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Old 08-29-2014, 02:52 PM   #51
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I've watched relatives make it since I was a young girl, Addie....sure wish I would've picked up on that and tried it while I was young and impressionable. I still might try it...I guess you're never too old to learn. My grandma used to put together the most wonderful and flakiest pie crust, just by the look and feel of the ingredients.
All it really takes is to have someone who works by appearance and feel point out what they're watching for. I sneak up on bread dough by beginning with the rough 3 cups flour to one cup liquid and touching up with daps of water or flour during the mixer kneading where I watch the behavior of the dough as it begins to be able to stay off the side and how it climbs the dough hook - and then the surface quality to tell when it's time to test for glutten development.

Precisely repeatable bread making depends on weight ratios, such as 5 ounces flour to three ounces liquid, because the water content of flour varies with the weather and age, but I usually decide I want bread that night at the last hour and throw it together, remembering that even failed bread is pretty good.

Quick pasta is the same way, putting flour in a food processor and adding water until it forms a ball that runs around the side. Or crepes, just an egg and water and add flour until it's the right consistency to spread itself but not run. One batch of crepes, and you know what that consistency should be.

There are various additional bread moves that can determine what sort of bread you get, how many rises, how long to autolyze after mixing, shapes and how the dough is worked into the shapes, and how it's baked, but you can get a good, basic, rustic white bread with 3 cups flour, one cup water, a pinch of salt, and a package of instant yeast. Mix it. Let it rest 20 minutes. Knead it until it gets sort of shiny and you can spread it out into a sheet with your fingers (the "windowpane"). Into an oiled bowl under clothe cover until it double. Punch it down. Shape it into a round rustic loaf. Let it rise again and bake to a deep golden with a hollow sound when you thump it. Let it cool for a while. If you screw it up, it's still gonna be better than anything that comes in plastic. Tear pieces off with your hands and sit back and bask in the amazement of your friends.
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Old 08-29-2014, 02:57 PM   #52
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Okay, here's something I don't understand about the weight method of measuring for making bread. I understand that flour can have more or less water in it. Doesn't the water add weight to the flour? If the flour weighs more, doesn't it have more water? So, why do we add more water than if the flour was drier and weighed less?
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:00 PM   #53
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GLC....thank you so much for your well thought out, and inspiring post! It's very much appreciated. Copied and saved.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:31 PM   #54
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[snip] I buy the without raisins. For me it is like biting into wet bugs. YUK!
As opposed to dry bugs?

Me, I don't mind wet bugs and they are called for on occasion.



I've never had a mixer or bread machine and always made bread by hand.
The results are great and can't be beat.
But I'm lazy and picking up a loaf from the store is how I usually go.
Yes I could save a few cents but also the Wonder bread texture and taste is what you want.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:17 PM   #55
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When you start out making bread for the first time, you are going to have some failures. Everyone does. But you learn from your mistakes. I don't like the instant or rapid rise yeast. I think for a beginner the regular yeast is much better for a beginner. You learn about the right temperature for the yeast. And that is the starting point for making bread. I used a thermometer at first to test the temp of the water. I quickly learned to tell with my finger. I also learned to heat the oven on warm if I was in a hurry. Then I learned that the oven light bulb would do the same thing. Create an environment conducive to the dough rising slowly. Eventually you learn to trust your own instincts and what you have learned along the journey to making perfect bread. The most important part of bread making is the kneading. Flour your hands and ignore all the shags that hang off from your fingers. Just keep your hands lightly floured. You will find that eventually those shags magically work themselves into the dough as you knead until the ball of dough is shiny and smooth. About 20 minutes or so.

Next comes the battle of slicing that perfect loaf of bread. Make sure you use a bread or serrated knife. At first you will slice it too thin. Then too thick. There was a hint in the most recent Cook's Illustrated. The woman stated that if she put the loaf of warm bread upside down on a rack that had wires going across to cool, it left perfect indentations across the bread that is ideal for slicing the right width.

By about your third or fourth try, you should begin to look like a pro. If your mistakes are not fit to be eaten, remember, water, yeast, salt, and flour. The most costly is flour. And compared to the cost of other foods you purchase, you haven't really lost too much.

