Stella Culinary School Podcast Episode 20| Bread Classifications

SCS 020| Bread Classifications

In this episode we discuss the various ways breads are classified and take a more detailed look at the science behind the bulk fermentation process.

Bread Classifications

In the featured segment of this podcast, we discussed the different ways that breads are classified and how it can help you better understand the techniques at play when developing your own bread recipes. Most classifications are mixed and matched. A sourdough boule, as shown in the picture above, can be classified as a rustic, lean dough bread utilizing the indirect method and a natural yeast culture (AKA natural levain or sourdough starter). Remember, technique and mixing "formula" can expressed as:

Classification + Technique + Flavors = A Specific Type of Bread

The chart below will be helpful in refreshing your memory after listening to this lecture. Click on the image to view a larger version or simply right click to save to your personal notes.

Bread Classifications

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There are 20 Comments

jacob burton's picture

Hey thanks SK. Glad you enjoyed the podcast. I was worried that the Donner Party line was a little too local of a reference, so I'm glad you picked up on that.

I haven't tried the different sourdough cultures and I'm a little weary of them. Most of the characteristics of your sourdough starter, especially its flavor, are caused by your local strain of Lactobacilli bacteria. In fact, you can feed your sourdough starter in such a fashion to encourage lactic acid production which can make it taste like cheese. We'll be talking more about this in future podcast episodes.

This isn't to say that is a bunch of snake oil salesmen or that they have an inferior product; I've just never tried it and I'm a little skeptical about a South African sourdough starter keeping its same characteristics after living for a few months in Truckee, California.

I haven't played with bagels too much yet but it is definitely on my hit list. I'll be experimenting with a home version and a woodfire version. I'll need to track down some bagel boards first if I really want to produce the real deal.

jacob burton's picture

So it seems from their site that the starter comes in dried form, is that correct? If that's the case, then I assume you can revive the culture and your first loaf or two of bread should be pretty close to the characteristics they describe. Given enough time though, your local yeast and bacteria strains will take over.

jacob burton's picture

The lactobacilli and the yeast are everywhere, not just on your flour, and the local lactobacilli are very territorial.

esavitzky's picture


Great job with this podcast.  I could definitely relate to your comment about the initial frustration most people have when learning about how long it takes for a finished loaf from scaling to cooling.  In fact, I think you used almost the exact words I used after you shared with me your sourdough process once I finally had my poolish going.  Now I'm really embarrassed blush

There is no doubt that this is a labor of love and I find I can schedule my Saturdays according to the  different stages of the process, running out to do errands in between bulk fermentation and final proofing.  Absolutely no better feeling than finally cutting open that loaf and having a taste!

About your suggestion for creating  steam for a baguette or suggested inverting the hotel pan over the loaf that sits on the baking stone.  Are you then also suggesting the stone sit on the bottom of the oven so you can completely enclose the loaf, or are you suggesting still keeping the stone on one of the racks?  Seems like that approach might defeat the process of the enclosed system.  Please clarify.

Thanks and as is SK, I am also awaiting the sourdough series hoping to further improve my finished product.

jacob burton's picture

@ Elliot,

For most baguettes or French loaves, all you need is enough clearance to invert a 2" hotel pan on top of your baking stone. If you're expecting a huge oven spring, then a 4" hotel will be sufficient, but is rarely needed in my experience (save for baking some fat batards or something like that).

In my tests, the middle to lower middle rack is usually sufficient clearance for this technique. I plan on shooting a video on this in the future to further clarify.

Also had some good luck with enriched, seeded hot dog buns we made for staff meal the other day. I proofed them on a standard half sheet tray and when it came time to bake, simply sprayed with some water and inverted another half sheet tray on top for the first 10 minutes of baking. The inverted half sheet tray did a great job of trapping the steam and yielded a great, crackly crust.

Nesty's picture

Hi Chef Jacob,
I listened to all three audiocast and they are very informative. Now, I have a question coming out from the bread classification. You mentioned in the audio that adding fat for the enrich dough will affect the gluten network. I wanted to ask in relation to gluten development - if the fat ingredient in general will have an effect for the gluten network to take a longer time to develop (stretch test) as compared to the lean dough without fat?

Thank you,

jacob burton's picture

@ Nesty,


Chef Jate is correct. Adding fat to a dough will shorten the gluten strands giving you a tender, even crumb. Think white bread (which has fat) compared to an airy baguette which has no fat.

jacob burton's picture

@ GreenBake

I believe I mentioned SAF yeast in Episode 18, The Four Pillars of Bread (during the yeast discussion). If I didn't, than I was remiss. Standard yeast just can't hold up to high sugar contents, which is what makes SAF important.

jacob burton's picture

Anecdotally, I tend to put less salt (about 1%) in my lower hydration doughs, and about 1.5-2% in my high-hydration formulations.

As far as how much water weight bread looses when baked, and whether or not this amount is consistent between different hydration rates, is an interesting question that I don't know the answer to. I'll have to start weighing various types of bread before and after baking and see what happens.

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