Yeast dough

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Preparation of yeast dough, here as an example a bread dough as it rises

Yeast dough (in Bavaria and Austria also yeast dough ) is a dough consisting of flour, water and baker's yeast is produced. Depending on the type of pastry, other ingredients (e.g. salt , sugar , milk , fat , eggs or fruit) are used. Also depending on the desired product, there are different types of guides .

Yeast dough is only used in connection with wheat or spelled . To finish, the dough is baked in the oven, deep-fried in hot fat, cooked over steam or in a water bath, depending on the type.

Typical pastries are butter cakes , Berlin pancakes, yeast particles, stutenkerle or weekend mares .

Yeast dough is used for very different baked goods,


Yeast doughs are divided into four groups, whereby they are mainly classified according to the recipe. The dough structure and the type of yeast (baker's yeast / wheat sour) are irrelevant.

  • Simple yeast dough contains water, flour, salt, yeast as a leavening agent and possibly baking agent, such as B. Baking Malt . Depending on the type of dough, sugar or fat - in different proportions - is added. Such yeast doughs are used for white bread, rolls or pizza dough. With its dough structure, shape, presentation and additional ingredients, this basic dough has shaped the European white bread and biscuit culture for generations. These are fresh baked goods that are only suitable for quick consumption. Typical pastries are white bread , rolls , baguette , ciabatta and pizza .
  • Toast bread dough differs from simple yeast dough in that it has a higher fat content. The product is crumbly, juicier and stays fresh longer. However, it lacks the crust (crust) that is typical for rolls or baguettes. Due to the fat content, they can be stored and enjoyed longer and are ideal for roasting. Typical pastries made from such doughs are toast, hamburger buns or hot dog buns.
  • The name yeast dough is based on certain quality regulations in Germany. A yeast dough may only be called fine by bakers if it contains at least 10 parts fat and / or sugar for 90 parts of flour (grain products).
Classification of yeast dough:
light yeast dough medium weight yeast dough heavy yeast doughs
ingredients up to 10% sugar
up to 10% fat
up to 20% sugar
up to 20% fat
up to 20% sugar
over 20% fat
use Strudel, crumble cake,
Danish pastries
Buchteln, brioches, bee sting,
Berlin pancakes
Bundt cake, savarins,
Christmas stollen
  • Mare doughs are fine yeast doughs that contain a high proportion of fat and sugar in different proportions. The fat and sugar make these baked goods crumbly, juicy and very storable. Often milk or milk powder is also added. The range of uses here ranges from simple yeast croissants to Danish pastries and stollen. It is therefore a dough from which diverse and popular pastries are made.

Dough management and method of manufacture

The character of baked goods is not only influenced by the quality of the raw materials used, but also largely determined by the processing methods.

  • The Direct leadership is widely used today. The ingredients are processed into the dough using the all-in process. Powerful kneading machines, malt-containing baking agents and specifically grown baker's yeast shorten the ripening time. Sufficient resting dough is required. Bread rolls, white bread and many pastries made from mare's dough are now produced using this method.
  • The Indirect guide is predominantly in Organic bakeries applied and in the household. This process improves the aroma of the end product and has recently been used more frequently in handicrafts. A pre-dough is made from flour, water and yeast (wheat sour) , which rests so that the yeast can develop well. Less yeast is used than with direct management. For heavy yeast doughs with a lot of fat and sugar, this guidance is necessary to allow the yeast to develop properly. A typical example is the tunnel.
  • Poolish is a special type of yeast precursor. The French "poolish" is used, among other things, to prepare baguettes . This pre-dough is thin (flour and water in a ratio of 1: 1) and contains little yeast or sourdough. It is led for a long time and relatively cool. This achieves a special dough consistency, a coarse-pored crumb and an excellent aroma.
  • Wheat sourdough , also known as "Levain", is mainly used in organic bakeries that are not allowed to add baker's yeast. Sourdough is the original form of dough loosening, in which, in addition to the desired "wild yeast", lactic acid bacteria also occur, which are only partially desired. In small amounts, lactic acid improves aroma, freshness and texture. It also prevents the bread disease of stringing . Lactic acid in high concentrations worsens the baking ability and taste. Wheat sour is often used in conjunction with pre-dough or poolish. The industry offers pure-bred sour wines that also meet the guidelines of organic bakers.
  • Yeast dough made from leftover dough , "Levain de pâte", is an old method of making dough without baker's yeast. The fermented dough is made into a dough the day before and rests overnight. In Italy and France this method is still used today to produce bread.

The “Dampfl” often described in Austrian cookbooks, a mixture of yeast (yeast) in warm liquid, is not used to activate the yeast, but rather represents a fermentation test with which the aim is to check whether the yeast is still capable of blowing.

Yeast dough biscuits stay soft and tender (longer) if, halfway through the baking time, a small amount of hot water is put into the oven, which creates a steam atmosphere during baking.

