Many of our childhood memories are filled with dough, whether its stealing chocolate chip cookies from the jar placed inside the top kitchen drawer or swiping cake batter directly from the mixing bowl. Who could have imagined that some of the most mouthwatering desserts in the world could be made from a simple mixture of flour and water?
History of Dough
The origin of dough is so ancient that no one knows exactly when it was first made. However, prehistoric archeological findings showed that people may have begun using flour in their diet about 30,000 years ago.
During that time, simple water was added to flour to create the first dough. It was then flattened and cooked over hot stones. These early creations were invented due to “mistakes.” It took over almost 20,000 more years before people starting cultivating wheat and making food out of it.
This way, they were able to settle down, feed more people, and create an improved social structure which made the basis of present-day societies.
Some years later, people discovered yeast, which took the dough to a whole new level.
As cultures have developed, so have the recipes for dough.
Dough and Batter: What’s the Difference?
Have you ever chanced upon a cookie recipe that tells you that the desserts are dough or better-built? If you don’t know the difference, we can tell you.
The dough is a mixture of chiefly flour with low water content. As such, it is from enough to be kneaded by hands and molded into shapes. Batters contain more liquid content than dough and have a runny texture. They are usually mixed with hand or electric mixers.
Main Categories of Dough
For the sake of practicality, the several hundred kinds of dough can be subdivided into two main categories: leavened and unleavened dough.
1. Leavened Dough
The leavened dough is fermented for a period of time until it achieves its final form. The rising is done through leaveners, like yeast, baking soda, and baking powder. The fermented dough can be created by two methods:
a. Sponge Dough Method
Sponge dough method involves creating a mixture of flour, water, and yeast, which is left to rise until it at least doubles in size. Then more flour, sugar, salt, and fat is added to the dough and kneaded. This method gives the bread a flakier texture with a slightly different flavor.
b. Straight Dough Method
In the straight dough method, all the ingredients are combined in a single session and then kneaded to a smooth and elastic consistency. Kneading depends on the type of bread you want to make.
Examples of baked food made from leavened dough include all kinds of pieces of bread, pizza, pretzels, and most rolls.
2. Unleavened Dough
The unleavened dough does not require any leavening agent and is used for all baked goodies that do not need to rise but instead stay thin and flaky. These kinds of dough usually have a higher percentage of fat, which prevents them from hardening.
Some examples of baked treats made from unleavened dough include shortcrust pastry, crackers, flatbread, tortillas, and pasta.
Types of Pastry Dough
If you are interested in making pastries, you will find that dough can be categorized as laminated and non-laminated. Both these types of dough can be leavened or unleavened.
1. Laminated Pastry Dough
Laminated dough involves folding and refolding pieces of pastry slathered with butter many times until many layers are created. Gluten is also developed during the folding process.
Examples of unleavened laminated dough include phyllo dough and puff pastry dough. An example of leavened laminated dough includes the breakfast favorite, the croissant.
2. Non-Laminated Pastry Dough
The non-laminated dough includes rubbing in fat or butter into the flour without folding it. Unleavened non-laminated pastries include choux pastries, éclairs, and pie dough. Leavened non-laminated pastries include the brioche.
Textures of Dough
Dough that has a higher amount of fat, less water, and less gluten, is less elastic than bread dough and can be made with two different textures: flaky and mealy.
1. Flaky Dough
A flaky dough texture is created by mixing the fat with the flour for a smaller amount of time. This results in bigger chunks of fat spread unevenly in the flour, but it also depends on the type of fat used and the temperature in which it is added to the flour. When the dough is rolled out, it creates a layer of fat and a flaky texture once the dough is baked.
The flaky dough is best used to make top crusts of pastries but can also be used as bottom crusts for liquid fillings.
2. Mealy Dough
Mealy dough makes crusts that are crisper and more compact. The texture is created by incorporating small fat particles evenly in the dough, which creates a denser texture. The dough cannot absorb as much water as flaky dough can and dough requires the fat to be mixed in longer so that the mixture looks like cornmeal. After baking, the crust is short and tender.
