A Guide to Types of Dough and What They’re Used For

The type of dough directly affects the look, taste, fluffiness, and other characteristics of baked goods.

5-Minute Crafts will help you learn what types of dough exist and what they are used for.

Traditionally, all types of dough can be split into 2 big groups: leavened and unleavened dough.

Leavened dough

Leavened dough is a fluffy dough that can rise and increase in volume thanks to fermentation and the addition of baking powder. The fermentation in it happens thanks to the use of yeast and usually takes some time. The finished product from this dough is tasty, very soft, and airy.

There are 2 ways to cook leavened dough: with 2 methods — the Sponge & Dough method and the Straight Dough Method.

— When using the straight dough method, all ingredients are mixed in a single session and are brought to a homogenous consistency. Afterward, the dough is left for some time to let it rise and “ripen”.

— Using the sponge and dough method implies the preliminary making of a mixture of flour, water, and yeast, which is left to rise until it increases in size. Later, sugar, salt, oil, and more flour are added to the dough. This method gives the dough a flakier and more airy texture.

The leavened dough is good for baking bread, buns, bases for pizza, doughnuts, pretzels, and beignets.

Unleavened dough

Unleavened dough doesn’t rise when baked but stays flat and thin. Oftentimes, it contains more fat and even more sugar.

  • Pasta dough is normally made of flour, eggs, oil, and salt. It is good for cooking pasta, ravioli, dumplings, etc.
  • Shortbread is a dough made of flour, oil, salt, and water. It has good plasticity and crumbliness. It is used as a base for sweet and savory pies, tarts, biscuits, and other products.
  • Choux pastry is a dough that includes water, flour, butter, and eggs. It has a thick and sticky texture, and it slightly delaminates after baking, forming a crunchy outer shell and a hollow core. Choux dough is used as a base for eclairs and profiteroles.
  • Puff pastry dough is made from flour, salt, and a lot of butter. Thanks to its way of cooking when the dough is turned, rolled, and folded many times, it gets a layered texture. During baking, the water evaporates, the butter melts, and the dough takes on a buttery and crunchy texture. Puff pastry dough is the base for some cakes, desserts, and other pastries.

❗ Puff pastry dough can also be cooked using yeast. For example, this dough is used for baking croissants.

  • Sponge cake dough is a dough cooked from eggs, flour, and sugar, sometimes with baking powder. The dough doesn’t contain any fat. When cooked, egg whites are whipped to a thick foam thanks to which the cake increases in volume and rises when heated. The final product has a light and airy texture. Sponge cakes are often used as the base for desserts such as snack cakes, rolls, cupcakes, etc.
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