch and sugar are converted into carbon dioxide and alcohol by yeast and bacteria during fermentation, which gives rise and flavor to your bread.
You can learn how water and protein interact to form gluten structure in your dough, which affects its elasticity and strength.
You can learn how gas retention is influenced by gluten structure, proteases, salt, kneading, folding, shaping, proofing, baking, etc., which determines the volume and texture of your bread.
You can learn how flavor and color are developed by fermentation reactions, Maillard reactions, caramelization, enzymatic browning, and other factors that affect the taste and appearance of your bread.
By understanding these concepts, you can make better decisions and adjustments when making your bread. You can also troubleshoot problems and avoid common mistakes that might ruin your bread.
Experimenting with different ingredients and methods
Another benefit of reading Bread Science
is that it can help you experiment with different ingredients and methods to achieve different results. By learning about the role and function of each ingredient and method, you can vary them to create different types of bread, such as white bread, whole wheat bread, rye bread, sourdough bread, etc.
You can learn how to adjust the water content of your dough depending on the type of flour you use, especially if you use whole-wheat flour or other flours with high protein content.
By experimenting with different ingredients and methods, you can discover new flavors and textures and create your own unique bread recipes.
Shaping and baking your bread like a pro
A third benefit of reading Bread Science is that it can help you shape and bake your bread like a pro. By learning about the craft of bread making, you can master the skills and techniques that will make your bread look and taste amazing. For example:
You can learn how to shape your dough into various forms, such as boules, batards, baguettes, rolls, braids, etc. You can also learn how to prevent the dough from sticking or tearing and how to achieve smooth and symmetrical shapes.
You can learn how to score, slash, or dock your bread before baking to control the expansion and create decorative patterns on the crust.
You can learn how to modify your oven to create steam and heat distribution that will improve the rise and crust of your bread. You can also learn how to adjust the baking times and temperatures depending on the size and shape of your bread.
You can learn how to test for doneness and cool and store your bread properly to preserve its freshness and quality.
By shaping and baking your bread like a pro, you can impress yourself and others with your beautiful and delicious loaves.
Where to find Bread Science and other resources for bread making
In this article, we have reviewed Bread Science by Emily Buehler and shown you how it can help you improve your bread making skills. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about bread making. If you are interested in getting Bread Science or finding other resources for bread making, here are some suggestions:
How to get Bread Science in PDF format
If you want to get Bread Science in PDF format, you can visit the author's website at http://emilybuehler.com/books/bread-science/. There you can download a free excerpt of the book or purchase the full book in PDF format for $9.99. You can also sign up for the author's newsletter and get updates on her latest books and projects.
How to get Bread Science in print format
If you prefer to get Bread Science in print format, you can order it from Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bread-Science-Chemistry-Craft-Making/dp/0977806804. The paperback edition costs $24.95 and has 254 pages. You can also read some reviews from other readers who have bought the book.
Other books and websites on bread making
If you want to explore more books and websites on bread making, here are some recommendations:
The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart. This book teaches you how to make artisan bread using a variety of techniques and recipes.
Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish. This book shows you how to make simple but flavorful bread and pizza using four basic ingredients.
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. This book shares the secrets of making world-class sourdough bread from one of the most famous bakeries in San Francisco.
King Arthur Baking Company. This website offers hundreds of recipes, tips, videos, and products for baking bread and other baked goods.
The Perfect Loaf. This website is dedicated to sourdough bread making and features detailed guides, recipes, and photos.
Breadtopia. This website provides resources and tools for home bread bakers, including recipes, tutorials, forums, and online store.
We hope you have found this article helpful and informative. Happy baking!
Bread making is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby that can produce delicious and nutritious loaves of bread. However, it can also be challenging and frustrating if you don't know what you are doing. That's why reading Bread Science by Emily Buehler can be a great way to learn the chemistry and craft of bread making. Bread Science is a comprehensive and informative guide that covers the entire process of bread making in detail. It can help you understand the science behind bread making and how it affects the quality of your bread. It can also help you improve your craft by giving you practical tips and techniques for every step of the process. It can inspire you to experiment with different ingredients and methods and create your own recipes. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced baker, Bread Science can help you improve your bread making skills and enjoy the art of baking.
What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?
Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, which means it can form more gluten and create stronger and chewier bread. All-purpose flour has a lower protein content than bread flour, which means it can form less gluten and create softer and lighter bread.
What is a preferment and why is it used in bread making?
A preferment is a mixture of flour, water, and yeast that is prepared in advance and added to the final dough. It is used to enhance the flavor and texture of bread by increasing the fermentation time and creating more complex aromas and acids.
How do I know when my dough is fully risen?
One way to tell when your dough is fully risen is to use the finger test. Gently poke your dough with your finger. If the indentation springs back quickly, the dough needs more time to rise. If the indentation stays or fills slowly, the dough is ready to shape or bake.
How do I shape my dough into different forms?
There are different techniques for shaping your dough into different forms, such as boules, batards, baguettes, rolls, braids, etc. You can find some videos and instructions on how to shape your dough on websites like King Arthur Baking Company or The Perfect Loaf.
How do I modify my oven for baking bread?
One way to modify your oven for baking bread is to create steam inside the oven. Steam helps the bread rise and form a crispy crust. You can create steam by placing a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of your oven or by spraying water on the walls of your oven before putting your bread in. Another way to modify your oven for baking bread is to use a baking stone or a cast iron skillet. These tools help distribute heat evenly and retain heat longer, which improves the baking of your bread.