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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Featured Techniques: 

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There are 22 Comments

skflyfish's picture

Great podcast and a lot of good information.

I had a good laugh at your Donner party comparison. A good analogy for the Truckee area, eh.

Two tings.

One. Have you ever made bagels in your wood fired oven? The classic Montreal bagel (which Zalbar can probably elaborate on, as I have never tasted one) is boiled in honey water (vs. malted syrup water) and baked in a wood fired oven. They are claimed to be the best bagels.

I love my own bagels which are made with high gluten flour, boiled in sorghum molasses water and baked on a stone. But I would love to hear if the wood fired oven takes them to an even higher level. (I am trying to convince myself to build one) wink

Two. Have you ever tried any of the sourdough cultures from The have a South African culture that will fully leaven 100% whole wheat. I have not tried it, but I have tried one of their Italian cultures. It didn't give me the taste I was trying to duplicate in the Niagara Falls area Italian bread, but it had, for a while, an unusual cheesy flavor. Some loaves actually tasted like cheese bread, but only through bacterial action. I was doing a lot of cheese making at the time and possibly contaminated my culture, but how much lactose is in bread?

Again thanks for your great work.


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.

skflyfish's picture

I actually don't use bagel boards. The first 3 minutes they are on a piece of parchment top side to the stone and after 3 minutes I flip them over and at the 10 minute mark I remove the parchment. Works for me, though I could see how it would keep the topping from any possibility of burning. Probably a requisite in a wood fired oven, though.

Now I am really piqued to hear the podcast regarding sourdough. So it wasn't the culture, but my mishandling that gave it the 'cheese' flavor. Glad to hear that. 


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.

skflyfish's picture


Yes they are dried. It does take some warm conditions to accurately re-activate the cultures as the Lactobacillus, as in cheese making, like temps above 85F. 

Hmmm. I thought it was the indigenous yeasts and Lactobacilli in the wheat, or some errant cheese culture that changed my culture. Gosh I make wine too, so between cheese and wine cultures, who knows what a sour dough culture will finally resemble. ;-)

And yes, the first few loaves with the culture were a nice flavor, then all of a sudden it turned 'cheesy'. I wonder if one could put some flour on a sheet tray and bake it at 200F for an hour to kill off any culture in the flour and after it has cooled, feed ones culture.

jacob burton's picture

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

skflyfish's picture

As always, great information. I am really looking forward to your sour dough podcast and videos.


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.

Nina's picture

 Knowing that this podcast would be loaded with information, I've  been waiting for the right time to listen.  Glad that I did, in fact I may go back and jot down some notes.  Thanks for all of the work  that you do Jacob.

@ Elliot, one night years ago, we went to dinner with some friends, and while waiting for a table over the speaker came "Donner party of four......Donner party of four please".  We could have misunderstood, but all four of us heard the same thing which lead to more wine and laughs.  So now you have another Donner story to think about while bulk fermenting, lol.

"People who love to eat are always the best people." -- Julia Child

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,

ChefJate's picture

@ Nesty: If I'm correct, I don't think that the resulting dough will develop gluten like a lean dough. Hence the word 'shortening' (it is meant to shorten the gluten strands).


I just listened to this chef- thanks for answering my question about proofing.

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.

GreenBake's picture

This is more of a general bread question, but salt percentage was mentioned in this episode, I believe...

How does the salt content (baker’s percentage) relate to the salt content (percent of final product by weight)?

If the dough is 2% salt (baker’s percentage), how does this change as the the bread is baked? Obviously it’s still 2% by the baker’s percentage, but does the hydration rate used need to be taken into consideration?

In other words, how much water is lost in baking for different hydration rates and do you need to change the salt content as a result?

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.

terieee's picture

I saw your video regarding fermentation when baking bread. I have been making my own bread for years; however thet last three-four batches have resulted in beautifully raised bread going into the oven and within minutes collapsing. The bread is still good; however after having been so successful for so many years, and having ruled out old yeast, I am wondering if the vital what gluten or dough enhancer which I've been using could be a bad batch (I keep them in the refrigerator). I'm at a loss. We grind our wheat and then I use a Bosch (which after 35 years I replaced with a new one), and have been searching online for possible answers. My recipe calls for mixing it for 8 minutes...maybe with the newer mixer? Any direction would be very helpful.

jacob burton's picture

My first guess is it's because you're grinding your own wheat. By doing this, you're essentially making a 100% whole wheat loaf (unless you're sifting out the bran).

The bran of the loaf has microscopic, sharp edges, that cut and shorten gluten strands. This causes the bread to first rise and look promising, but then collapse under its own weight during baking.

If it's not that, then in the bread is over-proofed.