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How to Make Bread

By epepke in Culture
Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 04:13:46 PM EST
Tags: Food (all tags)
Food

Bread may be the staff of life, but few spend time making it. This is a shame, as bread is not that hard to make, and a simple hand-made loaf can provide pleasures beyond those of machine-made or store-bought break. This article describes how to make bread using a recipe passed from father to son.


What you will need

  • 2 3/4 cups (about 650 ml) of warm water
  • Some flour (about 8 cups, though it varies). Regular, unbleached white flour works well. Whole wheat flour rises slowly, due to the lack of gluten, but a mix of 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour gives good results.
  • Two packets of dried yeast.
  • Three tablespoons (about 45 ml) of sugar or malt extract
  • A bit less than a tablespoon (about 10 ml) of salt (optional)
  • Shortening--butter, oil, lard, anything that's greasy and edible
  • A big bowl
  • Two bread loaf pans
  • A big horizontal surface--a countertop works well
  • Paper towels
  • A spoon and a knife
  • An oven
  • A rack of some sort, or just the top of the stove
  • Some butter for later

Procedure

Mix the water and sugar and, if desired, salt in the big bowl. Add the yeast. Go post a couple of messages to K5. When you come back, the yeast should have grown to form a stinky scum on the water.

Add flour and stir. At first, it will look like clumps of flour in liquid. Keep stirring and add more flour. Eventually, it will become a sticky, spongy mass.

Dump some flour liberally on your countertop or other horizontal surface. Remove the sticky mass with your hands and plop it onto the flour. Sprinkle flour over the top.

Now comes the part that puts many people off: kneading. For some, this is too much like work. Yet it's a satisfying kind of work. You can imagine it's the face of somebody you don't like. For each step of kneading, push down on the dough with the heels of your hands and spread it out. Then turn it over, sprinkle with flour, and fold it in half. True hackers will recognize that this uses the power of exponentiation; every iteration multiplies the number of layers by two. Twenty times, for about a million layers, is about right. Stop kneading when it stops sticking when you fold it over.

Wash the original bowl. It doesn't matter if it's still a bit wet. Put the kneaded dough into the bowl. Cover it with a damp paper towel. Go off and post some more to K5 while it rises to at least twice the original size. It may take twenty minutes or two hours. Do not continue until it has risen.

When it has risen, punch it down. Yes, use your fists. It should make hissing noises like something from the Sci-Fi channel. Then use your fingers to slap it down, pick it up, and squeeze it. It shouldn't be too sticky at this point, but it it's a little bit sticky, that's OK.

Smear shortening liberally over the inside of the two bread pans. Divide the dough into two and spread each half into one of the bread pans. Cover again with wet paper towels and wait for it to expand again to twice its size.

Smoosh the dough down again, and pinch it so that it has a bit of a crest longitudinal to the pans. Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Put the pans in and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. You can check visually for doneness. If it looks like bread, it is.

Remove the pans and turn the bread out from the loaves. If you grease them enough, you should just have to turn the pans upside-down. If not, use a knife to separate them from the sides and shade the pans until the bread falls out. Put the loaves on the rack or the top of the stove to cool.

What do to with your bread

Even before the loaves have cooled, cut off the heel of one loaf, slather it with butter, and eat it. It ruins the next several slices, but it's worth it.

Then take the second loaf over to your next-door neighbor. Explain that you have just made bread, and you can't eat two loaves, and would you like some? This is a really great way of making friends of your next-door neighbor. Sometimes it works too well, though. Once, when I did this, the lady of the house tried to seduce me later on.

After the bread has cooled, eat it as you might eat ordinary, inferior, not-made-by-you bread. But for a special treat, try it cold with butter and limp bacon. (Trust me on this one, even if you normally like your bacon crisp.) For true nirvana, eat with butter and freshly cut chives.

Variations

The basic bread recipe can be adapted in any number of directions. As is, it makes a pretty good dough for Bavarian Pizza (sliced tomatoes, smoked ham, Emmenthaler cheese, and nothing else). Some people add shortening to the bread dough. Others swear by milk, so try replacing some of the water with milk. Personally, I prefer a low-fat vegan bread, with only vegetable shortening on the pans. You can make long skinny loaves for French bread: dump a couple of cups of water on the loaves when they're hot in the oven.

The following two variations were reverse-engineered and made even better by my father and me from the Neil's Yard bakery in London, England. For both of them, use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour.

Herb Cheese Bread

To the standard recipe, add 1/2 lb (250 g) mild white cheese (e.g. Colby, Farmer's), diced and mixed in during kneading, and perhaps a tablespoon each of basil, oregano, thyme, sage, and marjoram.

Three Seed Bread

To the standard recipe, add a double shotglass (about 3 ounces) each of flax seed, poppy seed, and sesame seed. It's especially good if you toast the seeds first.

Enjoy.

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How to Make Bread | 141 comments (114 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
i love... (2.00 / 4) (#9)
by loomingleaf on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:06:45 AM EST

...making bread! have +1 from me!

"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


Whole Wheat Help (5.00 / 3) (#12)
by On Lawn on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:59:15 AM EST

At our house we make 100% whole wheat bread, and there are some tricks that are needed to keep it from being cakey. There is no way to make 100% whole wheat bread unless you grind it fresh (more on that later).

Also, whole wheat has just as much gluten as white wheat. Bread rises (as I understand it) becuase the gases from the yeast eating the carbohydrates and fill up little bubbles in the dough. When you knead the dough you are building up long strands of gluten protien to help support "the sponge", and keep the gases in. The bran from the whole wheat can sometimes cut those strands, which is what makes it cakey. The bran also weighs down "the sponge" making it a slow/low riser.

So here's what you do. Use dough softeners that add elasticity to the gluten strands. Simple dough softeners include gellatin, vinegar and lecithin. Me, I have some seaweed vitamin B6 pills that have apple cider vinegar, B6, seaweed and lecithin in them (no filler). I grind about 5 tablets up and put it in with the flour. There are a lot of good commercial dough softeners. You can also buy and add extra gluten which does better then white flour for helping out the dough.

Also, the salt isn't really optional, its needed to add to the structure of the bread. You don't need much at all though, but it does make a difference.

At our house we use machines to knead the dough. A good kitchenaid stand up mixer is good, a Kitchen Champ is much better.

Also consider substituting honey for sugar in those recipies. If you use the same measuring cup after you add the oil, there is very little sticky mess to clean up.

Also, if you want really wheaty bread, use red (winter) wheat. It has a really strong wheat taste that tasted good with butter. If you want whole wheat bread for sandwiches, its probably best to use white (spring) wheat. You should always use "hard" wheat (hardness is a measure of the protien in the wheat) when making bread.

Also remember, wheat oil spoils really quickly (about the same time frame as milk) so if you do wind up grinding your wheat for your bread (highly recomended) make sure to store the left over in the refrigerator. We use a Kitchen Mill, which grinds the flour at a remarkably low temperature (195F) that helps preserve the wheat oil a little longer. But its pretty loud.

Bread Rising (none / 0) (#14)
by On Lawn on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 08:06:26 AM EST


Also, nix the smooshing the bread down and just use really active yeast or more yeast. The whole rising process shouldn't take more then an hour or so. The smooshing down of bread was for the days that you made your own yeast mixture, and you had to let it grow in your dough.

Smooshing down the bread with today's yeasts risks having over-risen (by taste) dough. Over risen dough tastes kind of sour.

[ Parent ]

Smooshing down (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by rusty on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 12:42:22 PM EST

I think what the second and third rise tends to do is make for more even distribution of gas pockets, and a more consistent fluffiness to the bread. The first rise will often create great big air bubbles and places with very few bubbles at all. The second rise is a little more even, and the third even more so. It may be different for whole wheat, but for white bread I think three rises is best.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Rising (none / 0) (#29)
by On Lawn on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 01:25:35 PM EST


It very well could be, the heavyness of the wheat dough could hold it down and even it out.

I do know that large moth-eaten like holes in the bread is too much water. Also if its more spongy towards the top and center, and more cakey around the bottom and edges then the dough was too moist with either oil or water.

So Rusty, I never figured you such a home-maker. My repsect for you grows every day.

