Properties and Functions of Ingrediants in Baking Essay

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With simple ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, and flavorings a wide almost endless of products can be made. But to produce perfect quality products, careful attention must be paid to the ingredients in the recipe. Baking products depend on precise preparation. Baking is not an art. It is a science. It is important to follow baking formulas carefully and completely. Different flours, fats, liquids, and sweeteners function differently. Bread flour and cake flour are not the same, nor are shortening and butter. If one ingredient is substituted for another the results can be different. (Labensky) There are many different types of flour. The most common flours are made from wheat but any grain can be used to make flour, like rice or corn. A grain of flour is made up of the bran, the endosperm, and the germ. The bran is the outer-shell of the grain. The bran adds texture and fiber to the flour. The bran also gives flours, such as whole wheat flours, their brown color.

The endosperm is in the middle of the grain. Most simple whit flours use only the endosperm part of the grain. The endosperm contains a small amount of oil, carbohydrates, and protein. Gluten is found in the endosperm of the grain. However, gluten does not become gluten until moistened and manipulated, such as kneading. The germ is a concentrated source of nutrients located in the center of the grain. The flours that contain the germ will have more vitamins, fiber, and minerals. The character of the wheat determines the character of the flour. The protein content is higher if the wheat kernel is harder. The softer the wheat kernel, the lower its protein content. Tender products, such as cakes, are best with soft, or weak, flour. Hard, or strong, flour is used for yeast breads. There are six main types of flour. Each flour has a different protein content and different uses. The first is cake flour. Cake flour is used for tender cakes and has a low protein percent of about six to eight percent.

The second type of flour is pastry flour. Pastry flour can be used for products such as biscuits and pie crust. Pastry flour has a protein percentage of seven to nine percent. The third type of flour is the most commonly used flour, the all-purpose. All purpose flour has a protein percentage of nine to twelve percent and is used for general baking. Bread flour is the fourth flour type. Bread flour is used to make yeast bread and has an eleven to fourteen protein percentage. The fifth flour type is the flour that is used to make breads and has a thirteen to fourteen protein percentage, whole-wheat flour. High-gluten flour is last of the six main types of flour. High-gluten flour has high protein percentage of thirteen and a half to fourteen and a half percent. High gluten flours are used to make pastries such as bagels.

This flour is also used to increase protein content of weaker flour such as rye and whole-grain flours. Sugars and sweeteners are used in baking for color, flavor, as tenderizers, to provide food for yeast, and to serve as a preservative and act as a creaming agent to help with leavening. Sugar is a carbohydrate that can be classified in one of two levels. Sugar can either be a complex sugar or a simple sugar. Complex sugars may occur naturally or in refined sugars. Simple sugars, such as glucose, occur naturally in honey or fruits. Sucrose is the most often sugar used in the kitchen. Sucrose is a refined obtained from sugarcane and the root of the sugar beet. Like flour, there are main types of sugar. Turbinado sugar, also known as Demerara sugar, is the closest, consumable, product to raw sugar. It is a light brown color and has caramel flavor.

Turbinado sugar is used in certain baked goods and beverages. Sanding sugar is a sugar almost exclusively used for decorating cookies and pastries. It has large, grainy crystal structure. Granulated sugar is the sugar used throughout the kitchen. The crystals are small and unformed which is suitable for a variety of purposes. Granulated sugar can be used to make sugar cubes. Brown sugar is the refined sugar cane sugar with about three to six percent of molasses added back to it. The more molasses the darker the sugar. Superfine or castor sugar is simple granulated sugar but with a smaller sized crystal. Superfine sugar dissolves quickly in liquids and produces light and tender cakes. Powder sugar is made by grinding granulated sugar. Powder sugar is most often used in glazes, icings, and for decorating baked products. Fat is the term for butter, lard, margarine, shortening, and oil. Fat coats the gluten so it cant combine as easily. That helps the finished products tenderness. Fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product. When sugar is creamed with fat, small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat.

These pockets form a finer grain in the finished product. Fats also carry flavors and add to a tender mouth-feel. Butter is used mainly for its flavor. Unsalted butter is preferred for baking because the salt might interfere with the baking formula. Whole and clarified butter melts between ninety-two to ninety-eight degrees. Lard is rendered pork fat. It is almost one-hundred percent fat giving it a solid white color. Pie crusts become flaky and flavorful when using lard. Lard melts between eighty-nine to ninety-eight degrees. Although every form of fat can be considered shortening, shortening is referred to as a type of white, solid, generally flavorless fat. Shortening is specially formulated for baking. Oil blends thoroughly throughout a mixture, unlike butter and other fats. It coats more of the protein. The result is a fine-textured product like muffins or chiffon cakes. Dairy products are foods produced from cows milk such as milk, butter, yogurt, sour cream, and cheese.