So dig in, roll up those sleeves and get busy making your first loaf of bread. I'll be over for some points of toast and tea very shortly.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:28 PM   #56
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Good thread BTW.
I would like to try my hand at making some homemade bread.

My question is about slicing the bread. Do you just use a bread knife or do you have a bread slicing machine?
If you are using a bread knife, how can you get a slice as thin as a slicing machine would make?
Or do you just slice it thick?

Oh......Whats up with Hellman's Mayonnaise? What did they do to it. I cannot taste any difference in my 58 years.
It's all about practice and a good knife. I usually slice 2 whole loaves at a time for the freezer. Are they perfect?, no but I have enough practice that it's good enough
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:48 PM   #57
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Okay, here's something I don't understand about the weight method of measuring for making bread. I understand that flour can have more or less water in it. Doesn't the water add weight to the flour? If the flour weighs more, doesn't it have more water? So, why do we add more water than if the flour was drier and weighed less?
Actually, it isn't the water so much as the air. If flour is jostled around, it tends to compact itself, or settle, pushing out air. Therefore, there is more flour per unit volume. This isn't a problem with liquids, as they are incomprehensible. The dry, powdery incredients need to be weighed to verify that you are putting the same amount of product into the bowl each time.

To see what I mean, try this experiment. Sift flour into a bowl, then scoop out one even measuring cup, use a dry measuring cup to be accurate. Weigh it and record the weight. Then put the flour back into the bowl, with more flour, and lightly tap the bowl up and down for a half minute. Again scoop out a cup of flour and weigh it. You will find that it weighs more, as the air has been pushed out from between the flour particles. You have more flour particles per unit volume.

Moisture in the packaged flour isn't really an issue as it's in a sealed container that keeps atmospheric moisture out, until the flour is removed. Then, it takes time for that flour to absorb and appreciable amount of moisture. The atmospheric moisture can change the consistency of the crust as it's baking. And remember, the drier the air, the faster it dries out. So you need to oil, or butter the outside and cover while it's rising.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:03 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
Actually, it isn't the water so much as the air. If flour is jostled around, it tends to compact itself, or settle, pushing out air. Therefore, there is more flour per unit volume. This isn't a problem with liquids, as they are incomprehensible. The dry, powdery incredients need to be weighed to verify that you are putting the same amount of product into the bowl each time.

To see what I mean, try this experiment. Sift flour into a bowl, then scoop out one even measuring cup, use a dry measuring cup to be accurate. Weigh it and record the weight. Then put the flour back into the bowl, with more flour, and lightly tap the bowl up and down for a half minute. Again scoop out a cup of flour and weigh it. You will find that it weighs more, as the air has been pushed out from between the flour particles. You have more flour particles per unit volume.

Moisture in the packaged flour isn't really an issue as it's in a sealed container that keeps atmospheric moisture out, until the flour is removed. Then, it takes time for that flour to absorb and appreciable amount of moisture. The atmospheric moisture can change the consistency of the crust as it's baking. And remember, the drier the air, the faster it dries out. So you need to oil, or butter the outside and cover while it's rising.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Oh certainly the "fluffiness of the flour" makes it inaccurate to measure by volume. That's why it's supposed to be sifted into the measuring cup. It helps some. But, people keep writing about the moisture in the flour being a factor. Maybe it packs down more when it's moister?

Heck, since I got a microplane, I measure grated parm by weight.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:44 PM   #59
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Oh certainly the "fluffiness of the flour" makes it inaccurate to measure by volume. That's why it's supposed to be sifted into the measuring cup. It helps some. But, people keep writing about the moisture in the flour being a factor. Maybe it packs down more when it's moister?

Heck, since I got a microplane, I measure grated parm by weight.
If you want and in depth read, check this out. Bakery technology - Baking

That'll keep ya busy for 10 minutes or so.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:24 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
If you want and in depth read, check this out. Bakery technology - Baking

That'll keep ya busy for 10 minutes or so.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
It looked too long. I searched for "moisture" and it doesn't seem to talk about the moisture in the flour.
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