[ Parent ]

Home maker (5.00 / 3) (#32)
by rusty on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 01:51:14 PM EST

I'm a housewife born forty years too late and the wrong gender. You should see me wash dishes.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
This is true (none / 0) (#50)
by epepke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:00:08 PM EST

In a white bread, insufficient smooshing leads to big gaps in the bread. Also, the bread gets a gummier rather than a spongy texture. It still tastes good, though. My father made this mistake for about a year until he got it right.

I usually find that the third rise just sort of magically happens the first few minutes in the oven anyway, so I don't have a special stage for it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Third rise (none / 0) (#59)
by rusty on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:51:53 PM EST

Yeah, it'll poof right up in the oven, you're right. My "third rise" is usually just the time after I've taken it out of the warm oven and before the oven's hot enough to bake it. That step can be skipped if you're in a hurry. Though, if you're in a hurry you're probably not making bread by hand anyway. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Fermentation (none / 0) (#41)
by KWillets on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 04:54:16 PM EST

This is an enriched bread, so it gets most of its taste from the sugar and milk, etc. added to it rather than the flour or yeast.  The idea that yeast simply serves to inflate the bread is somewhat valid, although longer fermentation allows other good things to happen.

Save some yeast and just heat up the dough to double the fermentation rate; conversely, a long cold (overnight in the fridge) fermentation will allow other enzymatic activities to take place.  It's also a good way to change the schedule if one is too busy to finish the bread at a particular time.

[ Parent ]

How much whole wheat (none / 0) (#16)
by On Lawn on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 08:09:46 AM EST


Also, when using whole wheat you need about 50% more then the recipe calls for with white wheat (because of the bran content).

[ Parent ]
nit pick (none / 0) (#62)
by beukeboom on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:18:32 PM EST

Also, whole wheat has just as much gluten as white wheat.

not true. gluten is only present in the endosperm of the wheat berry. white flour is composed entirely of this endosperm, while whole wheat flour also contains the bran and germ.



[ Parent ]
Its a point of reference (none / 0) (#65)
by On Lawn on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:57:22 PM EST

An excellent point. It depends on if you measure by grain or flour. By grain is the measurement most useful to me since I grind my own wheat (and the one I hear the most used).

Semolina has the highest protein content that I know of, if I remember right, and is used for pasta. You can buy it pre-ground as pasta-flour.(?) I've not made pasta as much as bread so this is a shakey area for me.

Red Hard wheat is next, and white hard wheat after that I believe. These are good for breads. This is sold bread flour or all purpose flour.

Soft wheats (mostly white or spring) have less protien and are good for buiscuits, cakes, brownies and cookies (basically anything leavened with baking soda). This is purchased as cake flour. Unfortunately this is more shakey area for me as soft wheat is not very storable (a shelf life less then three years if I remember right) so I don't fresh grind it to make cake. But I have made cakes from rice flour and although a bit grainy turned out pretty good.

Its always just assumed that the white flour versions of these are more condensed since it doesn't have the germ or bran. That is one reason why its suggested (and I had pointed out elsewhere) that if you substitute fresh ground flour that you use 50% more. The other reason is that fresh ground flour is less packed.

As I understand it the whole wheat flour you buy in the store is just a re-mixing of the flour and bran and they leave out the germ (maybe they don't). The only way to get the wheat oil is fresh grinding.

Also, don't try to make white flour at home. Since white flour removes the oil, bran and germ it loses essentially all the nutrients. As the story is told to me, when white flour was first introduced it lead to an epidemic of malnutrition in the cities. So now when we try to store flour (as opposed to grain) we enrich it with most of the essential vitamins, hence "enriched" flour.

[ Parent ]

I love my bread maker! (4.66 / 3) (#15)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 08:08:48 AM EST

I've made bread from scratch, but nothing beats a bread maker for convenience - I'd never do it otherwise.

Here's my favorite recipe for bread, one I developed myself:

Mr. Ed Bread

,p>> 1 1/2 cups water, 2 1/2 tbs butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup whole wheat or rye flour, 3 cups bread flour, 3 tsp quick yeast (may need extra water)

Add ingredients to bread maker in order listed. Set breadmaker for "dough" cycle and let it run. If the dough seems dry or the breadmaker is struggling, add one or two tablespoons of water.

When finished, arrange the dough on a pizza stone and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise in a warm area for 45 minutes. At the end of this time, remove the cloth and pre-heat the oven to 375. Bake the bread for 30 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it.


--
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him go off the high dive.


How I make bread (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by evilpenguin on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 08:10:47 AM EST

1. Measure ingredients.
2. Pour into bread machine.
3. Push buttons.
4. Do something else for a hour or so.
5. Done!

Seriously, if you find yourself using a loaf a week, you may as well buy a bread machine. Most run about $80 (with each loaf using about $2 of ingredients), so it will pay for itself eventually. Even if it doesn't, it sure tastes a lot better than anything you could buy at the store. Furthermore, the machine does everything -- rises the bread, kneads it, bakes it and does everything short of becoming autonomous.
--
# nohup cat /dev/dsp > /dev/hda & killall -9 getty
Economies of scale (none / 0) (#18)
by twickham on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:05:14 AM EST

$2 a loaf ? Where I am(UK) a good loaf of bread cost around a pound. Hows the machine gonna pay for itself then ?

[ Parent ]
He's crazy. (none / 0) (#20)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:30:10 AM EST

There's no way to spend $2 per loaf unless you buy boxed, pre-measured bread mixes. I think I spend about a quarter per loaf, unless I'm making a nut or fruit bread.


--
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him go off the high dive.


[ Parent ]
You use prepackaged bread kits don't you? (none / 0) (#19)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:09:58 AM EST

That's the only way to explain spending $2 to make one loaf of bread. My ingredients run less than $0.25 per loaf, unless I'm making fruit bread!


--
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him go off the high dive.


[ Parent ]
I was wondering.... (none / 0) (#23)
by ShadowNode on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 11:16:17 AM EST

A loaf of still hot fresh bread cost about a dollar (CND) here...

[ Parent ]
I like German/Russian style sourdough (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by MSBob on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 11:11:34 AM EST

Anyone has a recipe for how to make that? I understand it's quite a bit more complext than the recipe given in the article...
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

Sourdough (none / 0) (#42)
by epepke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 04:59:48 PM EST

Sourdough bread is made with microorganisms in addition to the yeast (specifically, lactobacillus). The starter has to be maintained fairly carefully over months. Your best bet is to get in some discussion groups and find someone who has a good sourdough starter and make a deal to get some.

As for dark breads, there are various recipes floating about, but the procedures and skills involved aren't very different.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Somewhat... (none / 0) (#82)
by AnomymousCoward on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 01:09:59 AM EST

I've seen some recipes for pseudo-starter that work in a few days. They basically are yeast based mixes that aren't authentic starters, but do work quite well.

I remember making some sourdough breadsticks about a year ago, using a starter that took less than a week to create, and it came out "OK", but not great.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]

Um... (none / 0) (#83)
by epepke on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 01:14:26 AM EST

Maybe I wasn't clear, but the reference to months was for the need to keep it alive between the times that you're making bread.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Sourdough starters (none / 0) (#92)
by edsel on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 12:22:42 PM EST

The starters that work well with wheat flour won't necessarily work with rye or spelt. Starter also doesn't travel well, so you'll need to find someone in your area willing to share.

You can also purchase freeze-dried starter. I bought some from this guy several years ago and it's still going strong. Freeze-drying the starter makes it suitable for transport through the mail or commercial carriers. Or at least it did back before the antharax scare....



[ Parent ]
Sourdough and other complex breads (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by sphealey on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:24:33 PM EST

For sourdough and other complex breads, see Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, ISBN: 0394724348 . Goes into more detail then you ever wanted to know about the science and the philosophy of baking bread!

sPh

[ Parent ]

Best White Bread Ever (5.00 / 4) (#25)
by rusty on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 12:38:08 PM EST

I've been making two loaves of this stuff a week since I got the recipe a few months ago, and we eat both loaves in a week. That's how good it is. They also actually last a week without going all dry and stale, which is pretty good longevity.

