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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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dough a malleable, uniform mixture of flour (or meal, which is coarser) and water. Other liquids, leavening, eggs, sweetening, flavouring, and shortening ingredients are added as recipes dictate. Doughs are common in cuisines which exploit the properties of wheat (those rooted in Europe and SW and C. Asia), where their most significant use is in making wheat bread. A batter is made from similar ingredients to a dough, but is thin, and mixed by beating, not kneading.

Methods and relative proportions of ingredients used for making wheat-based doughs vary according to the desired product, encouraging or discouraging the development of gluten to give varied textures. See also bread chemistry. Bread dough is made with high-protein flour, leavened with yeast or sourdough, and kneaded with water to develop the gluten, yielding a characteristic spongy appearance and chewy texture. Gluten development is also encouraged in pasta and noodle dough, which is heavily kneaded but unleavened; these have a relatively low moisture content when fresh and are often dried to give compact, long-keeping foods. Pastry doughs, and those for shortbread-type biscuits and cakes, use soft flour, with a high proportion of shortening (fat), and are usually unleavened, giving a crisp, friable result.