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Glossary

Proof

A term often used in bread baking to describe the final rise of the bread dough while it is in the pan or on the bread board just prior to baking. The process by which certain doughs are permitted to rise, or "proof", either at room temperature or in a proofing unit (often with humidity), in advance of baking.

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Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is a soft wheat flour. Soft flours have a reduced gluten level and a relatively low protein content. Pastry flour is at 8% to 9% protein, and lets you create baked goods with a little more body and texture than cake flour, It is used for making biscuits, cookies, pie crusts, and pastries. The protein content of any given type of flour determines how tender, strong, elastic, stretchy and pliable the dough is that you make with it, and also the texture of the finished product.

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Clear

Used to describe your developing dough. When the dough is clear, it is silky smooth, has no lumps or bumps and is elastic to a gentle touch.

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Wholewheat

The same as wholemeal though in theory once ground down the product is wholemeal as the wheat cannot by definition be “whole” in flour.

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Wholemeal

Essentially what it says. The entire wheat grain or berry is used to produce a “wholemeal” flour. This is the same, technically as "Wholewheat".

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Wheatfeed

A by-product of milling – the husk and chaff taken from the wheat or grain is usually sold off for animal feed.

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Sponge

A pre-ferment of a wet rather than firm (dough-like) consistency. It is a mixture of leavening (either commercial bakers' yeast or natural leavens), liquid and flour mixed prior to the final bread dough and allowed to ferment anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours (or more). Used to improve the flavour and texture of bread dough and to build leavening strength.

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Spelt

An ancient variety of wheat with a rich nutty flavour. Today it is often favoured as part of a gluten intolerant diet as it is high in protein but low in gluten. This makes it more easily digested particularly by those with a Gluten intolerance.

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Sourdough Starter

A starter or culture of wild/natural yeast and lactobacilli in a medium of flour and liquid which is propagated through ongoing refreshments (or "feedings") for the purpose of leavening bread dough, is on-going and is continued on from one bake or activation to the next.

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Sour

A starter used to build a sour-flavoured bread dough, commonly used in commercial baking, for instance a "rye sour".

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Soda Bread

A traditional un leavened Irish bread made using coarse brown flour and no yeast

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Roller Mill

A modern high speed mill using large steel rollers to grind the corn. Often results in significant starch damage that means that the dough requires longer fermentation or much more energy input during the kneading process.

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Peel

A flat often wooden “board” used by bakers for getting something (e.g. bread or pizza) into or out of the oven. A wooden peel is considered best for getting product into an oven and a metal peel better at getting product out of an oven. However either works just as well as the other in reality.

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Oven Spring

The rapid increase and final burst in the expansion of dough once it is loaded into the oven. The expansion ceases as soon as the dough temperature reaches about 140° F when the yeast dies. There are many factors that influence the degree and quality of the oven spring when baking bread: overall dough quality, the amount of yeast in the dough, the degree of fermentation (it should not be under fermented or over fermented), and oven temperature. The method of baking, that is, whether using a pan, stone/tiles, or tin will also be a factor.

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Oven Soul

The base or floor of an oven.

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Millwright

An artisan skilled in creating and keeping in good order the mil stones. His art was in keeping the lands and furrows of a stone whilst at the same time ensuring that the stones remained balanced.

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Mill Race

The channel leading from the Mill Pond to the Mill wheel. The current of water in the mill race turns the waterwheel which in turn turns the stone mill wheels to grind the grain.

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Malt

Malting is a process applied to cereal grains, usually barley, in which the grains are made to germinate and then quickly dried before the plant develops.

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Levain

A French term for a culture of a naturally-occurring (wild) yeast and bacteria that can leaven and flavour bread. It is refreshed periodically by replacement of a part of the culture by new flour and water, and a portion of the refreshed culture is allowed to ferment and mature (ripen) before incorporating into the final dough. The remainder of the culture is used to begin the next batch of dough. A levain, or "sourdough," can be perpetuated for many years. A levain or levain bread dough is generally fermented at cool temperatures. The firmer consistency and cool temperature fermentation of a levain promotes the development of lactic rather than acidic acids. Bread leavened with a levain (Pain au Levain) has a rich, complex flavour and is generally not sour.