You need:

  • 2.25 tsp yeast (one packet) in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm water (in addition to the water above)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Crisco or vegetable shortening (not butter, oil, or anything else. Vegetable shortening is far better. Believe me)
  • 1 Tbsp salt (a whole tablespoon, this is also important)
  • 1 cup milk warmed to the temp of the water
  • 5 - 5.5 cups flour
You do:

After the yeast blooms a little bit in the 1/2 cup of water, mix it with the rest of the water, sugar, and milk. If you have a mixer with a bread hook, this is a good time to use it. Otherwise just use a bowl and a sturdy spoon. Add 3 cups of flour and the shortening and salt, and mix well. You should have a thick paste. Give it a good beating, you want to get some little air bubbles started in there for the yeast to blow its gasses into.

Add two more cups of flour and mix. At this point you should have something doughy, but probably sticky. Turn it out onto your floured surface and start kneading, adding flour just until the dough doesn't stick as long as you're working it fairly energetically. When it's just right, you won't need any flour on your kneading board, but the dough won't slide around while you're trying to work it.

Knead for at least 15 minutes. I try to get a good rhythm going and alternate hands, pushing it one way, then pulling back and pushing it the other way with the other hand. There's no "right" way to knead. Figure out what works for you.

When it's thoroughly kneaded, the dough will start to feel kind of silky. It's hard to describe, but the consistency changes. If you pay attention, you should be able to feel the difference. Roll your dough up in a ball, and kind of orbit it around on the counter between your semi-open hands, to tighten the bottom of the ball and give it a good skin. This will help it rise.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with something (I usually use a little plastic wrap, loosely tucked over the dough ball). It needs a pretty warm place to rise, like 80 degrees works best. I often turn the gas on its lowest setting in the oven and leave the oven door halfway open and put the dough in there to rise. If you do this, you should also put a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to give it some humidity.

Let it rise till it doubles in size, about an hour. Take the dough ball out and gently knead it for a minute. Make a new ball, and put it back in the bowl and rise again, for about half an hour.

Repeat your brief kneading one more time, and cut the dough in half. Form loaves and put each half in a buttered loaf pan. Now's when you want to start heating your oven -- set it to 400 degrees. Let the dough rise again in the loaf pans until it's sort of poofing up over the top of the pan. Then, brush the top with melted butter just before you put it in the oven. This will give it a softer and better-colored crust.

Bake for about half an hour at 400 degrees, and you can brush the crust again with melted butter right when it comes out of the oven, if you want.

I've tried a lot of white bread recipes, and this one is my personal favorite by a wide margin.

____
Not the real rusty

How to make bread (1.80 / 5) (#31)
by starsky on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 01:36:59 PM EST

1. Buy breadmaker. 2. ??? 3. Profit!!!

Breaded thoughts (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by wiredog on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 02:07:37 PM EST

If you can find some starter, sourdough is great. Sourdough rye is heavenly. Chancy however, as the wild yeasts aren't as consistent as the modern packaged ones. And the starter can be tough to keep alive. Basically, if you have starter, you're committed to making at least one loaf of bread per week. Don't even think about using a bread machine with it, as the proportions change a bit. Besides, it's less fun.

Kneading dough is one of the great stress relievers.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Amen. (none / 0) (#97)
by sjl on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 05:00:50 PM EST

Here in Australia, we have a commercial brand of bread called Helga's. They make all sorts of bread -- my favourite of theirs would have to be the seed loaf -- including what they call sourdough. Don't be fooled! Anything that's mass produced cannot be true sourdough! A true sourdough loaf comes from wild yeast strains that cannot be machined in the way that commercial, "baker's" yeast is.

But given the choice between eating "regular" bread and sourdough, I'll go for the sourdough every time. If you think fresh bread is bliss, fresh sourdough will send you into sheer ecstasy. It's that good.

[ Parent ]

I can't really tell the difference... (none / 0) (#117)
by synaesthesia on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 08:47:13 AM EST

...between music played off CDs and vinyl. My sound system is relatively cheap and the room has not been designed with its soundscape in mind.

However, there are people that swear that music can only truly be appreciated at its true 'warmth' etc., when it's analog from end to end.

Similarly, I usually eat bread when I'm reasonably hungry, and I usually eat it with something else (like cheese or jam). Often toasted. So do you think I would be able to tell the difference between wild yeast and baker's yeast in sourdough?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Good sourdough link (none / 0) (#111)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:20:01 AM EST

I have just embarked on adventures in sourdough land, so honestly I don't know how accurate this is. But I just found a page that gives a pretty simple step-by-step to making a sourdough starter and keeping it alive, and getting bread out of it. Check it out.

Most interesting to me was the recipe for starter. Mix one cup flour and one cup warm water. Let sit. Feed daily. That's basically it. He also recommends throwing out half the starter at each feeding, which presumably keeps it from getting bigger indefinitely, and frees you from making a batch every week. Well, I've got a nice whole wheat starter sitting on my shelf. We'll see how it goes.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Time is money (2.50 / 2) (#36)
by A Proud American on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 03:42:25 PM EST

And although I guess some custom-made breads can be tailored to one's own taste buds, I don't have the time or money to spend 2 hrs making a loaf of bread.

The breadmaker someone bought me as a birthday present burns everything anyway, so what's the point?  ;-)

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


Time ( sic Money) Saved is Health (sic time) Lost (none / 0) (#37)
by thelizman on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 04:03:05 PM EST

You have no idea how extraordinarily unhealthy most store-bought bread is. Making it yourself gives you control over what goes into the bread. You can weed out all the unhealthy preservatives, fixatives, and fillers. Not to mention, store bought bread is often older than you think.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
When I was in school... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by skyknight on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 05:10:07 PM EST

I rented a house with some friends for a couple of years. In the intervening summer of those two years, I left a loaf of Wonder Bread in the pantry. I came back in the fall to find the same loaf of bread still sitting there, apparently still as fresh as I had left it. I thought this absolutely hilarious as a commentary on the state of processed food. As such, I decided to keep the loaf of bread for the entire next year, as sort of an experiment. When I moved out the following May, it was still soft, supple, and mold free. I will never eat Wonder Bread again. I'm afraid of anything that even hungry microbes won't eat for a year.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Water in the wild (none / 0) (#95)
by Aruspex on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 03:51:51 PM EST

Reminds me of some advice I heard a long time ago about drinking water that you find while hiking or whatnot. If it isn't surrounded by bugs, plants, and/or algae-muck, it's liable to kill you. Just like it did the wildife.

[ Parent ]
Drinking water in the Eastern US (none / 0) (#112)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:24:19 AM EST

The advice I heard was "don't ever drink that." All the water here is (or at least should be assumed to be) full of giardia, which will put a quick end to your fun camping trip. It must be either boiled thoroughly or put through a good filter.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Also in the sierras (none / 0) (#127)
by wiredog on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:36:09 AM EST

and in Utah. Or anywhere else in the US. It's carried by deer, cattle, etc. Giardia is one of those things that won't kill you, but you wish it would. Explosive diarhea and cramps from hell. Or so I've heard.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Iodine tablets... (none / 0) (#132)
by skyknight on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:17:59 PM EST

will also do the trick I believe, and its a lot more convenient. Fill your canteen, just drop a tablet into it, and let it sit for a while, perhaps shaking it up a bit. Of course, nothing is perfect, as at some point you'll be handling the water in an unpure state. I don't know how this method compares in effectiveness to boiling or filtering, but the last time I went on a week long hiking trip in the NE, this is how I treated my water, and I had no problems.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 1) (#133)
by rusty on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:36:09 PM EST

Some people don't like the taste or are slightly disturbed by drinking iodine, but it does work. It's better to have a separate container for treating water (like a bag or something) and only letting your canteen touch clean water. There are also synthetic water treament drops that will kill viruses, which the majority of filters won't catch. I think iodine kills viruses too, so even in filtered water it's not a bad idea if your source is particularly sketchy.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Iodine also came in drops. (none / 0) (#134)
by Quar on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 03:29:48 PM EST

In fact it is one of my first memories from camping. Strange tasting water that had to sit for 15 min first. 2 drops per quart. Not that it mattered, because usually when it was gotten, we still had an hour or two of hiking left. But Rusty is right, its alot safer to have your purification container and then a clean container.

Now that being said, back in '90 I knew of a few places in Western NC that I would have trusted to be clean. They were all spring heads with difficult access above them. Used them for years without worry. Now, with all the human traffic in the past few years, I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole without cleaning it first. But that is from people disturbing the source itself.

If your paranoid, use a hand pump filter like sweetwater or msr and then drop 2 drops of iodine or chlorine, boil before use and you are good to go. Otherwise, find out what is in your area, keeping in mind the past few weeks weather.

