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Tag: Bread

What is a Dough Conditioner?

When making yeast bread, sometimes the dough just needs a little boost. One method to do that is adding a dough conditioner or dough improver.

These ingredients look like flour, but are not. They help improve gluten development to give higher volume and finer texture. Commercial bakeries use them because of the automated equipment which can be hard on bread dough. They are also added to frozen dough to withstand the damage ice crystals impart on gluten structure. Using dough conditioners can shorten mixing time and speed up fermentation.

Examples of dough conditioners include vital wheat gluten, amylase enzymes, ascorbic acid, and emulsifiers.

Source: How Baking Works, by Paula Figoni


November is National Raisin Bread Month!

Glazed Raisin Loaf

Now this is a celebration I can wrap my head around! I consider raisin bread comfort food and have made it often to give as gifts. The aroma of this bread just says comfort!

There are many variations of raisin bread, which typically has cinnamon as an added punch of flavor. Some recipes have raisins in the dough, some have the raisins just in the swirl. The cinnamon can also be used either way. But to truly get that punch of flavor, the spiral with the cinnamon and raisins can hit the spot.

Raisins are little sponges. When baked in bread, they tend to soak up moisture from the dough, making the finished bread dough dry. Soak the raisins in water first to make them plump and juicy, but not mushy.

A cinnamon filling can make a pretty swirl when shaping the loaves. Resist using too much butter as that can cause the swirl to separate and then the bread slices will lose their shape. Add a tablespoon of flour to help prevent this from happening.

However you make this bread, enjoy!


New Yeast for Bakers

If you like the flavor of sourdough bread but don’t want to wait for a sourdough starter to develop, there’s good news!

Red Star® has made a new Instant Sourdough yeast to replace regular yeast in any recipe to give it sourdough flavor. The yeast actually contains a starter culture (Lactobacillus) and rye flour to take the place of a sourdough starter. Simply blend the yeast with the dry ingredients and use liquids at a temperature of 120-130°F. Bread recipes with four cups of flour can use one packet of this yeast.

For more information, including how to request a free sample of this new yeast, go to


What is the Windowpane Test?

When making yeast dough, when should you stop kneading? Try the windowpane test!

When dough forms, it will be rough and shaggy. As kneading continues, it gets smoother. Pull out a piece of dough and work it with your fingers as thin as possible. It should be almost translucent. The dough should stretch, but not pull apart. If the dough pulls apart and tears easily, it is not kneaded enough. If it holds together, and when stretched and held up to light, the light should shine through.

Source: Understanding Baking, 3rd edition, Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees


Bread Sculpture Contest Returns!

The 2018 winner!

If you didn’t get the opportunity to host or enter the State Fair County Contest last year, here is another chance! Once again, the Kansas State Fair will partner with the Kansas Wheat Commission and offer the Bread Sculpture Contest where you can send your County Fair Winners to represent you at the State Fair with their amazing creations!

There are some great “dough” prizes available, but first you “knead” to enter. All entries MUST be pre-entered with the Kansas State Fair by August 15th to participate. This contest is offered by the Kansas State Fair Foods Department located in the Domestic Arts Building. This is where entries need to be received, will be judged, displayed and released from. A $1.00 handling fee, per exhibitor, is due at the time of entry.

Complete details can be found at

Additional questions may be directed to: or



Evaluating Artisan Bread

Artisan, or hearth, breads have some characteristics that make them unique. Here are some tips to evaluate these breads.

Aspect—Feel the weight, it should be appropriate for its size. Are the cuts on top open to allow expansion? Scoring will dictate the interior structure and visual appearance. The color should be golden, and darkly burnished is not always best.

Crumb Structure—Baguettes will have some marble-sized holes along with smaller holes. The cell walls will look translucent.

Flavor—This is a combination of the crust flavor and interior flavor. One should not overpower the other.

Balance—Sour flavor notes from fermentation should balance with malty notes. Browning from Maillard reactions should be balanced with interior flavors and added ingredients.

Texture—This varies by bread type and is the contrast of the crust and interior. It may be chewy, tender, tender, crispy, moist or dry.



New Bread Sculpture Contest at Fairs

“Find Your Fun” and have some fun with food! A new contest for county fairs and the State Fair has been developed by the Kansas Wheat Commission to bring out your creativity with bread sculptures.

The Kansas Wheat Commission recommends having a county contest to send the winner on to the State Fair. But, individuals may still enter their item in the “Open Class” Bread Sculpture contest at the State Fair.

Judges will consider creativity, originality, imagination, attention to detail, design, color, and instructions.

For more information, the contest flyer can be found at under “Foods & Nutrition.”

For questions, please contact or


Using Expired Yeast for Bread

Bread yeast is a living organism. Over time, it loses its potency and ability to make dough rise. Yeast packaging has an expiration date and it is best to use it prior to this date.

If dough is made with expired yeast, it is possible to rescue the slow rising dough by using a new package of yeast. These tips are from Fleischmann’s Yeast for each packet of yeast in the recipe.

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water (100°-110°F), 1 teaspoon sugar and one packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Using an electric mixer, slowly beat in small (walnut size) pieces of dough until about 1/2 of the dough is mixed into the new yeast.
  3. With a spoon, stir in remaining dough. Knead in extra flour so dough is not sticky.
  4. Let rise, shape and bake as directed.

Source: Fleischmann’s Yeast


Durum Wheat Going Soft

Artisan bread made with soft durum wheat

Durum wheat has long been used for making pasta because of its yellow color and high protein content for a firm ‘bite.’ It is also used to make couscous and a few Mediterranean breads. But research, conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, now offers a new soft durum wheat called “Soft Svevo.”

Soft Svevo was created with classical breeding methods by introducing two genes from soft bread wheat into Italian durum Svevo wheat. This new variety has flour quality similar to soft bread wheat. It is appealing for making pizza crust, baguettes, pan breads, and other breads.

Traditional durum wheat is very hard and difficult to mill into flour. This new variety can save 75 percent energy and 15 percent water during milling.

Learn more about this new wheat at