when flour meets water

I’ve been reading Nicola Lamb’s book Sift: The Elements of Great Baking (2024) and it contains very concise explanations of different aspects of working with flour. Here’s a paragraph that does a fantastic job of explaining the role of water in helping develop gluten:

The proteins glutenin (the strength’ protein) and gliadin (the stretch’ protein) in wheat flour bind together to form gluten in the presence of water. Without water, gluten cannot form. As soon as wheat flour is hydrated, the glutenin and gliadin unfold (aka denature) and form gluten. (p.14)

As an aside, the combination of glutenin and gliadin is why just looking at the protein percentage of flour is not quite enough. The hard red wheats of Eastern Europe and North America are high protein but also tend to have a higher ratio of glutenin to gliadin than wheat in, say, the UK. This means that loaves made with those flours tend to get a bigger rise.


Up next back baking I’m excited to be back baking for COGS and will deliver bread there by 10am this Saturday 15 June 2024. Not sure what I’ll bake yet but it will very old bread
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