There have been a number of books published over the last few years on bakery science

The science of bakery products 

William P Edwards Cambridge, UK: RSC Publishing 2007 | 260pp | ?24.95 (HB) ISBN 9780854044863 

Reviewed by Sarab Sahi

There have been a number of books published over the last few years on bakery science. The question is how does The science of bakery products  stand among the recent crop? 

The book starts with the basic science of the key components of bakery products, as well as some concepts relevant to the shelf-life and stability of such foods. This is followed by a comprehensive coverage of raw materials, the functionality of which is crucial to create the appearance, flavour and texture expected by the consumer. Methods to measure properties of flours for specific end use are explained, followed by details of equipment and processing techniques necessary in the manufacture of mass produced products such as bread, biscuit and cakes as well as a whole range of more specialised products. 

While the book was certainly easy reading and informative it lacked balance, with some topics covered in unnecessary detail while other, more important topics get only a brief mention. The inclusion of nutritional information was welcome as the food industry attempts to be as informative as possible for discerning consumers.  

While useful background information was provided about the science and properties of the raw materials, some of the scientific explanations were misunderstood and outdated. It was disappointing to read statements such as ’the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast causes bubbles to form’ - all the bubbles in a dough or batter are in fact incorporated by the mixing process and the action of the yeast helps to inflate these bubbles until the structure is set during baking.  

Against the high standards set by other books in this area, The science of bakery products  was somewhat lacking, but it is worth reading as a ’taster’, before indulging more seriously into the specialised field of cereal science.