Alcohol, the escape artist - Plant Science
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Alcohol, the escape artist

Something amazing happens when you bake bread. Though we knead the flour well, there is always some air left in the bread. How does that happen?

Some varieties of bread, such as the Italian ciabatta are very well known for their flaky crusts and characteristic air pockets. However, if this sort of air pockets start forming in your bread and pizza, that means you are doing something wrong while preparing the dough. Have you ever wondered where these holes, air pockets and tunnels actually come from?

 Yeast is a microbe that has a major role to play in the baking of bread. Yeast metabolizes the starches and sugars present in the dough, which results in the formation of carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The release of carbon dioxide gas and alcohol is the main reason behind the rising of dough. Unwanted air pockets and holes occur when the carbon dioxide gas spreads through the entire dough in an uneven manner.

Also, while the bread is being baked, the alcohol in the dough gets vaporized and tries to escape. This leads to an expansion of dough, which contributes hugely to the occurrence of air pockets and tunnels throughout the entire loaf. This sort of phenomenon also occurs while cooking any item that requires a batter medium. The best way to prevent unwanted holes is to knead the dough properly, and by giving the kneaded bread dough sufficient time to rise properly.

Does this unlock the secret behind why mom kneads the dough well, rounds it and rests it for about 15 minutes before she makes those rotis and bread or croissants?

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