[ Parent ]

Try Trader Joes' Bread (none / 0) (#48)
by gjetost on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 05:54:24 PM EST

Especially the three varieties of sourdough wheat. Good stuff. It's not like that all-air bread you get, it's good, heavy, serious bread.

[ Parent ]
Explain to me, Mr. Health (none / 0) (#54)
by A Proud American on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:16:56 PM EST

How 12 grain wheat bread is incredibly unhealthy.

I can just see you zoned out in front of your computer for 15 hours a day while munching on uber-health custom-made bread and drinking 12 Mountain Dew sodas and eating a couple packs of M&Ms ;-)

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


[ Parent ]

What 12 Grain Bread Is That? (none / 0) (#80)
by thelizman on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 12:09:28 AM EST

I'd be glad to, if you could just scan a copy of its ingredient list and send it to me.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Easiest thing for me (none / 0) (#81)
by KnightStalker on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 12:33:59 AM EST

Is to go to the bakery that's a block from where I work, or the bakery that's three blocks from where I live (and right where I get off the bus) and get a loaf of some kind of traditional bread which is about a billion times better than I can make, for $3.50. I am a lucky man. :-)

I tried making bread for a while, but I could never get anything that was distinguishable from a chunk of pine carved into a loaf. I think I was over-kneading it, or something.

[ Parent ]

Unhealthy? (4.00 / 2) (#84)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 01:19:46 AM EST

You have no idea how extraordinarily unhealthy most store-bought bread is.

It's all relative. Unless it has some disease, the most 'unhealthy' store-bought bread is still 100 times healthier than, say, home-cooked french fries.

I reserve the phrase 'extraordinarily unhealthy' for stuff like huffing glue and eating raw chicken.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Bread is not a sponge, thank you (none / 0) (#90)
by whovian on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 09:14:44 AM EST

Also there are those pesky partially hydrogenated oils or shortening everyone seems to throw in.

I would have thought with the surge of bakery and deli departments in every major grocery store that one could get quality, like-homemade bread, but in my neck of the woods they cater to the spongy white bread aficionados who don't pay attention to their glycemic levels.

If it weren't for the one and only one health food store that makes their own whole wheat breads (which are no more expensive than the aforementioned varieties), I would already be making my own bread.

[ Parent ]
Only hedonists really understand (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by knobmaker on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 02:49:09 PM EST

Commercial bread provides calories, in a not-too-terrible-tasting form. So, unless you're a hedonist with fully-functional taste buds, you probably won't understand what so good about home-made bread. It's just a lot better tasting than just about any commercial bread available in American supermarkets.

As an ancient hippy, I was in my mispent youth practically required to bake my own whole-wheat doorstops. But somewhere along the way I fell off the whole-food bandwagon and stopped baking. Then a few years back, my wife gave me a breadmaker for my birthday, and I started making bread in it. It was much better than store bread, and no trouble at all to fill before bedtime to wake up to fresh-baked bread.

But after a few thousand loaves (5 bread-eaters in our family) the breadmaker developed mechanical problems, and I went back to making bread by hand, being addicted by that fresh bread taste. I discovered that handmade bread was quite a bit better than the machine-made stuff, and so I was thoroughly hooked.

It usually takes quite a bit longer than two hours from start to finish, but keep in mind that you're not actually doing anything to the bread during most of that time. Five minutes for mixing, ten minutes for kneading, a minute to form loaves, another minute or two to take them out and put them on the cooling rack, maybe five minutes of clean-up. You'd probably spend that much time going to the store and back.

It's also a fairly relaxing process, once you get it down. I start with a measured quantity of water, yeast, and salt, but everything else is seat-of-the-pants stuff. I might add a couple handfuls of oats or cornmeal to the bread for variety, use molasses instead of sugar or honey, and so on. No need to measure the flour, because you go by texture as you knead. If the kids have been pretty good, I might make one loaf a cinnamon swirl bread, though that guarantees that the bread won't last a day.

Anyway, it's one of the nicest ways of doing something good for friends and family and self. It's cheaper than store bread, healthier, and it turns bread from a mundane food into a sensual treat.

[ Parent ]

Yeast Notes (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by KWillets on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 04:09:24 PM EST

The bread machine industry seems to have given rise to instant yeast, which comes in the form of smaller granules which can be mixed directly with the flour.  The instant stuff is also cheap (where I live), around $3 per pound vs. $7-8 for the active dry type.

Unless you think the yeast is dead for some reason, you don't need to proof it before the mixing stage.  Either mix it with the water just before adding to the flour, or add it directly.  

Salt retards yeast development.  The instruction to mix salt with yeast and water is counterproductive at best.

Salt (none / 0) (#58)
by Spendocrat on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:48:21 PM EST

When should you add it?

[ Parent ]
In the middle (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by rusty on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:58:01 PM EST

You should add salt after you've started to add the flour. Usually you add about half the flour and mix well, then salt, then the rest of the flour. I second the suggestion not to add salt at the same time as water and sugar. Yeast likes sugar and dislikes salt, so anything you can do to insulate the yeast from the salt is good.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Mix with dry ingredients (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by KWillets on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 02:11:01 AM EST

I usually mix flour, salt, and yeast, and then add water.  The dispersion of the ingredients assures that I won't accidently douse the yeast with concentrated brine.

The final concentration of salt in the dough is pretty low (around one percent), but my comment was directed at the proofing process, where one is trying to check that the yeast is active, by combining it with only a fraction of the total water.

[ Parent ]

Instant Yeast notes (none / 0) (#116)
by seb on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 08:32:58 AM EST

I would add that not only is it more convenient, but I get better results with it.

I've tried instant, normal dried, and fresh yeast.  Instant yeast causes the bread to rise more predictably, and the flavour is more subtle.  I find that fresh yeast makes my bread taste too yeasty.

My mother always claimed that you need to add some salt to regulate the yeast.  I certainly never have any problems with a single teaspoon.

[ Parent ]

fantastic crust howto (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by axafluff on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 04:50:01 PM EST

However unpopular the french may be in the U.S. these days, I recommend at least one of their many bread-making tricks be adopted. A mist in the the oven during the first half of baking will make the crust a fantastic deep golden color, crispy but not dry. Of course just baking will do this as well, but try it and you'll see/taste the difference. When I make baguettes I put a cast iron pan on a plate one of the lower rungs and a "metal string shelf" at about oven mid height (the baguette loaves in their baguette semi circular cast form will go on this). Pre-heat the oven to 275 C (548.15 K) about 15-20 minutes before inserting the bread. When I insert the bread, I spray the loaves liberally with water from a flower sprayer as well as sprinkle about 1 dl of water in the iron pan. Steam results. Close door. Open every two minutes for 4 times and repeat spraying. After 12 minutes turn down heat to 200 C. Spray if feel like more, but avoid for the last 10-15 minutes of the total 30-40 min baking time.

Of course, you can get one of those nice steam generating ovens instead.

Temperatures (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by tricknology2002 on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 08:59:16 PM EST

Pre-heat the oven to 275 C (548.15 K)
Maybe it's just me, but I've never heard of an oven on the Kelvin scale.

[ Parent ]
Kelvin (none / 0) (#89)
by axafluff on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 05:07:00 AM EST

I was going to write degrees Fahrenheit, but then I didn't remember the formula right away, was it + or - 32, times before or after multiplication or division by 5/9. After 0.5 s of deliberation I didn't feel the effort was justified. I also thought that with most people here having a natural sciences background, including native fahrenheitists, the slipping in of a K wouldn't trouble anyone.

[ Parent ]
Formula (none / 0) (#96)
by sjl on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 04:56:51 PM EST

Degrees celcius, times 9/5, plus 32. So 275 degrees Celcius is 527 Fahrenheit. Eerily close to the temperature in Kelvin.

[ Parent ]
my oven fires up 987 degrees Rankine, fear that/nt (none / 0) (#100)
by axafluff on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 06:20:45 PM EST



[ Parent ]
What I do (none / 0) (#87)
by KWillets on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 02:54:39 AM EST

I also picked up this technique from various sources; it's one of two major improvements one can make on an ordinary oven, the other being to use a baking stone or tiles.

