Before bread dough can be baked it is important to follow the directions completely for the best flavor, texture, strength and elasticity. For the most desirable bread loaves the dough must be allowed to rise causing the yeast to ferment.
During the fermentation process gases are created that cause the dough to rise and leaven the bread. Then those gases rise and stretch which then causes the development of the gluten in the dough during the kneading process.
Once the dough rises a second time and you deflate it by kneading it or punching- it down it distributes the sugars, years and warmth within the dough. This allows the yeast to continue to ferment which results in a finer grain, better gluten development and enhances the flavor.
After the dough has risen the second time check to ensure it didn’t over-rise. You don’t want this to happen. When it does excess gases are created which the dough itself can’t support and more likely than not will cause the dough to collapse once it is baked.
To check if dough has risen too much, just gently press the dough with your finger. If your finger imprint remains in the dough, the dough is prepared properly and ready to bake. The dough also expands in the oven during the baking process too. If the imprint you made bounces back immediately the dough rose too much during the second fermentation or rising and may not bake with the expected results you were looking for.
The rise and fall of dough creates the perfect loaf of bread!
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