Worthing, UK Baker Explains The Science Behind The Bread Fermentation Process

UK based Busby's Bakery is giving their eager readers a comprehensive look at the bread fermentation process and how each ingredient contributes to the final outcome. The bakery enthusiast platform hopes that this information will help more people take the next step towards making their own bread, armed with an appreciation of the interaction between various ingredients and more. The full guide can be found on the company’s official website: https://www.busbysbakery.com/.

According to Gareth Busby of Busby's Bakery, most bakers are unaware of the science behind the fermentation process and how flour, water, salt and yeast combine to form bread. While this knowledge is not absolutely necessary for a baker to get started, he believes that it can help both amateurs as well as professionals sort out good advice from the bad, particularly if they have become accustomed to relying on online sources for recipes. Notably, Busby shares that he once did not know much on the topic himself, but his creativity and bread-making capabilities took off once he invested the time to learn.

Fermentation is used to make a number of food products, including alcohol, cheese, yoghurt and so on. It requires two components to occur: a base and a strain. Busby explains that a base is a form of carbohydrate whereas the strain is a suitable type of bacteria or fungus. The base in bread fermentation is the carbohydrates in the flour, and the strain is yeast. Yeast fermentation begins the moment it comes into contact with flour and water, so by adjusting certain variables in how the dough is handled and how fermentation is engineered, Busby says that a baker can create open, irregular or close-knit crumb types.

“Yeast is a single cell organism of the fungus species,” the article says. “Although modern yeast production has been around since the early 1800s, the use of wild yeasts has been around for tens of thousands of years. Sourdough, the original levain used to ferment bread has been traced back to ancient Egyptians and beyond.” Here, bakers should understand that active dry and instant yeasts are dormant until they are hydrated in water, and fresh yeast already has enough moisture content for the fermentation process to take place. Fresh yeast is kept stable by refrigerating it, which drastically reduces yeast activity.

Given that yeast can also be used to create alcohol, the process must be controlled to ensure the right type of fermentation occurs when making bread. However, ethanol is a necessary component that serves to mature the dough, so alcohol fermentation should not be eliminated altogether. Ethanol also helps improve odour, flavour and keeping quality, but those concerned about the possibility of producing ‘alcoholic bread’ need to be too concerned since most of it evaporates during baking (although traces may remain). Busby adds that bread giving off a strong alcoholic smell can indicate that it is over-proofed. While it is safe to eat, other properties make this kind of bread a less desirable outcome. Over-proofed dough can be rectified, fortunately, and the methods for this can also be found in other articles from Busby's Bakery.

Further on in this article, Busby touches on the ways that yeast can ferment, the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration, the benefits of organic acids produced in bread and much more. For instance, on the topic of temperature, the article states, “The temperature of fermenting dough is a big variable. In a home kitchen, temperatures can fluctuate wildly, which impacts the timing of the rise. It will also affect the flavour and texture of the bread. Skilled bakers can use temperature to not only control the rate of production but to create unique flavours. Though changes in flavour are not controlled by the yeast but by the enzymes it produces.”

The full article explores many other aspects of fermentation and how each variable affects the outcome of the bread in question. Those interested in learning how to fine-tune the bread they make are welcome to read the article to get started. Alternatively, they may try the beginner’s bread recipe from Busby's Bakery to put this knowledge into action. Gareth Busby also welcomes any questions from his readers, and these can be shared via the comments section at the end of the article.


For more information about Busby's Bakery, contact the company here:

Busby's Bakery
Gareth Busby
Unit 21534, London W1A 6US, United Kingdom