Place a heavy cast-iron pan on the floor of the oven.  While pre-heating the oven (usually to max temperature for lean breads, I don't do this for enriched ones) boil 1-2 cups of water in a saucepan.

When the loaves are ready, open the oven and place them on the baking surface (I use tiles in the upper third of the oven).  Slide them in, and take the saucepan and throw a half cup to a cup of boiling water into the pan on the bottom of the oven.  Usually a third or more of the water will splash out onto the oven floor and vaporize, as will a large proportion of the water in the pan.  Close the door.  Do this every 30 seconds or so for a total of three or four times, then turn down the thermostat to whatever temperature the bread needs.

Do not splash water on anything made of glass, like the oven door window, or the light.  Hot steam in the face can also be dangerous.

Steam really helps to heat the dough, as the vapor condenses on the cold dough and transmits much more heat than dry air.  I'm thinking of adding some more thermal mass to my system, possibly with some gravel in the pan, similar to sauna rocks.  Right now, after a few cycles, the oven cools down and the water takes longer to evaporate.

[ Parent ]

Some responses (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by epepke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 05:09:55 PM EST

Alas, I wrote this late last night and then became very sleepy, so I was unable to fix any of the typos.

WRT whole wheat and gluten. Yes, whole wheat has just as much gluten per grain, but it has slightly less per unit of flour. But it is true that the presence of the bran does cut the gluten. So does shortening (it would be nice to say that's why it's called shortening, but it's been called that for longer than people have known about gluten.) You can also sometimes find gluten for sale in yuppie granola-head stores, and a little of this works wonders.

WRT bread machines. Yes, they're convenient, but I find the hand-made variety is better. For one thing, the bread machines don't get the crust as thick and chewy as I normally like. For another, the only thing you can easily vary on a bread machine is the recipe. Making it by hand, you can roll out the dough long and skinny and bake on a cookie sheet with sprinkled Cream of Wheat to make excellent breadsticks. You can cut the top of the loaves and sprinkle with seeds or oats. Besides, it's kind of fun to do something by hand sometimes.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Bread machines are great for dough (none / 0) (#119)
by dachshund on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 11:34:38 AM EST

I've found the bread machine to be an excellent solution for mixing, kneading and even leavening of the dough. In fact, a number of professional baking stores (King Arthur Flour, for instance) use machines for that purpose.

Most bread machines have a "dough-only" setting. On the off chance that yours doesn't, just wait until it's done with everything you want done and yank the plug.

You can then roll the bread and bake it in the traditional way, and it saves you a lot of time, effort and mess (unless you enjoy the time, effort and mess :)

[ Parent ]

Yeast. (5.00 / 3) (#47)
by Dr Caleb on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 05:33:54 PM EST

The temperature of the water is very important in mixing the yeast. If it is too hot - the yeast will die (it is a living fungus remeber!)

As well, for Pizza dough, get real yeast. Not the little packets of dried yeast. Go to a baker and they'll sell you a few hundred grams of real, live yeast. It's a dull blueish/greyish lump that smells like a $5 whore when the fleet's in.

The temperature of the water is extremely important when adding this yeast. Use a thermometer, start with boiling water, add cool water until it's the right temperature then crumble the yeast into the mix. Ask the baker what temperature water he uses - usually 107F or 40-41C.

For Pizza dough, don't use as much water (1 1/2 to 2 cups) and add 2 - 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil from really ugly sheep to the mix. It can be stored for up to a week, wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Cut a chunk off, roll it out and let it rise for an hour before adding toppings. Mmmmmm!


Baroque: [Bar-oak] (adj.) (s.) ; What you are when you have no Monet.

There is no K5 cabal.

"tried to seduce you" (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by auraslip on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 05:58:41 PM EST

well you "tried" to slip her the loaf.
124
Bada bing, bada boom! [n/t] (none / 0) (#51)
by epepke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:01:04 PM EST


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Does anyone have a recipe (4.00 / 3) (#53)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:14:52 PM EST

For Sourdough Freedom Bread?

Flour, water, yeast, salt (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by KWillets on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:39:42 PM EST

This is a reasonable recipe for enriched white bread, but I have to confess I'm more interested in lean, "pure" breads that get their flavor from careful preparation.

Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice is a great book for anyone who wants to learn how to make artisan-quality bread at home. I've been spending some of my free time on learning the classic baguettes, as well as ordinary white and wheat sandwich breads, pizza, and so on. He spends a lot of time explaining the basics, which most "easy" bread recipes omit.

If you want to make ordinary bread quickly, buy a bread machine, but I've found I'm more interested in doing it right, as long as I'm taking the time. A lot of the recipes aren't that time-intensive, they just require long periods of fermentation while one does other things.

Landsbrød (3.50 / 2) (#57)
by imrdkl on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 06:40:04 PM EST

I like Norwegian Lands Bread real well, I don't even miss Wonder and Roman Meal anymore. :)

The The Best of Bread page seems to have lots of interesting recipes.

How to make birkebeinerbrød? (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by DaChesserCat on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:57:26 PM EST

Anyone know of a recipe for birkebinerbrød? I had some of that stuff, many years ago, when I was living in Norway. If you let it dry out, it was like chewing on an old piece of tree bark, but fresh (especially when still warm from the oven), it was wonderful. It was multi-grain, with varying degrees of coarseness.

I don't consider "Wonder" to be bread; it's just filler for people who don't know REAL bread. Birkebeiner bread with Norvegia (kinda like Gouda) cheese made some killer grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Trains stop at train stations Busses stop at bus stations A windows workstation . . .
[ Parent ]
My guess about the dryness (none / 0) (#135)
by imrdkl on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 03:31:03 PM EST

Bread made with non-dried yeast doesn't last as long. The fresh yeast seems to be what everyone uses over here. As you point out, after a couple of days wrapped in plastic, the bread loses much of its appeal. The loaves are sold wrapped in paper at the grocery store, but the plastic bag is necessary after they've been cut.

I'll ask a friend about the bread you mentioned and post back here if anything turns up. There also may be other (possibly native) Nordmenn who read this and have a recipe, although most of the proper Norwegian recipes call for ingredients which may not have an American substitute, and not just the yeast.

[ Parent ]

mmmm bread (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by raaymoose on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:03:40 PM EST

There are about as many bread recipes out there as there are people in the world, the one presented here is quite a bit different than the one I use, however the basic elements are the same.

One tip that people might enjoy is to use potato water to make your crusts crispier.  Save the water you boil potatoes in and use that instead of regular plain water.  Must be the extra starch or something, but it works wonderfully.

Great idea! (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by epepke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:55:59 PM EST

Potato water, that is. I'll have to try it. I wonder if potato starch, added, would have a similar effect. Potato starch is interesting because the molecule is very linear; there aren't a lot of branches like wheat and barley starch. Bean starch has even more branches, which is part of the cause the common intestinal experience with beans.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Three more bread recipes... (5.00 / 4) (#63)
by aziegler on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 07:40:28 PM EST

Great recipes, all. Easy, too. Use an unflavoured oil instead of butter if you prefer.

Beer Batter Bread

This bread is surprisingly simple and amazingly good. Vary the beer you use for different flavours. Guinness Bread is dark, hearty, and very flavourful. A simple dessert treat can be found with Strongbow hard cider (see below for two more complex, but more satisfying, apple breads).

  1. cups all-purpose flour
  2. tablespoon baking powder
  3. tablespoons sugar
  4. teaspoon salt
  5. can or bottle beer (12 - 16 oz, 350 - 500 mL)
  6. /4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  7. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Add all the beer at once; mix as little as possible. The batter should be lumpy (but there should be no dry ingredients).
  9. Pour batter into 9x5x3 loaf pan and brush with the melted butter.
  10. Bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Apple Pecan Quick Bread
  1. 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. /4 cups sugar
  3. tablespoon baking powder
  4. /2 teaspoon salt
  5. /3 cup orange juice
  6. /3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  7. large eggs, lightly beaten
  8. 1/2 cups apples, coarsely chopped
  9. /2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  10. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
  11. Sift together the dry incredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
  12. Stir in the liquid ingredients until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  13. Gently stir in the apples and pecans.
  14. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake.
Strongbow Apple Pecan Bread
  1. cups flour
  2. tablespoon baking powder
  3. tablespoons sugar
  4. tablespoon cinnamon sugar
  5. teaspoon salt
  6. mL Strongbow hard cider (1 can)
  7. medium apple, cored and diced
  8. /2 cup chopped pecans
  9. /4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  10. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  11. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  12. Add all the beer at once, followed immediately by the diced apple and chopped pecans. Mix as little as possible. The batter should be lumpy with no dry ingredients showing.
  13. Pour batter into 9x5x3 loaf pan and brush with the melted butter.
  14. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Enjoy them. The last one is completely my invention.

