The homemade, one-batch-at-a-time method described above is generally referred to as the straight method or straight dough process. Basically, the overall procedure (outlined in Figure 8-9) involves mixing all of the ingredients and then allowing the dough to ferment for several hours (with intermittent punching down). The developed dough is then divided, formed into round balls, given a brief (intermediate) proof, shaped into loaves, and placed in baking pans. Finally, after a final fermentation or proof, the bread is baked. The straight
dough method is little used by the baking industry, the exceptions being mostly small or specialty bakeries. The process results in a bread that is chewy, with a coarse cell structure and a moderate flavor. Although the quality of these breads (Box 2) is quite good, the limitation of this process is that it lacks flexibility and is sensitive to time. In other words, when the fermentation is sufficiently complete, the dough must soon be baked. Otherwise, if fermentation is prolonged, the bread will be yeasty, excess air cells will be formed, and the structure will be weak.
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