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Laverbread

A welsh speciality made using seaweed (Porphyra species), but not actually a type of bread!

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Lands

The raised “teeth” of a mill stone that actually grind the flour.

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Groat

A single oat berry.

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Grist

The blends of different wheats/grains that the miller puts together to produce a specific flour.

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Granary

Granary is a registered trade name of Rank Hovis Ltd. It is used to describe their malted wheat grain flour which is essentially a brown flour to which malted wheat grains have been added. The Shipton Mill equivalent flour is Light Malthouse Flour.

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Gluten

An elastic, rubbery substance that results when certain proteins in flour, namely Glutenin and Gliadin, are combined with a liquid (usually water) and mixed together. Prior to this combination the gluten does not exist. When the gluten in dough is properly kneaded, a strong and highly developed gluten network forms that has a honeycomb-like structure which traps gases (i.e., carbon dioxide) produced during fermentation. As the gases are produced in quantity, the gluten structure expands, causing the dough to rise.

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Gluten Free

Flours or other food products that are formulated without gluten. These products are becoming more popular as people with allergic reactions to the gluten, such as those suffering from Coeliac disease increase. Gluten-free grains include buckwheat, gram and rice.

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Germ

The seedling or embryo of the wheat plant. Contains the radicle, which produces the roots and the plumule which develops into the stems and leaves and ears. Contains concentrated Vitamin E, minerals and protein. The germ can be added to white or brown flour to make wheatgerm flour and is always present, naturally, in Wholemeal flours.

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Furrows

The depressions in a mill stone that allow the ground flour to travel out to the edge of the stone and away.

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Fermentation

The process by which yeast metabolises (consumes) simple sugars to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol (ethyl alcohol). The sugars come basically from three sources: a small amount of simple sugars naturally present in the flour, sugars that are converted from complex sugars to simple sugars through a series of conversion operations, and sugar that is released by enzymatic action on damaged starch in the flour (starch that is primarily damaged during milling). The carbon dioxide resulting from fermentation is trapped within the gluten structure, causing the dough to rise. The alcohol is converted to compounds that provide flavour and aroma to the finished crust.

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Falling Number

A term used by millers and bakers to refer to the alpha-amylase activity in flour. The falling number (FN) value has an inverse relationship with the alpha-amylase activity meaning the higher the alpha-amylase activity the lower the FN value, and vice-versa. For many flours, the falling number is adjusted through the addition of diastatic malt, or fungal amylase, to increase the level of enzymatic activity for optimum dough performance. Such adjustments are usually done at the mill, but sometimes by the baker. Malted bread flours typically have falling numbers of 250–290. Generally, a falling number value of 350 or greater indicates low enzyme activity. Values below 200 indicate high levels of enzyme activity. For comparison purposes, the King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour, which is a malted flour, has a falling number of 250 ± 30 seconds. By contrast, the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, which is unmalted, has a falling number of 340–360 seconds. Quite often, the falling number alone will indicate whether a particular flour is malted or not. See also ALPHA-AMYLASE.

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Endosperm

This is the part of the grain that produces the “white” in white flour. It is the food reserve for young plants that enables them to grow until a root system is developed.

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Elasticity

The capability of dough to return to its original shape after stretching. This effect is often referred to as "dough memory". Generally speaking, doughs made with high-protein, high-gluten flours tend most to exhibit this tendency because of their higher gluten content and their more extensive and stronger gluten network. Doughs will also exhibit high elasticity if they are reworked or re-kneaded just before shaping and stretching, which disorients and misaligns the gluten strands from their relaxed state just prior to reshaping.

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Durum

Durum wheat differs from normal wheat in that it is very hard. It is typically used in the making of pasta.