-austin

NICE! (none / 0) (#141)
by Voronich on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:42:10 PM EST

I made the first one of these yesterday (4/28) and the result was delightful.

The butter I changed a bit though. "brush" with 1/4 cup of melted butter can't possibly be what you meant. (Ok, I suppose it could.) So I used 1/4 stick instead.

Also I found that it really had to have a full hour in the oven. 75 minutes probably would've been better. It just wasn't cooking through very fast.

Oh, and the beer I used was a 12oz bottle of dark st. pauli girl.

In the end I could (well, still can. I have some left) taste the beer fairly strongly. But even though I think beer is really just the nastiest thing on this earth, it tastes rather good.

I will definitely be experimenting with this. Thanks for posting it.

I posted my modifications over on my blog



[ Parent ]
Very nice! (4.40 / 5) (#66)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 08:09:05 PM EST

This is a brillant allegory for the present situation with Iraq. I couldn't have said it better myself.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Let us not forget... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by mstefan on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 09:37:03 PM EST

Given that it's almost St. Pats, soda bread is also delicious and quite different from traditional yeast breads. The problem in the States is getting your hands on unpasteurized, whole sour milk (which is the best way to go, based on experience from my grandmother). Buttermilk is an inferior substitute, but any port in a storm, I suppose. There's tons of recipies for soda bread out there, and a quick google search will find something that appeals to you. The varieties that use treacle (molasses) are very tasty.

If you're going to make soda bread, it's important to keep one thing in mind, regardless of the recipie that you're using: this isn't yeast bread, so don't treat it like yeast bread. It's not some slow process where you have a bunch of little buggers that need time to digest sugar and make carbon dioxide gas to bloat up your bread; it's a chemical reaction that happens right at the time that you mix it. The faster you get that soda bread in the oven, the better it will taste. No letting it "rest"; that's for the bugger breads. And it's easy to know if your bread is done -- just bang it on the bottom -- if it sounds like a hollow thud, then you're good to start eating.



I just made some bread. (3.00 / 3) (#69)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 09:37:46 PM EST

  1. Poured water, oil, salt, sugar, flour, and yeast into pan.
  2. Set bread machine timer for 10:30 AM tomorrow morning.
Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
That's a one-oh (none / 0) (#75)
by tzanger on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:23:16 PM EST

I was going to give you a 2, but then I saw your pathetic .sig.

[ Parent ]
You are just jealous (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:24:54 PM EST

Looks like someone doesn't have a bread machine! Neener Neener!

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Actually I had one (none / 0) (#77)
by tzanger on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:27:18 PM EST

Worked well but as the article writer, I was able to do more (experiment with the bread varieties) by giving the machine to my mom and kneading by hand.

[ Parent ]
If you are making pizza dough (3.50 / 2) (#70)
by scatbubba on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 09:45:52 PM EST

a teaspoon of garlic powder and a teaspoon of oregano in the crust is the best thing you can do.

Naan? (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by BSDyke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 09:47:28 PM EST

Anyone have a recipe for naan bread?

--
Is he a dot, or is he a speck?
When he's underwater does he get wet?

google does! (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by fuzzrock on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:11:32 PM EST

http://www.breadrecipe.com/AZ/IndianNaanII.asp

Having made Naan, this appears to be a decent recipe. But I haven't used this particular recipe, so YMMV.

[ Parent ]

Ask K5 (4.00 / 2) (#78)
by BSDyke on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:58:08 PM EST

Why if its easy to find on Google, its the perfect question to submit to Ask Slashdot! Excuse me while I go mail Taco...

--
Is he a dot, or is he a speck?
When he's underwater does he get wet?

[ Parent ]

Naan recipes (5.00 / 3) (#79)
by crumbs on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 12:02:33 AM EST

Here's 10 more Naan recipes.

[ Parent ]
what I don't understand is (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by alexei on Sat Mar 15, 2003 at 10:17:32 PM EST

Why are American breads so sweet? Does the bread have to be doused in honey to be considered worthy of putting on the market? If I'm going to have a snack involving bread, I'd rather my bread either be French (or Freedom) Bread or plain white bread for some toast.

I think a movement should be started: Sugar-free toast, not sugar-free gum!

Amish Cinnamon Bread (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by A Proud American on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 02:29:48 AM EST

Amish Cinnamon Bread
by Ginger Mckenney           

Makes 3 loaves

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready in: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

This bread can be frozen and is very easy to make.

Ingredients           

  1. cup  Amish Friendship Bread Starter
  2. cup vegetable oil
  3. cup white sugar
  4. eggs
  5. teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. teaspoons baking soda
  7. teaspoon baking powder
  8. (3 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  9. cups all-purpose flour
  10. teaspoons ground cinnamon
  11. cup chopped pecans
  12. cup peeled, cored and chopped apple
  13. cup raisins
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease three 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. Place the starter in a bowl, stir in the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, instant pudding, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the starter mixture and beat by hand. Add the pecans, raisins and apples and mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour.


____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


Shortening (none / 0) (#88)
by kjb on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 03:35:17 AM EST

For the Shortening, something like "Pam" spray works as something you can grease the bread pans with.

Also, anyone who tries to claim that a bread machine approaches something as good as your instructions is talking out of their ass.

--
Now watch this drive.

Buy a kitchen scale (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by fajoli on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 11:42:30 AM EST

I found that buying a kitchen scale can vastly improve bread consistency and quality.  Before the scale all my loaves of bread were the equivalent of a hockey puck.  My wife would eat it out of pity.  Some of it is still in the freezer waiting for the next bread shortage.

Measuring flour by cups makes a recipe prone to overpacking of the flour or requires time sifting to get it to the right density.

Measure by weight and everything goes much quicker and much more consistent.

Just my two cents.

3 1/3 cups = 1 lb
1 cup flour = 4.8 oz

(sorry don't have the metric conversions)

I never measure flour (none / 0) (#105)
by epepke on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 09:52:48 PM EST

Which is why I wasn't specific in this recipe. For a given amount of water, there's an amount of flour that's just right. Since I add the flour gradually, I just keep adding until there's enough and then stop.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Hard Rolls recipe? (none / 0) (#94)
by nneul on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 03:41:51 PM EST

Anyone have a recipe for hard rolls?

I'm talking the kind you can get in any deli in the northeast (ny/nj/ct area).

Out here in the midwest there aren't any places to get rolls like this. They have Kaiser rolls, but they aren't anything like a good hard roll.

The recipe's about the same (none / 0) (#104)
by epepke on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 08:56:40 PM EST

Except: roll them into balls the size of a golf ball and put on a baking sheet, either greased or sprinkled with Cream of Wheat (whichever you prefer). When they have doubled in size, optionally paint butter on them and bake. Definitely use the French Bread trick, described in detail elsewhere, to keep them wet while baking.

Hard rolls are really good made with half rye flour. If you like, you can mix in finely chopped onions and/or caraway seeds.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Bulkie (none / 0) (#107)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 11:04:56 PM EST

Here's a useless piece of info, up here in Massachusetts I am told they are called bulkie rolls. As a native New Yorker I think this is ridiculous, but just fyi. There is also the fudgicle/fudgesicle debate and of course the whole hero/grinder/sub/hoagie thing.

Well now I gave myself an idea.. I think I'm going to try my hand at some grinder, I mean, hero bread. Make some chicken parm heros totally from scratch, yeahhhh..

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

some science (5.00 / 3) (#99)
by squidinkcalligraphy on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 05:41:53 PM EST

Baking is somewhat more scientific than your average cooking (tho there is still a good dose of art in there). So here is some science.

Bread has that particular `bready' (chewy) texture as a result of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in most grains, and can form into long strands given the right conditions. Kneading the bread helps to create these long strands; the slow expansion of the bread by the yeast helps this as well. This is why quick rising breads (using soda as a leavener) are more cakey; there is less gluten development. Also, too much kneading (almost impossible by hand, but if ur using a dough hook on a machine this can be a problem), or doing to too rough, can tear the gluten strands once they have developed, and be counter-productive. As can letting the dough rise too much; it should never get much beyond twice its original size (though some specialty breads can rise more than this)

The kneading should stop once the dough feels like your earlobe. Unfortunately, this often means my right earlobe gets covered in dough by the time I've finished kneading.