Dairy products are useful. They are used throughout the kitchen. Milk provides texture, flavor, color, and nutritional value for baked items. Concentrated milks are produced by using a vacuum to remove the water from whole milks. Evaporated milk is produced by removing sixty percent of the water from whole milk, then canned and heat-sterilized. Evaporated milk has a cooked flavor and a darker color because of the canning. Evaporated milk can be turned into milk by adding an equal amount of water. Sweet condensed milk is similar to evaporated milk. It has sixty percent water and forty to forty-five percent sugars. This milk, because of canning, has a darker color and a caramel flavor. Unlike evaporated milk, sweet condensed milk cannot be a milk substitute. Dry milk powder is made by removing almost all the water from milk. Dry milk powder can be added with water to make milk or added directly into a recipe.

Cream is a slightly yellow or ivory colored, rich, liquid milk. Cream contains at least eighteen percent of fat. Cream is used for flavor and body. Cream can be used in soups, sauces, and desserts. Half-and-half is a mixture of cream and milk. It is often served with cereal or coffee because it does not have enough fat to whip into foam. Half-and-half contains between ten and eighteen percent of milk fat. Light cream, coffee cream, and table cream all have more than eighteen percent but less than thirty percent of milk fat. These creams are often used in soups and baked goods. Whipping cream contains thirty to thirty-six percent of milk fat, making it perfect for thickening and enriching sauces. It can be whipped or folded into desserts to add flavor and lightness. Heavy cream contains no less than thirty-six percent of milk fat. It whips easily and holds its texture longer. It is used in the same ways as whipping cream.

If refrigerated at or below forty-one degrees, ultra-pasteurized cream can be kept for six to eight weeks. Unwhipped cream is not to be frozen. Strong odors and bright lights can alter the flavor of cream. Adding specific bacterial cultures to fluid dairy products can produce cultured dairy products. The sugar lactose is converted into a lactic acid by the bacteria. This lactic acid gives the products body and tangy flavors. Buttermilk is produced by adding a culture to milk. This makes a tart milk with thick texture. Buttermilk is often used in beverages and baked goods. Sour cream is made by adding the same culture to cream. Sour cream is a white, tangy gel. It can be used as a condiment or as a distinctive flavor to a recipe. Yogurt is a thick, custard like product of milk and culture. Yogurt can be eaten as is but is usually incorporated with other flavors. Yogurt can also be added in baked goods products. Eggs are a gift to humans from the lords of food.

Eggs are extremely versatile in the kitchen. They can be served alone or as an ingredient in a dish. Eggs are used to provide texture, flavor, structure, moisture, and nutrition. Eggs are high in protein content which makes them good for your health. But not all of the egg should be eaten. Eggs are made up of the shell, the yolk, the albumen, and the chalazae cords. The shell of an egg is generally not used for baking, although, if properly washed, the egg shell can be used as a garnish or holding device. The breed of the hen determines the color of the egg shell. For chickens the egg shell can range from bright white to brown. The yolk is the yellow center of the egg. It is one-third of the whole egg and contributes three-fourths of the eggs calories, minerals, vitamins, and fats. The egg yolk must reach temperatures of between one-hundred forty-five and one-hundred fifty-eight degrees. Although color might alter due to the species of the hen, flavor does not change.

The albumen is the clear part of an egg. The albumen is also referred to as the egg white. It is the other two thirds of the egg that contains more than half of the protein and riboflavin. Egg whites coagulate, solidify and become opaque, at temperatures between one-hundred forty-four and one-hundred forty-nine degrees. Chalaza cords are the twisted strands of egg white that hold the yolk in place. The more prominent the chalaza the fresher the egg. Chalaza do not interfere with cooking or when whipping egg whites.

Eggs are sold in jumbo, extra-large, large, medium, small, and peewee. The weight of the dozen of eggs, determines the size of the eggs. Eggs are potentially hazardous foods. If not stored, cooked, and sanitized properly, eggs can cause very harmful bacterial spreading. Eggs should be stored at temperatures below forty-five degrees, cooked to the proper cooking temperatures, and stations should be well sanitized when around eggs. Understanding the functions and properties of the main ingredients in baking, such as flour, sugars and sweeteners, fats, milk and dairy products, eggs, will make the baking experience more successful and consistent. The best baked goods [¦] depend on the precise combination of [the main baking ingredients]. (Larson)

Works Cited
Labensky, Sarah R. On Cooking. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2011. Book. Larson, Linda. Baking Ingredient Science. n.d. About.com. Document. 27 January 2013.

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