Autolyse–allowing your mixed dough to rest before kneading. This helps everything come together better because your flour is hydrating. This is a very useful step in making pasta dough.
Banneton (AKA Brotform)–a reed basket that is used for proofing boules. This is what gives artisan breads those nice flour rings.
Benching–letting your dough rest on the counter before shaping.
Biga–a dough like mixture that is used as a pre-ferment. A biga generally has a 60-65% hydration.
Boule–a round loaf
Ferment–this refers to the time between kneading and shaping/proofing. You are allowing your yeast to feed and create starches.
Crumb–this is the inner portion of your bread.
Crust–this is exactly what you’d think it is: the outer portion of your bread.
Active Dry Yeast (ADY)–this yeast has a coating that needs to be washed off before it will be able to feed on starches. DAY contains Glutathione which is a natural gluten relaxer. Dry active yeast can be used for all breads but I wouldn’t suggest it for whole grains because whole grain bread needs all the help it can get to rise.
Dry Instant Yeast (DIY)–this yeast can be mixed right into your dough mixture. It does not need to be proofed and it doesn’t need to sit in warm water. DIY is a great candidate for whole grain bread.
Gluten–gluten is what makes your bread stand up and it is also what is left behind after most of your water evaporates during baking. Many books will tell you to build the gluten content in your dough by kneading. This works because kneading combines the two proteins glutenin and gliadin and creates a microscopic web-like network of gluten. When your dough is fermenting the starches in your flour are turned into sugar and carbon dioxide by your active yeast. Gluten traps the carbon dioxide and this is what causes your bread to rise. Also, gluten is where most of the protein in your bread comes from. Seitan, a meat-like creation, utilizes wheat gluten flour. Because gluten is insoluble in water it makes for an interesting vegan dish. BBQ seitan turns out oddly like real BBQ ribs. Wheat gluten flour is produced by washing away the starches from flour, drying the gummy left-overs, and grinding.
Malted Barley–Malting means to sprout and then grind. Diastatic malted barley has an active enzyme, amylase, that adds extra vigor to your yeast. This should be used sparingly because it also relaxes your gluten structure. Malt is also used as a way to convert carbohydrates to sugar in beer. A lot of malt will give the beer a more alcohol taste. Too much malt in your bread will also make it taste like alcohol, because bread is just a solid form of beer. Alcohol tasting bread is icky. Non-diastatic malted barley is used as a sweetener. Diastatic powder has been allowed to dry at low temperatures. Non-diastatic was dried at higher temperatures. Amylase breaks down and dies at anything higher than 160F. I’m not sure where you will be able to find this. I lucked out and got a 2 lb. sample from Red Star yeast in Milwaukee.
Mash–brewers will recognize this term. This is the process of heating whole grains so that they will gelatinize and give a smoother texture to your crumb.
Pate Fermentee–this literally means old dough. If you are making a lot of one type of bread, baguettes, you could keep a small portion to use with your next dough. This is the same concept as a sourdough starter. It also allows you to have similar results for each batch. You can even make a pate fermentee by making a 100-60% dough a few days prior to baking.
Poolish–similar to a biga but it uses much more water. I typically make a poolish that is 100% flour and 178% water. The amount of yeast depends on how long you are going to let your poolish sit out. If you are going to be baking in 4 hours you might use 0.5% yeast. If you are going to be baking in 10 hours you might use 0.05% yeast.
Pre-ferment–this refers to terms like biga and poolish. It is an active yeast time before you create your dough. Pre-ferments give your bread a more complex flavor. Dough will not keep in your refrigerator for more than 48 hours. Even that is pushing it. Using a pre-ferment allows you to give your dough an even longer amount of fermentation time without pushing the limits.
Proof–this describes the resting time between shaping and baking.
Retarding–this is the process of slowing dough your yeast productivity. You can retard dough by placing it into your refridgerator. It is easiest to place your shaped dough into the refridgerator because cold dough isn’t as easy to work with. However, pastry dough should be cold when shaping or incorporating butter. Retarding dough allows you to make dough one day and bake bread the next. This is also useful in creating dough with complex flavors.
Scaling–the name says it all. You are weighing your dough to whatever weight you want it. I have two digital scales in my kitchen. One is 5 Kg-1 g and the other is 120 g-0.1 g. Kitchen stores will not have a scale that goes into the tens or hundredths place. Do you know what a headshop is? Do they really need to go into the hundreths for scaling tobacco? Regardless of the reason that they have them I am grateful because that is where I got mine.
Shaping–this is the process of molding your dough into whatever shape you want it to look like.
Soaker–this method allows hard whole wheat to soften before mixing into a dough. This is a Peter Reinhart term.
Window Pane Test–this method shows you if you have developed enough gluten in your dough. After kneading take a walnut sized sample of dough and gently stretch. If you can stretch it enough to see light through it, you are ready to go on to the next step. If your dough rips, then you should continue kneading.