Understanding bread ingredients Basic bread is made of flour and water. Yeast makes it rise and salt makes it taste better. Out of these ingredients, you can make endless varieties of bread. You can expand your repertoire exponentially if you choose to add and/or substitute ingredients. You don’t have to be an expert before you substitute wine for water or add raisins. However, there are a few things you may want to know before you begin. They are outlined in the following pages and will be an invaluable guide on you new bread-baking journey. Flour You can bake a kind of bread out of almost any flour, although different kinds of flour behave in different ways.
Gluten in flour is like a balloon, expanding as the carbon dioxide is expelled by the yeast. Flour with gluten includes wheat (and its cousins spelt, emmer, kamut and einkorn), rye and barley. Flour that may contain gluten includes oat and hemp (read the label carefully if this is important to you). All other kinds of flour are gluten free. It is important to know a bit about gluten. Firstly, different types of flour are not necessarily interchangeable and secondly, some people are mildly or severely gluten intolerant. This intolerance, called coeliac disease, affects a small minority of the population and the symptoms can be mild (tummy ache) to severe (neuropathy). This book has some gluten-free recipes for things like fritters, pancakes and ‘skillet bread’ but does not have recipes for gluten-free bread baked as a loaf. There are some great recipes for this kind of bread in Emmanuel
Different kinds of flour behave in different ways The vast majority of bread that is eaten around the world is made from white wheat flour which, in most of the English-speaking world, is categorized by its strength, ie. the amount of gluten it contains. Very strong bread flour has a high gluten content, is very stretchy, rises well, and makes great, sturdy bread.