Another Diary, this time all about one of everyone’s most favorite mixture of ingredients…dough!
Let’s start from the beginning though…
Dough is made out of the combination of flour with some liquid, usually water, but it can also be made with milk.
Flour nowadays can be made out of some type of cereal grain such as wheat, barley, rice and also out of some type of nut or seed such as almonds, chestnuts, carobs….
Creating the dough is the first step towards making products such as pies, breads, cakes, cookies, sweet breads, pasta….
There are different types or categories of dough, depending on their characteristics. The important characteristics being the percentage of moisture in the dough, whether it contains yeast or not and whether or not it has any fats.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of dough,....
It is made with butter or any other vegetable fat but it needs to be created with a different sort of process…. so that the butter can be in layers in between the dough. As it bakes, the butter melts, the water turns in to steam and separates the layers of dough giving the puff pastry its characteristic flaky layering.
It is a very difficult process for the inexperienced home chef and is better left to the professionals for the best results!
Of course, the puff pastry made with butter is also the most flavorful…
It is used to make mille feuilles (napoleons) or other pies that can be sweet or savory.
Another dough made with butter along with eggs and sometimes milk. It is created in a different manner, which gives it a very crunchy result as it bakes. This type of dough is used to make pies, turnovers and even tarts. It is a very rich dough that is very flavorful.
Imagine a puff pastry dough but with yeast for added puffiness….
It is exceptionally difficult to prepare at home since it is very difficult to get the desired results. So allow the professionals to get it right since it takes a long time to prepare between resting and cooling. The process is generally quite intricate.
When you find a good croissant dough though, your creations at home will turn out quite wonderful!
Light, thin and delectable…. It is made with flour and water along with great dexterity so that it can become so thin, fluffy and crunchy… So definitely leave this up to the professionals! Perfect for pies and more traditional sweets like baklava!
Of course if some vegetable fat is added a thicker version of phyllo dough is created. This type of phyllo dough is perfect for pies, especially ground meat pies and other more rustique versions.
You can also find new types of phyllo dough available that are made with olive oil that give a more traditional flavor and also whole wheat dough!
These types of doughs are fortified with butter, eggs, yeast etc. They need a long time to rise and generally not for the novice in the kitchen. You CAN try making my sweet bread though!
Great for making sweet breads, babka, monkey bread etc…
Let’s move on to some more simple doughs.
3 ingredients: Flour, salt and eggs. It is a hard dough and needs a lot of kneading in order to moisten the flour properly so that it is able to be rolled out in to a sheet.
It can be made with a variety of wheats and various amounts of water along with yeast. It needs to kneaded very well in order for gluten (protein) to be created so that a nice bread can be made.
A different taste and of course a different texture can be given depending on what type of flour is used.
There are also some type of breads that substitute yeast for other types of leaveners such as baking soda. These are called soda breads.
Doughs are also categorized according to whether or not they contain fats, such as butter or other vegetable fats. Doughs that contain fats do not depend on the creation of gluten so they do not need too much kneading or mixing.
You might have noticed that the recipes for cookies, cakes, tarts, etc. suggest that you do not overbeat the ingredients.
The simplest of these types of doughs is the tart dough that contains flour, butter, eggs, water and salt.
Of course if they contain sugar, they are used to make sweet tarts. There are also tarts with different amounts of butter. The more amount of butter, the tastier it is but it is also harder to work with.
In some cases, some tart recipes call for water with a small amount of vodka. It is said that as the vodka evaporates it will make the dough even crunchier!
A more fortified dough is the choux pastry dough, made with butter, water, milk and eggs. While baking, the water turns to steam and rises, leaving the center hollow.
Let’s finish with cake and cookie doughs…
Fortified doughs with eggs, fats and leaveners… The percentage of water varies. They don’t need too much mixing and cake dough has to always be transferred to a cake pan because there is no other way to keep their shape.
I hope you enjoyed this trip in to the world of dough and its many varieties! I hope it helped you understand which type of dough is used to make what, so now anything you choose to make…. from pies to cakes to cookies to tarts to choux to bread to sweetbread… they will all turn out successfully!!