If you’ve ever had trouble with baking, you’ve probably wondered why this was happening. Have you ever wonder why isn't my dough rising? Or why is it too runny, or, on the contrary, why it became overly firm and tasteless? It’s all about the techniques and ingredients we add to the dough. Some of my knowledge I inherited from my grandmother, and some came simply with my own experience. And I am happy to share it with you.
What are the Secrets of Making Perfect Dough?
It is always better to prepare yeast dough in a relatively large portion. Thus the fermentation process is easier because it warms itself up.
In addition, all biochemical processes are complete because there is a place and time for «gaining altitude.» Another little secret of getting the dough without lumps is to pour all the liquid ingredients into the bowl and gradually add the flour.
There are a wide variety of recipes and technologies for making dough. Each ingredient we add is responsible for the dough’s plasticity, looseness, airiness, and general consistency. The liquid for making the dough may consist of water, milk, sour cream, whey, buttermilk, kefir mixed in any proportions. Today I’d like to tell you how milk or fermented milk influences your dough.
How do Milk and Fermented Milk Products Influence the Dough?
Milk and fermented milk products like clabber, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, or whey have a beneficial effect on the dough fermentation process and improve the elasticity of the dough. But, of course, it’s always good to use dairy instead of water.
Dairy products are also fats, which means that they affect the plasticity of the dough. For instance, if the recipe calls for butter and cream, you should not replace cream with milk. Milk is not as fat as cream, and you get a dough that is airy and soft.
When you cook with milk or whey, the crumb will become thinner and smoother. Besides, using dairy when making dough increases the shelf life of baked products.
A crispy French baguette contains water. To get a softer crust, use milk. Milk proteins and sugars absorb liquid and slow down its evaporation from the crust. The combination of protein and lactose provides the right blend to darken the crust. But keep in mind that when you make the dough with milk instead of water, low the baking time and temperature to reduce the browning.
How to Calculate the Right Amount of Milk for the Dough?
Milk makes the dough thicker and softer; it gives elasticity and firmness. But do not overuse it. The amount of milk should be as much as the amount of water or even less. Milk changes the taste of baked products. Let’s say, in cakes and breads, milk mixes flavors and reduces saltiness. If you replace milk with water when making buttery yeast dough, it will not taste good and darken during baking.
And a couple more of my secrets. The sour cream dough should be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before rolling out, preferably overnight. Do not leave the dough for proofing in a warm place for a long time as it becomes excessively acidic. Happy baking!