This kind of dough works well for liquid fillings, like custard, especially if you don’t blind bake the crust (partially baking the crust beforehand). It is also the perfect dough for making bottom crusts of fruit pies as it does not get soggy.
Types of Dough
There are several kinds of dough that have been created around the world. Some of the most popular types are listed below:
1. Bread Dough
Bread dough is the most common type of dough. This dough can be made from different types of wheat and various amounts of water and yeast. Bread dough needs to be kneaded carefully for a long time to develop the gluten so that the bread can become firm yet elastic and rise beautifully while baking.
Bread dough can be made from a single or a combination of flour giving it a different taste and texture. There are some bread types that use baking soda as leaveners instead of yeast. This bread are known as soda bread.
Sourdough is one of the oldest types of bread dating back to 3700 BCE in Switzerland; however, the origin of sour bread fermentation is believed to be in the Fertile Crescent several thousand years before that.
The bread is made by naturally occurring bacteria in the flour called lactobacilli, and yeast. The ingredients generally consist of a starter that includes flour and water and some salt. These pieces of bread have quite a soft crust with a chewy middle and large air bubbles. It also has a very long shelf life.
Sourbread, as the name indicates, has a sour taste due to the lactic acid produced by the bacteria. No milk, yeast, fat, or sweetener is added to the bread, which makes it markedly different and more natural than other types of bread.
3. Rich Dough
The Rich dough is a type of leavened dough that is fortified with eggs and fats, like butter, oil, cream. If properly made, this dough can stretch thin, has a smooth texture, and is translucent.
The rich dough can make bread that is soft, fluffy, and tender, like cake, as the extra fat in the flour shortens the gluten. Although this dough can have high sugar content, sugar is not necessary to produce rich dough.
4. Pie Dough
Pie dough crusts were first created in the Middle Ages. However, unlike the modern versions that often comprise of fruit filling, these pies were meant to preserve and contain meat, giving birth to dishes like Cornish pasties.
Pie dough is made from a few standard ingredients including flour, water, salt, and fat in different ratios. Some ore advanced recipes also include baking powder or vinegar, or flavoring agents like eggs, lemon juice, cider, and sugar. The flour is often all-purpose but can be a combination of bread, pastry, or cake flour.
The fat incorporated into the pie dough can be butter, shortening, or lard and even oil and is used cold and hard. The success of a pie crust depends on how cold the ingredients are kept, how the fat is distributed into the flour, and how much gluten is developed. The resulting texture can be flaky or mealy and tender, with a beautiful golden brown color.
5. Pate Brisee
Pate brisee is a type of pie dough, also known as mealy pie dough. This is one of the most popular pie dough and is perfect for creating desserts with fluted edges. The dough is made from one part water, two parts, butter or fat, and three parts flour, and can be mixed together to resemble cornmeal.
This delicious French pastry dough is made without sugar and works well for liquid fillings, like custards. It also typically contains one egg for every pound of flour and other ingredients like lemon juice, salt, and vanilla extract, for flavor.
6. Pate Sucree
Pate sucree literally translates to sugar dough and is also known as the short dough. Like the pate brisee, this dough contains one part water, two parts fat, and three parts flour by weight. It also contains an egg for every pound of flour and has several flavoring agents, just like pate brisee. However, it has a much higher sugar content, giving it a sweet taste. The flavor is more cookie-like also and it is the preferred dough for making dessert tarts and cookies.
7. Pate Sablee
Sablee dough is one of the most popular ingredients used to make crumbly, compact, and crispy desserts. The term translates literally into “sandy dough” and it is named so because of its cookie-like, crumbly texture.
This delicate dough is made by creaming fat with sugar, then incorporating eggs, and then flour in the end. The crust is either partially or whole baked prior to filling (blind baking). Some recipes also require egg yolks for a more tender crust, though this is not necessary.
The dough is quite sweet as it requires 15 percent sugar and sometimes 15 percent ground almonds as well. It can also be baked as it is to make delicious cookies.
