What is Hard Lean Dough? Baking

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Frances Bott answered
This type of bread dough doesn't contain many fatty ingredients, so it is much drier and much harder than other conventional bread dough. Hard lean dough is common in traditional German baking - often, it is used to make dinner rolls and other recipes. Generally, hard dry bread dough will not contain a lot of vegetable oil, lard, margarine or butter. The French also use hard, lean dough to craft their wonderful baguettes, which may be eaten plain, or topped with butter, jam, or sandwich fillings. In fact, many gourmet artisan breads are made with this type of dough, since it tends to give a chewy end result that is substantial and very tasty.

  • Sugar and dairy are minimal

In most cases, hard lean dough will contain only scarce (if any) amounts of sugar and milk products. Therefore, the results produced by hard lean dough will not have a sweet taste, due to the absence of glucose, fructose, and lactose sugars.

  • Savory or sweet

For certain types of baking, this non-sugary taste can work well - in general, bread and rolls created with hard lean dough will work well as complements to savory dishes, such as soups and stews; however, hard lean dough may also be used for dessert recipes.

The best bakers will experiment with different types of hard lean dough, and they may add non-fatty, non-dairy ingredients into the dough before baking. Examples of interesting add-ons for artisan breads made with hard lean dough include sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and gourmet olives (such as olives stuffed with garlic, pimento, or basil). For sweeter bread or rolls, bakers may choose to add "forbidden" ingredients to get the right taste effect; chocolate, honey, or fruit syrups may also be drizzled along the surface of baked breads and rolls created with lean hard dough.

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