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Haley Pollock

Diana Li
NUSC 3234

Flours and Leavening Agents

Not all flours are created equal in terms of their gluten content, nutrient content, texture,
appearance, and application in baked products. Flours and other grains are an extremely
important component of all healthy diets across the globe. The main determinant of which flour
should be used for a particular baked good, mainly depends on the gluten content of the flour. A
chewy and crunchy loaf of Italian bread has a much different requirement for gluten than a
delicate and fine muffin for example. Leavening agents are also an important component in
baked products. These agents are used to make products rise both before the baking process
(sometimes) and during the baking process (all the time). Leavening agents produce carbon
dioxide throughout the baking process which produce small or large holes in a baked good,
giving it its sponge-like structure. Without leavening agents a baked good would most likely
form a brick-like structure and would not be acceptable to the consumers eating the food.
Leavening agents can also contribute to the flavor of a baked good, not just its structure. Yeasts
are a prime example of the taste component of some baked goods, such as breads. Because there
are so many different strains of yeast that can leaven a baked good, these differences also lend
themselves to slight variations in flavor of the final product.
First, the oven was preset to 425 degrees F. When making the whole wheat gluten ball,
175 grams of whole wheat flour was weighed in a medium bowl, on an electric scale. Enough
water was added to the flour to make a stiff dough when mixed. Once this mass of stiff dough
was made, it sat undisturbed for 5 minutes. The dough ball was weighed and its mass was
recorded. Then it was kneaded by stretching and folding for 10 minutes. After kneading the

dough was put into damp cheesecloth and wrapped completely. Then the dough was submerged
in cold water for 10 more minutes. With the dough still wrapped in the cheesecloth, it was pulled
and stretched in a bowl of running water for several minutes. Once the water ran clear, a small
gluten mass remained. This gluten mass was weighed again and recorded. The gluten mass was
put on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and baked in the oven for 30 minutes at 425
degrees F. After the 30 minutes the oven temperature was reduced to 300 degrees F and baked
for another 30 minutes.
Please see attached lab journal.
Exercise one involved looking and feeling a few different flours and recording the
findings. Whole wheat, all-purpose, cake, and rice flour was observed in this exercise. The whole
wheat flour was darker in color compared to all the other flours and also felt courser than the
other flours. Whole wheat flour is made from red wheat berries which are dark in color and make
a courser flour. (1) Whole wheat flour is less refined and thus contains the endosperm, germ, and
brown colored bran, making this flour browner. (1) On the other hand, all-purpose flour was
much finer and soft in texture was much whiter in color. Because all-purpose flour is more
refined, very little if any, bran remains in this flour. In saying this, it would make sense that the
all-purpose flour would not be brown in color and have a course texture because the bran is
missing. Cake flour is another refined flour that appeared very white and extremely fluffy and
powdery in texture. This flour does not contain the bran or the germ and therefore would not be
brown in color. (2) It only contains the endosperm which is mainly made of starch which
partially explains it very fine texture. (2) The last flour was rice flour which is not made from
wheat at all, thus does not contain gluten. This flour was extremely white in color and had a
gritty yet powdery texture.

In exercise two the thickness and elasticity was observed for various gluten containing
and gluten-free flours. The gluten-free flours included: oat, rice, rye, and soy. Whereas the
gluten-containing flours included: whole wheat, pastry, cake, and all-purpose. Interestingly, the
gluten-free flours were the thickest in consistency compared to the gluten-containing flours but
were also the least elastic. This can be explained by the presence of gluten in the more elastic
flours. When gluten-containing flours are mixed with water the two proteins, glutenin and gliadin
combine uniformly into a protein called gluten. (3) This new formed gluten now creates a
formation of many strands that are able to be stretched and extended. (3) The thickness of the
gluten-free flours may be because when gluten is mixed with water, it absorbs a lot of water in
order to develop gluten formation. In saying this, the flour water mass may look thicker in
gluten-free flour mixtures because water is not being as readily absorbed by gliadin and glutenin
to form gluten.
In exercise three, gluten balls were made to measure the weight of a mass of dough
before washing with water and after washing with water to see how much actual gluten
remained. The washing process washes away the starch and therefore only protein, gluten
remains. The gluten ball with the least weight loss after washing was the all-purpose flour dough.
This mean this flour contains the most gluten out of the three. The cake flour had the most wash
off and weighed the least after the washing process. This is probably because cake flour is
mainly starch and does not contain high amounts of protein or gluten. (2) The whole wheat flour
dough expanded the most after being baked yet the cake flour dough expanded the least. This
could have something to do with not only the amount of gluten in each dough but the amount of
other proteins unrelated to gluten in each dough. Because the whole wheat flour contains more
protein and fat this may have something to do with it expanded the most during the baking
process, but this theory is not supported by any evidence.

In the last exercise, various methods for leavening baked goods was tested at a cool
temperature and a hot temperature. When the baking soda and cream of tartar was tested in the
hot water it overflowed in the flask. This shows this chemical reaction was the strongest and
would lend the most leavening ability in a baked good. Cream of tartar is tartaric acid and when
mixed with baking soda which is a base the reaction creates, carbon dioxide, steam and therefore
air. (4) When these chemicals are mixed into a mixture of other component such as flour, milk,
eggs, and sugar these leavening agents are whats responsible for giving a baked good it airy
texture that is desirable. (4) Yeast can also give the same affect but in a somewhat different way.
Yeasts consume sugar for energy and produce carbon dioxide as a waste product, this is a
biological way to leaven bread instead of a chemical way to leaven bread. (5) Because this is
biological it may not happen as fast as a chemical reaction because the yeasts need time before
they become activated and start consuming sugar and expelling carbon dioxide. This shows true
in our results because at the cool temperature barely any volume of gas was measured by yeast
and sugar. But when the mixture was heated the volume of gas jumped to 40 mL. Although water
can also be a leavening agent, it is the least affective in giving off gas to leaven a baked good.
Overall, the strongest leavening reagents are ones that produce a lot of carbon dioxide and steam
which include acid/base reactions and yeast if the yeasts are given a chance to activate in a well
suited environment.
1. Zeratsky, Katherine, R.D., L.D. "Nutrition and Healthy Eating." White Whole-wheat
Bread: Is It Nutritious? WebMD, n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.

2. "Cake Flour | Baking Ingredients." Bakerpedia. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.

3. "Gluten." - BakeInfo (Baking Industry Research Trust). Bakeinfo. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.
4. "Leavening Acids | Baking Ingredients." Bakerpedia. Bakerpedia. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.
5. "What Leavening Agents Are Used in Breads?" Bread Experience. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.