BAKING AND PASTRY
Baking is the cooking of food by dry heat in an oven in which the action of the dry convection heat is modified by steam.
Three methods of baking can be identified.
* Dry baking: when baking, steam rises from the water content of the food; this steam combines with the dry heat of the oven to cook the food, e.g. cakes, pastry, baked jacket potatoes.
* Increased humiditybaking: when baking certain foods, e.g. bread, the oven humidity is increased by placing a bowl of water or injection steam into the oven, thus increasing the water content of the food and so improving the eating quality.
* Bain marie: when baking, place food in a container of water (bain marie) which modifies the heat so that the food cooks more slowly, does not overheat or overcook.Advantages
* A wide range of savoury and sweet foods can be produced
* Bakery products yield appetising goods with eye-appeal and mouth-watering aromas
* Bulk cooking can be achieved with uniformity of colour and degree of cooking
* Baking ovens have effective manual or automatic controls
* There is straightforward access for loading and removal of items Disadvantages
* Requires regular attention
* Ovens are expensive to heat
Pastry is flour mixed with shortening and flavoring ingredients to produce a coherent mass, used for pies and other dishes in North American, European, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Basic additions are fat, a little salt, and water. Pastry-making, pâtisserie in French, has developed as a special branch of cookery.Specialized products of the pastry cook or pâtissier include delicate flour and sugar confections (cakes, cookies, waffles, meringues, frostings, glazes, and fillings) combined in small pastries for snacks, taken with tea or coffee or after meals. By extension, the word pastry is sometimes used collectively to indicate sweet, flour-based items for dessert.
Defining pastry types is difficult, as there arenumerous variations. Three basic ones are short-crust or pie pastry, puff pastry, and flaky or rough puff. Short-crust pastry is one part fat (butter, lard, or commercial pastry fat) to two of flour by weight. The fat is cut or rubbed into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, a little ice water is added, and the mass is pressed together with minimal working to make a dough.French pâte brisée is similar, but uses a little more fat and is mixed with egg. Variations include sweetened pâte sucrée and pâte sablée (very rich, similar to cookie dough). Short pastries are crumbly when cooked and used for many pies and tarts.
EXAMPLES OF FLOUR
There are many types of flour, all-purpose (or occident) flour is used most frequently. Bread flour is higher in protein. Unbleached flour issimply not as white as bleached.
Whole-wheat flour is brown in color, and is derived from the complete wheat kernel (the bran and germ). When used in bread baking, it gives a nutty flavor and a denser texture when compared to all-purpose flour. Bread does not rise as high in whole-wheat breads, which is why a mixture of both whole-wheat and white flour is often used when baking.
Cake flourhas the least amount of gluten of all wheat flours, making it best for light, delicate products such as sponge cakes, genoise, and some cookie batters. Cake flour often comes bleached, which gives it a bright, white appearance.
Pastry flour also has low gluten content, though it contains a bit more than cake flour. Made from soft wheat flour, it is used for making tart and pie doughs, somecookie batters, and muffins.
High-gluten flour is milled from hard wheat and has high protein content, making it high in gluten.
Most people think of flour in terms of wheat flour. When in fact, flour can be ground from a variety of nuts and seeds. Some types of flours available are: amaranth, arrowroot, barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, kamut, nuts, oats, potato, quinoa, rice, rye, soy,...
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