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Dough Conditioner

A general term used for additives that function to help improve the quality of the finished product by altering the way dough behaves. There are four main categories of dough conditioners: 1) enzymes, 2) oxidizing agents, 3) reducing agents, and 4) emulsifiers. Enzymes are biological catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions, such as increasing the extraction of sugar from starch. Oxidizing agents improve the dough strength by forming bonds between the protein chains. Reducing agents weaken the protein by breaking bonds between proteins during mixing, thereby reducing the mixing times and dough elasticity Emulsifiers strengthen the dough or soften the crumb.

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Diastatic Malt

A barley malt commonly used in flours to increase the extraction of sugars from the flours for use as food for the yeast during fermentation and to increase the residual sugars in the dough at the time of baking to promote increased crust browning. The diastatic malt is produced from barley that has been sprouted, dried and ground into flour. The diastatic malt works through enzymatic activity (it provides additional alpha-amylase) to release sugar from the damaged starch molecules of flour.

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Damaged Starch

Starch in flour is damaged during milling (and sometimes inherent in the wheat grain.) Damaged starch in a flour is important because enzymes in the flour, namely alpha- and beta-amylase, work on the damaged starch to produce compounds that are converted to simple sugars for feeding the yeast during fermentation and also to contribute to the residual sugars in the dough at the time of baking to promote better crust browning.

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Crumb

A term used by bakers to define the inside of a bread or pastry - its internal cell structure. Many factors can influence the cell structure of the crumb. For example, a high hydration dough that has not been over kneaded, has been properly shaped, and has sufficient yeast available at the time of baking to produce a good, final oven spring will generally result in a crumb that is open and airy with a lot of large, irregularly-sized and shaped holes (called alveoles). Conversely, a dough with low hydration, rolled rather than hand shaped, and with low yeast levels at the time of baking (resulting in a poorer oven spring) will generally result in a crumb that is more bread like, with small, even-sized and tightly formed cells.

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Brown Flour

A flour with an 85% extraction rate – or a flour with 15% of the wholegrain extracted. (See wholemeal flour). Very little difference to a white flour except the colour.

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Bran

The outer protective sleeve or pericarp which protects the grain and the inner seed. It controls water intake. Wholemeal and brown flour contain all or most of the bran respectively. About 14.5 percent of wholewheat flour is bran. Bran is commonly used in baked goods and cereals to add dietary fibre and nutrients.

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Berry

Individual whole pieces of grain. Many BERRYS make up an ear of corn for example.

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Ash

A term used in relation to flour to indicate its mineral content. The higher the ash count, the more minerals are present in the flour, and vice versa. To calculate the ash count, a sample of the flour is incinerated and the remains (the "ash") are then weighed in relation to the original sample weight to calculate the ash count for that flour. The ash count can serve as an indication of the degree of refinement of the flour since a flour from which most of the bran has been removed will have a lower ash count than one from which less bran has been removed. A flour with a high ash count will also be slightly darker than one with a low ash count because of the higher amount of bran.

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Ascorbic Acid

More commonly known as Vitamin C it is often used as an additive in flour and also for instant dry yeast (IDY), and sometimes with active dry yeast (ADY). When added to flour, it acts as an oxidizing agent, which makes it easier to form the glutens by preventing the gluten bonds from breaking down) during kneading of the dough. When used with yeast, it acts as a nutrient and provides an acidic environment for the yeast so that it acts faster and longer.

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Alpha-Amylase

The alpha-amylase enzyme develops when grain sprouts. It has a direct impact on bread quality and adversely affects the malting process. As little as 5% sprouted grain, mixed with 95% good grain, can render the entire mixture unacceptable. A certain amount of alpha-amylase is necessary for proper baking to occur. The alpha-amylase breaks down starches to provide sugars to help fuel the fermentation process. The amount of enzyme present can have a direct bearing upon the quality of bread produced. When the alpha-amylase activity is right, a high volume bread with firm and soft texture is achieved. If the activity is too high, a sticky bread crumb and low volume may result. If the activity is too low, a dry bread crumb with large holes may result. Measured using the "falling number" method. See also FALLING NUMBER.

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All-purpose Flour

Flour with a protein level of 10-12%. Ideal for general baking purposes. Higher protein flours make firmer, stronger doughs while lower protein flours produce softer, weaker doughs.

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