Whole-grain flour (as mentioned elsewhere) contains bran (the outer husk of the grain), which is sharp, and can cut gluten strands, resulting in cakier bread.

Bread flour contains more gluten than your normal all-purpose flour, and is strongly recommended for making bread. It does really make a difference. Alternately, you could add some gluten (often sold in health food stores) to normal flour to approximate bread flour. But it is worth finding a good source of bread flour.

What goes into bread (and other baked goodies):

  1. flour - already described; see above. rye flour(or half wheat half rye) can also be good; some people allergic to wheat gluten are fine with rye gluten.
  2. water - the source of all life.
  3. leavener - in bread, usually yeast. Yeast needs certain conditions to grow in; these conditions have to be met, or no leavening. The first two `risings' of the yeast are for gluten development more than rising; the final one (as it goes in the oven) actually creates the gas bubbles that give the bread fluffiness. Chemical leavening (baking powder) rise a lot quicker, you get no gluten development. Yeast needs: water, food, and the right temperature. food = sugar, temperature = about 37C.
  4. sugar - needed by the yeast to grow. Also for flavour. Honey, golden syrup, or molasses can be used instead.
  5. fat - for texture. Fat inhibits gluten development, as the strands start to slip against one another and don't form as much structure. Some compromise has to be reached, and differs for different sorts of bread.
  6. salt - mainly for flavour, but a little bit is needed to help the yeast and structure of the bread. Too much will kill/inhibit the yeast. use sparingly.
A good tip for the `rising' stages: lightly grease a bowl using liquid vegetable oil, drop the dough into that, push it down a swash it around for a second, then pick up the dough and turn it upside down; this covers the entire dough with a little oil; the bottom won't stick to the bowl, and the top won't dry out. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise.

An identity card is better that no identity at all
Sugar not needed (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by KWillets on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 06:31:11 PM EST

Bread flour (except for the "organic" kind) contains enzymes which break down starch into simple sugars like maltose and glucose.  Usually these enzymes are supplied by barley malt flour, similar to the malt used in brewing.  Malt is simply sprouted grain, where the germinating seed releases amylase to break down stored starch into usable sugars.  Grinding releases the enzymes from the sprout, and allows them to work on the bulk of the starch in the malt, and in whatever flour the malt is mixed with.

In bread dough, amylase (aka diastase, I'm still learning the difference) breaks down wheat starch into sugars which feed the yeast.  The sugar that the yeast doesn't eat remains as flavor, and gives the crust a deep golden brown color.

Organic bread flour is somewhat of an enigma, as it omits the barley malt, which is about as organic an ingredient as one can get.  I baked several batches of whitish, starchy bread before I understood the difference, and I now possess a bottle of organic malt extract which seems to make up for the lack.

Whole wheat flour also seems to omit the malt, with similar results.  I put a teaspoon of malt into a batch of whole wheat bread, and the taste seemed to improve a good deal.  However I haven't tested enough to be certain.

[ Parent ]

first time baker (none / 0) (#102)
by relief on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 07:58:26 PM EST

This is my first time baking bread, thanks to this article, and I think it's going pretty well. I got a brush and some egg yold and painted the top of the bread before putting it in for the crust. It's making it look shiny and crispy. I haven't tasted them yet, another 10 minutes to go.

----------------------------
If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.
whoa. tastes great, oink oink. [nt] (none / 0) (#103)
by relief on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 08:43:17 PM EST



----------------------------
If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.
[ Parent ]
How not to bake bread - in a microwave. (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by MonkeyMan on Sun Mar 16, 2003 at 11:10:21 PM EST

I tried baking bread in a microwave years ago in college during a food service workers strike. You wind up with a white loaflett with no crust, a soft texture, and the internal structure of a sea sponge. People were not impressed but it did get eaten.

Years later, I experienced injera at an Ethiopian restaurant and was amazed how much it resembled my microwave creation. (I don't know if I had true injera made with t'ef flour or one of the yeasted or un-yeasted approximations they foist off on outsiders.)

So, microwaved bread might be socially acceptable if you had some highly spiced goat stew to put on top. Also, microwaved bread is similar to those Chinese steamed buns you can get with the barbequed pork inside. So who knows.

Injera (none / 0) (#118)
by dachshund on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 11:24:24 AM EST

(I don't know if I had true injera made with t'ef flour or one of the yeasted or un-yeasted approximations they foist off on outsiders.)

I've had both kinds, and the t'ef is unmistakable. The best description I can give is that it tastes like sourdough bread. Same principles apply, I think-- fermentation-induced leavening.

By the way, I don't recommend making injera at home unless you're willing to work at it. I've tried it (without t'ef), and it never came out as thin as the stuff in an Ethiopian restaurant. Though perhaps with a large-surfaced griddle and lots of practice you could do it...

[ Parent ]

Mixing... (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by sparky on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 02:52:54 AM EST

Ok, I've always wanted to find this out, since it's mighty annoying to me: When mixing the water, yeast, flour, how do you get all the flour incorporated into the dough? I always get some patches of flour caked onto the sides of my bowl.

Homemade pita bread is good stuff.

Happy baking!


Bene qui latuit, bene vixit.
Mostly, don't worry about it (none / 0) (#110)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:12:55 AM EST

I usually stop while the mix is still more like a liquid than a solid and scrape the bowl a few times to get the stuff the mixer paddle won't reach into the mix. When you're at the point of having something that's more like dough, though, don't try to force flour into it if it doesn't want the flour. Just shoot for the right consistency and let excess flour stay wherever it wants to stay.

For a good bowl-scraping tool, I use a wooden-handled rubbery spatula thingy (technically it's called a scraper, but hey).

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Cold-fermented french bread (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:32:10 AM EST

I didn't have much yeast left yesterday, so I couldn't make my normal bread batch. Trolling around for something new to try, I stumbled on cold-fermented "Pain a l'Ancienne" and thought I'd give it a try. I cut the recipe in half because that was all the yeast I had.

Basically, it's classic french bread -- flour, yeast, water, salt -- but made with ice water and immediately put into the fridge. It's also a little wetter than your average dough. You leave it in the fridge overnight, which lets it slowly ferment and form some sugars and flavor out of the yeast. Then you take it out, let it warm and rise slowly, and then steam-bake it like any french bread.

Mine didn't rise as much as I'd like, but it wasn't too dense. Also, my oven doesn't really get hot enough (should be at least 500-550, mine was more like 425) so the crust was a little too thick and hard. But all in all, it tasted very good. Much better than past attempts at french bread, anyway. Next time I'll leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours (it was only there for about 12), and try to figure out some way of getting my damn oven hotter. But all in all, not too difficult, and a nice taste and texture.

____
Not the real rusty

Try some tiles (none / 0) (#114)
by KWillets on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:56:05 AM EST

You want to deliver as much heat as possible to the dough in a short time.  I use cheap ceramic tiles; glazed are OK as long as no lead is used (lead-glazed tile is illegal in the US).  Put them on a rack near the top of the oven to get the highest temp.  Use steam (and a pan full of rocks) as much as possible too, to heat them quickly.

At 425 you could use baking parchment to slide the loaves onto the tile; I just pick them up and plop them onto the surface with two hands.  The heat stored in the tile gives them a good spring to start.

I've noticed that recipe goes bad pretty quickly due to the hydration.  The crust goes soft shortly after baking, and the wet crumb isn't that pleasant the next day.  Good right out of the oven, though.

[ Parent ]

Good news (none / 0) (#115)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 04:12:28 AM EST

On the oven front: I tried some modifications tonight and got it up to a solid 500. I already had a pizza stone in there, and I added some foil over the big huge vent hole in the back (with little holes punched in it to allow some venting) and some more foil lining on the bottom (to reflect more heat into the oven space). This made a huge difference.

Have you got any better Fench bread recipes? You're right about how good it is right out of the oven -- I ate one loaf immediately, practically before I had realized it. :-) I only made half the batch, so if it doesn't last, I won't have a  lot left over to dry out for stuffing, anyway.

