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So how does bread actually rise?

Most of the world’s population eats some bread, in some form or another, and it’s a food that’s been around for centuries. But how many people take the time to stop and think about exactly how bread is made? Even if you’ve experimented with bread making at home and are aware of the ingredients in a loaf…. do you really know about the science that turns yeast, water, sugar, salt and flour into the warm goodness of a soft loaf?

Here’s a little science lesson then if you’ve ever wondered about it…


Yeast is the key ingredient needed for bread to rise and many people are surprised to learn it’s actually a living organism. Warm water activates the yeast and once it starts feeding on the sugars (any added and that in the flour) by-products are released as the fermenting process continues. explains this concept in quite a straightforward way…

The essentials of any bread dough are flour, water, and of course yeast. As soon as these ingredients are stirred together, enzymes in the yeast and the flour cause large starch molecules to break down into simple sugars. The yeast metabolizes these simple sugars and exudes a liquid that releases carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol into existing air bubbles in the dough.

If the dough has a strong and elastic gluten network, the carbon dioxide is held within the bubble and will begin to inflate it, just like someone blowing up bubblegum. As more and more tiny air cells fill with carbon dioxide, the dough rises and we’re on the way to leavened bread.

Working the dough by kneading continues to strengthen the gluten network and leaving it to rest for 10 minutes or so will improve the loaf. As long as the yeast is fresh and active, once it meets the warm water and has sugars to feast on, the science will take care of the rest!

Quite amazing don’t you think? And something you might reflect on whilst eating tomorrow morning’s toast!

Well, that is quite simple really!

What should you do now?

  1. If you want to ever try baking bread at home, be sure to check your yeast for freshness.
  2. And then remember the importance of kneading the dough, to strengthen the gluten. Then rest for at least 10 minutes before baking and enjoying!
  3. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Killarney Vale Bakery now.


Enthusiasm is the yeast that raises the dough.
~ Paul J Meyer


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