Grain Chain Episode 6: The Bakery

It's time to look at how the flour is turned into delicious bread!

You’ve probably seen bakeries on your high street or in a supermarket – but do you know how much work goes into baking a loaf of bread? It’s not an easy job!

The main ingredient is flour. A few hundred years ago the person baking the bread would have also made the flour, taking the harvested wheat and milling it themselves…

But these days it’s just delivered in vans! But it isn’t just the flour that has to be delivered – there’s all those other ingredients!

Salt helps with the bread’s taste and with ‘proving’, which is the resting and rising stage of bread making.

You’ll also need some water, a bit of vinegar and a tiny splash of vegetable fat too.

Then, bakers add yeast. We have to do all this mixing very quickly — all in about five minutes in fact, to get the best dough.

Dough is what the weird gloopy mix mixture is called. Once mixed, it has to be rested for a bit for the yeast to get to work before the next step.

The dough is then beaten up – or ‘kneaded’ as you’re supposed to say. In a professional bakery they use a rotating machine but at home, you’ll probably use your hands!

It helps to remove large air bubbles created by the yeast and encourages an even texture and better rise. The kneaded dough is then put in tins and left to rise.

The dough then gets a good pummelling again, to make sure there aren’t any big air bubbles left — otherwise your loaf may be a bit holey!

The dough’s then allowed to rest for a second time and after all this, it’s twice as big as it started!

Now it’s time for the baking! A hot oven is needed to kill off the yeast cells and change the dough into crisp and delicious bread.

The basic bread recipe is the same as it’s always been but modern technology gives bakers a helping hand and helps them make the twelve MILLION loaves we buy every single day in this country. That’s a lot of sandwiches!

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