I'm still searching for that truly authentic baguette. Someday...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Another idea (none / 0) (#120)
by KWillets on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 12:14:27 PM EST

If you already have the stone (I'm cheap and went for tiles) try broiling it before baking. I was thinking of trying that, especially for pizza. If your oven doesn't have an overhead broiler, don't bother, but heating the stone is a good idea.

The other baguette I'd recommend is a poolish baguette, made with a wet pre-ferment. Reinhart has a good recipe in his books, or search a bit online (Here's one decent-looking version). It's a bit more work than Pain a L'Ancienne, but about the same as a standard bread, with a few minutes' work the day before. Reinhart's version uses some whole wheat (about 2 tbsp) to emulate clear flour, which gives some slight bran flavor to the bread.

[ Parent ]

Baguettes (none / 0) (#121)
by Anonymous Hiro on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:58:37 PM EST

I thought you need a special oven that sprays water on the loaves some time during the baking process to make these?

[ Parent ]
Not necessarily (none / 0) (#124)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 09:39:41 PM EST

Most baguette recipes do call for spraying water into the oven while baking to create steam. I don't think you're supposed to spray water on the bread itself though. Perhaps I should have said "within the necessary confines of home baking, the closest it is possible to get to a French baguette."

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
D'oh! (none / 0) (#125)
by rusty on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 09:40:08 PM EST

Of course, I meant to say "loaf of Freedom Bread," there. Sorry.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Steam (none / 0) (#128)
by wiredog on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:39:44 AM EST

Have some bricks/tiles/rocks on a lower rack in the oven. Every once in a while, during the bake, open the door and toss a cup of water on them. Nice'n'steamy.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Cast iron pan (none / 0) (#129)
by rusty on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:47:23 AM EST

What I did last time was put a cast iron pan on the top rack (the bread was on the bottom, on a pizza stone) with some boiling water in it. It worked ok, and would have worked better with a hotter oven. I also gave the walls a spritz a couple of times, but I'm afraid that actually did more harm than good by cooling down my already too-cool oven.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
hmmmm ... comment (none / 0) (#126)
by jann on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 02:24:02 AM EST

Wayne Gisslen, Professional Baking. Third Ed. EVERYTHING there is to know about baking. also ... Wayne Gisslen, Professional Cooking. Fifth Ed. Everything there is to know about cooking. About $45 US each Avail on Amazon last time I checked. Only for the seriously serious J

Sourdough Modifications, and some others (none / 0) (#131)
by haplopeart on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:05:02 PM EST

If you want to make SourDough Bread as opposed to plain old white bread do the following,

The reciepe is the same as stated above except:

3 Days before hand(yes it really takes 3 days, and a week would be even better),
Mix

  1. Cup of Water,
  2. Cup of flour(I usually use 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 wheat)
  3. /2 Teaspoon Spoon Yeast
Mix until smooth
Cover bowl with Cheese Cloth or similar breathable
material(plastic wrap with 10-20 small holes will do in a pinch but might require longer sitting times)
Set in a warm place (at least 70F consistently)
Stir gently once a day till bread making day
Water will form on the top this is ok, as long as it is incorporated back in during stiring
The sourdough should expand quite a bit.
On bread making day start as normal, but when you begin adding flour add 1 cup of the sourdough mixture.
Proceed as normal.

What to do with the rest of the sourdough mixture?
Add a cup of flour to the mixture to build it back up, add water to retain smooth texture, allow to grow overnight then jar and refrigerate.
If you wish give some away to someone else who bakes bread...Great house warming gift!
Allow to warm to room temp before using.  

Additions: Any flour will do for the starter many people use rye or oat for flavor.
(My Sourdough starter at one point was composed of 18 different starters I had been given, what a flavor from all those different grains.)
I also like to take the left overs from bread creation and toss those back in the starter.  

Precautions: Sourdough starter is a living thing it needs to be feed and cared for from time to time...

  1.  If the mixture changes color(esp. RED) dump it has become infected with bacteria
  2.  Sourdough should smell faintly sour, similar to sour cream or milk that is a day or so past...
  3. Once a month if you don't use the starter it needs to be refreshed, take it out of the frige, remove a cup of the starter, replace it with fresh flour, and every 3 months a teaspoon of sugar. Add water when needed.  Allow to sit over night, then reseal and refrigerate.
Finally:
Beer can give bread an excellent flavor, use flat warm beer to replace the water content if desired, the darker the deer the richer the flavor...

Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
Administrator Epithna.com
http://www.epithna.com

How do those instructions go again? (none / 0) (#136)
by Arthur Dent on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 05:36:32 PM EST

Quote:
Beer can give bread an excellent flavor, use flat warm beer to replace the water content if desired, the darker the deer the richer the flavor...

Hic!

[ Parent ]

all bread machines are good for (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by signal15 on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 12:13:23 AM EST

Some people have made comments that bread machine bread sucks, and it does compared to "real" bread. However, it's still better than store bought stuff. I use my bread machine, but not for baking, only for the mixing, kneading, and rising portions of the process. It saves a ton of work, and you just toss the dough into a regular bread pan when it's ready. Turns out just as good as doing it by hand. I used to do it all by hand, but my kitchen in my new place sucks and I don't enjoy being in there very much. Once I get it replaced, I'm sure I'll go back to doing it by hand, but until then, having the machine do everything but the actual baking works well.

steingarten (none / 0) (#138)
by chu on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 02:38:42 PM EST

Jeffrey Steingarten is very entertaining on bread (and in general) - highly recommended read for k5rs.

I bake baguettes (none / 0) (#139)
by tigrine on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 10:36:51 AM EST

using a slightly modified version of the "Mixed-starter Bread" in Baking with Julia. All of the water I use has been boiled.
  • Start with a chef, a piece of fully risen dough retained from a previous bread; mix it with 1/4 cup of 110° water (temperature tested with an instant-read thermometer) and 2/3 cup of unbleached white flour or bread flour.
  • Wait 8 to 12 hours for this sponge to rise. Once it's risen you can refrigerate it or go on to the next step:
  • Mix in 2 tablespoons of 110° water, and about 2/3 cup of flour, and wait for it to rise again--about 4 to 6 hours.
  • Refrigerate it for at least an hour
  • Take it out, pour 2/3 cup cool water into a bowl, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of non-rapid-rise yeast, mix in the sponge, and about 1 3/4 cups of unbleached flour (or replace part of this with a tablespoon of wheat germ and a tablespoon of bran).
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt on it.
  • Knead for 5-10 minutes, adding flour when necessary.
  • Let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Fold it down on itself, then let it rise for another 45 minutes. (It's possible to skip this step)
  • Shape it by dividing it in 2, pressing each piece down till it's a flat rectangle, folding down about 1/3 of the dough, pressing it into the middle of the dough with your fingertips, then folding everything down to the bottom and pinching the seams together.
  • Pick up the sausage shape by one end and gently squeeze it along its length until it's about 12" long, and cover it with oiled plastic wrap (in a baguette mold if you have one),and let it rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F, which probably should have unglazed quarry tiles on the rack. When the oven is ready, I try to slash the baguettes, but I've never been able to do this properly, even with a razor.
  • I spray water directly on them, and bake them for 20 minutes, occasionally spraying again.
  • When they looked done, I used the instant-read thermometer a couple of times to check that the internal temperature of the bread was 200°, but it's pretty obvious when the bread is done by looking at it.
Supposedly, the pre-ferments boost the flavor of the bread and adds texture by bringing out the gluten, but the lack of oil means these go stale pretty quickly.

What is usually sold as bread flour in the supermarkets is not just high-gluten flour, but high-gluten flour with malted barley flour and ascorbic acid, which helps the yeast work better.



Crust trick (none / 0) (#140)
by ksandstr on Sun Mar 30, 2003 at 08:46:19 PM EST

You can get a nice, definite crust on a loaf of bread by tossing a a couple of teaspoons of water into the oven right after putting the unbaked dough inside. I suppose this has something to do with how the water vapor interacts with the baking process, though the small amount of water does give it a bit of a black magic feel.

Anyway, this trick works best on French-style baguettes (long, thin loaves, basically) though for that classic look you might also want to make a couple of shallow cuts on the surface of the loaf, length-wise, with a table knife.


Fin.

How to Make Bread | 141 comments (114 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
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