Processes in the yeast dough

During the kneading process, the gluten that forms the glue swells and becomes tough. This gives the dough the ability to hold gases and rise. The kneading process separates the starch grains sticking together ( adhesion ) and water accumulates in grooves and crevices. This can cause the starch to gelatinize during the baking process. This is accompanied by various enzymatic processes that break down the constituents of the flour. These processes are strongly temperature-dependent and proceed more slowly with the presence of acid. The enzymes come from the flour, but are also secreted by the yeast. Polysaccharides are broken down into single and double sugars ( i.e. monosaccharides and disaccharides ). This means that sugar is produced for the yeast to breathe in cells, so that the yeast can multiply and ferment. At the same time, flavorings and their precursors are formed, which among other things determine the flavor of the product. Usually, yeast uses oxygen ( aerobically ) to break down sugar through cellular respiration to produce energy. But it is also facultatively anaerobic . Sugar substances are converted enzymatically over a long series ( glycolysis - oxidative decarboxylation - citric acid cycle - respiratory chain ).

The decomposition of the flour affects the stability of the product. Malt-containing baking agents are therefore added to accelerate the cooking process and relieve the dough structure.


Yeasts certainly appeared early in human history. Incidentally fermenting fruit or cereal porridge are detected. However, this does not allow the conclusion that foods were specifically refined. The original form of yeast has been made usable in sourdoughs through spontaneous and continuous fermentation. We have to keep in mind that these sourdoughs consisted of a mixture of yeast and lactic acid bacteria .

The Phoenicians brewed beer and there is evidence that they were the first people to use the yeast as planned. In the Ebers Papyrus (1555 v. Chr.) Was first described brewer's yeast. The "sludge or sediment" produced during beer production has been used to alleviate various skin diseases. It is undoubtedly yeast that settles on the bottom after fermentation.

The Egyptians were called bread eaters. Thirty different types of bread have been identified, including a forerunner of today's croissants. They knew the effects of yeast more than 4,000 years ago. However, according to our current quality standards, the bread was not edible, as the Egyptologist and dentist Judith Miller proved in her three years of research. The teeth of the ancient Egyptians from the time of the first dynasties were in very poor condition through the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms up to the Ptolemaic epoch, i.e. over 3000 years. Most of the time, the enamel was almost completely worn off. The cause is the hard grain, which could only be ground by adding sand and produced heavily contaminated bread.

Around 79 AD, Pliny the Elder described the production of sourdough by mixing wheat bran with three-day-old grape must. He was also familiar with methods of spontaneous acidification and the continuation of sourdoughs.

Flour was ground north of the Alps 30,000 years ago, at least in what is now Russia and the Czech Republic. Yeast dough, which the Celts made for making bread (either with yeast from beer production, which the Celts had known since the 3rd millennium BC, or from yeast mixtures such as sourdough), are from 713 BC onwards. Proven. Yeast doughs, which are proven to have exclusively used yeast to loosen the dough and which were made without sourdough, have only been certified in Germany since the 15th and 16th centuries. In the past, top-fermented and later also bottom-fermented yeast, which was produced by brewers and schnapps distillers, was sold to bakeries as a by-product. The first yeast cultivations in Europe are known around 1700, but they were primarily aimed at the needs of brewers and distillers. These cultures primarily produced alcohol and had little driving force, as required in yeast dough. Yeast for the bakeries was not available in sufficient quantity and quality. The breeding of new cultures was driven by new technologies in the breweries from 1877 onwards. Thanks to the development of the cooling machine by Carl von Linde , brewing was possible all year round. The breweries increasingly switched from top-fermented to bottom-fermented beer. The circumstance promoted the cultivation of the yeasts, which are more suitable for loosening the dough. The production processes have also been improved and optimized. Around 1900 brewer's yeast was completely displaced from bakeries by baker's yeast.


  • Hannelore Dittmar-Ilgen: Physics in kneading (baking, yeast dough and bread from the perspective of physics and chemistry) . In: Why do soap bubbles burst? Physics for the curious . Hirzel, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-7776-1149-2 , pp. 161 .

Web links

Wikibooks: Yeast Dough  - Learning and Teaching Materials
Wiktionary: yeast dough  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ IREKS Arkady Institute for Bakery Science (ed.): IREKS ABC of the bakery. 4th edition. Institute for Bakery Science, Kulmbach 1985
  2. Friedrich Holtz a. a .: Textbook of the pastry shop . 5th edition. Trauner, Linz 2009, ISBN 978-3-85499-367-4 , pp. 269 .
  3. ^ Handbook sourdough , editor: Gottfried Spicher, M. Brandt, Biologie, Biochemie, Technologie. 6th edition. Behr's Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-89947-166-0
  4. Belitz, Grosch, Schieberle: Textbook of Food Chemistry , Springer, 2007, ISBN 3-540-73201-2
  5. Mrs. Miller and Pharaoh's Teeth
  6. Already 30,000 years ago humans processed plants into flour
  7. Erwin M. Ruprechtsberger : Beer in antiquity - an overview. Linz archaeological research special issue VIII, Linz 1992
  8. ^ Bread for the saltworks workers (PDF; 2.9 MB) The Celtic bread from Bad Nauheim from an archaeobotanical point of view