The Fascinating History of Dough: How It Became a Staple in Our Diets

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What Exactly is Dough?

Dough is a mixture consisting of flour, liquid (usually water or milk), leavening agents (such as yeast or baking powder), and fats. It typically takes the form of a thick, elastic paste that can be shaped by hand and used as a base for baking.

What is dough

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The Relationship Between Dough and Baking

Dough is an essential ingredient in many baked goods, including bread, pastries, and pizza crusts. Its texture and composition are what distinguishes these different types of baked goods. For example, a crispy pizza crust is made with a thin, flat dough that has been traversed with air bubbles, while a soft and juicy bread is made with a dough that has been folded and rested for a longer time.

The Types of Dough

There are many different types of dough, each with its own preparation and baking tips. Some of the most common types of dough include:

  • Fresh yeast dough: This dough includes fresh yeast cubes that need to be dissolved in lukewarm water before being added to the mixture.
  • Dried yeast dough: An alternative to fresh yeast, dried yeast comes in packets and can be added directly to the mixture.
  • Quick dough: This type of dough lacks yeast and needs to be mixed and baked right away.
  • Thin dough: Typically used for making pastries, this dough is rolled out very thin and cut into small shapes.
  • Leguminous dough: Made from grains or leguminous flours, this dough is typically used in gluten-free baking.
  • Chestnut dough: Made from chestnut flour, this dough has a pretty unique taste and texture.

The Practical Side of Dough

When making dough, there are a few practical things to keep in mind:

  • Always use fresh ingredients, especially fresh flour and yeast.
  • Make sure the water you use is lukewarm, as hot water can kill the yeast.
  • When kneading the dough, be sure to give it plenty of time to rest and rise.
  • Dough can be stored in the fridge for a few days, but it needs to be kept in an airtight container.
  • Sugar can be added to the mixture to help the yeast activate and create bubbles.
  • Fats, such as butter or oil, can be added to the dough to keep it moist and give it a richer flavor.

Exploring the Wide Range of Dough Types

Dough is a mixture of ingredients that includes flour, water, and fat. Depending on the recipe, it may also include sugar, eggs, and other ingredients to create a desired texture and flavor. There are many different types of dough, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Some of the most popular types of dough include:

  • Pie dough: This type of dough is mainly used for creating sweet or savory pies. It contains flour, fat, water, and sometimes sugar. The fat content is higher compared to other types of dough, which creates a rich and flaky texture.
  • Short dough: This dough is similar to pie dough but contains more fat, making it easier to work with and producing a more delicate texture. It is often used for creating shortbread cookies and tarts.
  • Sweet dough: As the name suggests, this type of dough is used for creating sweet dishes such as pastries and cakes. It includes sugar and sometimes eggs to create a sweet and rich flavor.
  • Dry dough: This type of dough is prepared with a smaller amount of water, creating a drier and crumbly texture. It is often used for creating biscuits and crackers.
  • Steamed rice dough: This dough is made from rice flour and starch and is often used in Asian dishes such as dumplings and buns. It is carefully prepared to ensure that the dough is properly steamed and the particles are small enough to create a soft and chewy texture.

Techniques for Creating Different Dough Types

Creating different types of dough involves using different techniques and methods. Some popular techniques include:

  • Mixing: This involves combining the ingredients together to create a smooth and consistent mixture. Depending on the type of dough, this can be done using a stand mixer, food processor, or by hand.
  • Rolling: This technique is used to flatten the dough into a desired shape and thickness. It is often used for creating pie crusts and pizza dough.
  • Adding fat: Adding fat to the dough creates a richer and flakier texture. This is often done by adding butter or shortening to the mixture.
  • Repeated folding: This technique is used to create layers in the dough, which produces a flaky texture. It is often used for creating croissants and puff pastry.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Dough Type

Choosing the right dough type is essential for creating the perfect dish. Factors to consider include:

  • The desired texture: Different dough types produce different textures, so it’s important to choose the right one for the dish you are making.
  • The ingredients: Certain types of dough contain specific ingredients, such as sugar or eggs, which can affect the final flavor.
  • The method of cooking: Some dough types are better suited for certain cooking methods, such as steaming or baking.
  • The dish: Certain dishes require a specific type of dough, such as pie crusts or bread.