8. Puff Pastry Dough
This flaky puff pastry dough was invented by French baker, Cladius Gele, and is laminated, unfermented dough. Unlike other basic types of dough, puff pastry requires a lot of hard work and effort.
There are two steps to making a puff pastry: the dough is first rolled out around butter. It is then turned, rolled, and folded many times and giving long resting sessions so that the butter spreads evenly throughout the dough. As the dough is baked, the water evaporates and the butter melts, separating the layers of dough and giving the puff pastry its distinctive layers and buttery, crisp, and flaky texture.
Because of its many fine layers, the pastry is also known as leaf pastry.
Puff pastry dough can be used to make napoleons or other desserts or savories.
9. Phyllo Dough
Phyllo dough was created during the Byzantine period in Istanbul and today is renowned as the pastry of pies. The word “phyllo” means “leaf” in Greek and is given to the dough because the pastries made from it have a thin, light and delectable texture.
Phyllo dough involves stretching the unleavened dough into very thin, translucent sheets. The dough is popularly used to make Middle Eastern desserts like the decadent baklava.
However, if you add some vegetable fat to the mixture, you can get a thicker version of phyllo dough. This dough can be used to make crisp, crumbly pie crusts, especially for meat pies.
10. Choux Pastry Dough
The concept of choux pastry was first invented in 1540 to commemorate the wedding of Catherine de Medici with King Henry II. The choux pastry dough is fortified dough paste that requires egg, milk, butter, and water to make. It is not strictly a dough since the liquid content is high in it and it is piped through a pastry tip.
If the dough is formed perfectly, it can produce a crispy crust, a light interior, and a perfect golden brown color. During baking, water evaporates, leaving the center somewhat empty and hollow.
This space can be filled with whipped cream, custard, or jelly. Therefore, the dough is used to make a mouthwatering variety of desserts, including éclairs, cream puffs, croquembouche, profiteroles, and Paris-Brest.
11. Croissant Dough
Croissant dough is very similar to a pastry puff dough but with added yeast for some extra fluffiness. The dough is created by enfolding butter and taking it to a series of turns to create central layers of butter in between the dough sheets. During baking, the steam separates the layers of dough.
Although a lot of hard work is involved in it, if the lamination is successful, the resulting bread is very light and flaky in texture.
This dough can also be wrapped around chocolate or almond paste before they are baked.
12. Brioche Dough
The dough used to create brioche pastries is non-laminated, yeast-based dough, which is mixed with butter and eggs. The resulting bread is soft like cake and has a tender, creamy, and slightly sweet consistency, without the signature crunchiness or crispiness that is associated with most pastries.
This dough is typically rolled into balls to make its characteristic round shape though it can also be made into an ordinary loaf shape. Brioche Nanterre is made by placing two loaf-shaped sections of brioche dough side by side and baking them. When the dough rises, the two separate sections fuse together.
13. Kourou Dough
Kourou dough is a type of rich dough made with butter and eggs, and sometimes milk and even yogurt. Unlike the puff pastries which require a large amount of fat content, Kourou dough needs only a bit of oil to mold it into the perfect form.
The Kourou dough results in a crunchy and slightly drier texture, but is extremely flavorful. It is one of the preferred types of dough for making tarts, quiches, pies, and turnover.
14. Pasta Dough
Who doesn’t love pasta? Pasta dough is made from unfermented dough, typically consisting of wheat, eggs, and salt. Sometimes, rice flours, bean flour, or legume flour is used to make the dough gluten-free and give it a different taste.
This dough is quite hard and requires a lot of kneading so that it is moistened all the way through. The pasta dough can be rolled into sheets or molded into different shapes. However, the best part is that it can be used both fresh and dried.
Fresh pasta dough can be made with the hand at home and baked or boiled. Dry pasta is store-bought and has an extremely long shelf life.
Are you hungry yet? If you are, go ahead and try making these versatile and mouthwatering types of dough at home, which can create some of the best savory and sweet dishes of all time.