Mastering Dough Techniques

The traditional hand-kneading method is a strong and direct way to produce dough. It takes a lot of work but can be a great way to get a feel for the dough. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Start with a firm and solid dough that is not too wet or too dry.
  • Place the dough on a floured table or surface.
  • Use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you.
  • Fold the dough back over itself and give it a quarter turn.
  • Repeat the process for a good 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Let the dough rest for a bit before shaping it into the desired form.

Wet Dough Method

The wet dough method is a popular alternative to the traditional method. It allows for a longer rest period and produces a more airy and open crumb. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start with a wetter dough than you would normally use.
  • Use a scraper to fold the dough over itself, bringing the edges to the center.
  • Let the dough rest for a short period before repeating the process.
  • Repeat the folding process a few times until the dough becomes firmer and more elastic.
  • Let the dough rest for a longer period before shaping it into the desired form.

Choosing the Best Technique

When it comes to choosing the best technique for making dough, it all depends on the type of product you want to produce. Here are some points to consider:

  • For bread and pizza dough, the traditional hand-kneading method is the closest to the original process.
  • For pastries and pie crusts, the rolling dough method is ideal.
  • For a low-maintenance approach, the direct dough method is a good choice.
  • For a more hands-on approach, the dirty dough method is a great option.

How Water Affects Dough

Water is one of the biggest factors that affect dough. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Water can make the dough wetter or drier depending on the amount used.
  • Too much water can cause the dough to be sticky and difficult to work with.
  • Too little water can cause the dough to be dry and tough.
  • Hot water can affect the dough differently than cold water.
  • Lower hydration levels are ideal for certain types of products, while higher hydration levels are better for others.

Using a Scraper

A scraper is a simple and small tool that can make a big difference when making dough. Here are some ways to use it:

  • Use a scraper to pick up the dough and bring it to the center of the bowl.
  • Use a scraper to shape the dough into the desired form.
  • Use a scraper to clean the table or surface when working with sticky dough.

The End Result

No matter which technique you choose, the end result should be a solid and firm dough that is easy to work with. With a little bit of practice and patience, you can master the art of making dough and create some truly great foods!

The Malleable History of Dough

Dough is a simple mixture of flour, water, and other ingredients such as fat, sugar, and yeast, depending on the desired end product. The ingredients are mixed together to form a malleable substance that can be shaped and prepared in different ways. The process of making dough can vary depending on the type of dough being prepared, but generally involves mixing the ingredients together and then kneading or rolling the dough repeatedly to develop gluten and create a desired texture.

The Widely Used Doughs

Dough is widely used in cooking and baking around the world and is included in many recipes for a variety of products. Some common uses of dough include:

  • Breads: dough is used to produce a wide range of breads, from simple quick breads to complex artisanal loaves
  • Pastries: dough is used to produce a variety of sweet and savory pastries, including pies, tarts, and turnovers
  • Dumplings and noodles: dough is used to produce a variety of steamed and boiled dumplings and noodles in many different cuisines
  • Pasta: dough is used to produce a variety of pasta shapes, including spaghetti, fettuccine, and lasagna

The Role of Dough in Cooking and Baking

Dough plays an important role in cooking and baking, as it helps to produce the desired texture and structure of the final product. The gluten content of the dough can affect the texture of the final product, with higher gluten content producing a tougher, chewier texture. Leavening agents such as yeast and baking powder can also be added to dough to help it rise and produce a lighter, fluffier texture.

In conclusion, dough is a versatile and malleable substance that has been used for centuries in cooking and baking around the world. Its simple ingredients and process make it a common ingredient in many different cuisines and recipes.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about dough. It’s not as simple as you might think, but now you know the secret to making the perfect dough for your next baking project. So go on, get creative!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.