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Old 08-28-2005, 12:58 AM   #1
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Bread Baking Obsevations

There was a contest at my church this evening and a corn roast. There was also a chili contest that I didn't participate in. But this thread is about bread.

For the contest, I planned two loaves and a braid. I ended up with two good loaves as the braid was only suitable for eating with soup, but very good for that purpose.

The two good loaves were as follows, oh, and both loaves one their category.

Multi-Grain Loaf
Ingredients:
2 cups Robin Hood multi-grain bread flour with flax seed
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup sour-dough starter (started a week before and made from 1 tsp. granulated, dry yeast, mixed with 1/4 cup AP Flour and 3 tbs. water. Placed in a clean canning jar and sealed. Let set in fridge door until needed.)

1/4 cup sugar
9 tbs. cooking oil
1/4 cup softened butter

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the sour-dough starter with 1 cup warm water. Stir until it's dissolved. Pour the water into the dry mix and add another 3/4 warm water. Add the oil to the water and stir everything together with a heavy wooden spoon. After everything is combined, continue kneading with your hands until the ball is smooth and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour in 1/8 cup increments and kneed in. The dough will form a smooth ball in the bowl when the moisture to flour content is correct.

Place the dough into a gallon-sized zipper style plastic bag and and let rest overnight in the fridge.

When you are ready to bake the bread, remove it from the fidge. Place in a large, clean bowl. Rub the butter over the dough ball and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a 130 degree pre-heated oven that ahs been turned off just before placing the dough in it, and let rise until doubled in bulk. REmove the dough from the oven and punch it down. Transfer it to a loaf pan and place back into the oven. Let rise until doubled. Remove from the oven and turn it on. Preheat it to 350' F. Put the bread in and cook for 50 minutes. When the time has elapsed, remove from the oven and lightly tap the top. The bread loaf should sound hollow. Remove from the pan and brush with cooking oil. Let cool and serve.

For the white bread, follow the same directions, but only use the all-purpose flour, quarter-cup gluten flour, and add 1/4 cup of non-dairy coffee creamer to add richness of flavor.

Both breads comes out so soft and tender and moist on the inside, but with that rich sour-dough flavor.

The keys to good bread making are giving the yeast time to do its work, letting it rest overnight to allow the protien to relax, resulting in a softer loaf, and getting the right amount of oil to keep everything moist. Of course, you must also get the dough flavor correct, not to sweet, and not to salty.

I would suspect that making a dryer dough, and kneading it more would result in the crusty, chewy loaves such as are found in artisan bread shops. I know longer use a recipe as I know that three tbs. of oil per cup of flour is correct. Also, three cups of flour are required for one standard home loaf pan. I also use 1/4 tsp. salt and about 2 tbs. sugar or sweetener, sometimes honey, per cup of flour as well. So I don't have a written recipe. I do know how the raw dough should feel and smell. And I know how much sour-dough, or dry yeast to use. Learn these things and you can make an amazing variety of breads without worrying about failure. Also, the amount of yeast used greatly affects the flavor of the bread.

So there you have it, the prize-winning recipe, or rather technique for both multi-grain, and white breads.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

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Old 08-28-2005, 10:42 AM   #2
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I can almost smell the fresh baked bread!

I envy anyone who can bake bread...I tried for years to get the hang of it, and finally gave up.
The last time I tried, I made homemade rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. My cleaning lady was a very dear lady, also very religious. She said she'd pray for my rolls to rise.
They did rise quite nicely, but then I burned them. When I told her what happened, she said, "Honey, I prayed for them to rise...you didn't tell me I needed to pray for you not to burn'em!"
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Old 08-28-2005, 04:10 PM   #3
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I'm sorry Constance. I wish your bread rolls had come out great. For years, I used my MOL's verry good bread recipe. Following the directions and learning what her odugh felt and tasted like gave me the basic skills I needed to try my own hand at breadmaking. Now, I never measure, except for the intitial amount of flour used. The rest comes from feel, smell, look, and taste of the dough, and then patience to let it rise properly. I bet if you tried again, you would have better success.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 08-28-2005, 06:51 PM   #4
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I don't make very good yeast breads either. I did make some wonderful brioche once and have never been able to duplicate it. I can buy very good bread tho.
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Old 08-29-2005, 12:25 PM   #5
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I tried to whip up a quick batch of white bread yesterday. I made an error in technique. I let the bread rise until it doubled its original size, then placed the dough in a loaf pan and punched it down. And that's wehre I made my mistake. Usually, I punch it down and then knead it just a bit to make sure I've removed any air gas pockets left in the dough. By taking the shortcut and punching it down in the cooking pan, when risen, the dough had developed a large gas pocket just under the top crust. I didn't recognize it for what it was and baked the loaf. The result was a very tasty loaf that had a portion of the crust with a huge bubble in it, and no bread attached to the top crust. This made the bread very difficult to slice. It just has no crust to hold it together. The taste was perfect, and the texture was very nice. But serving it is a royal pain.

The point is that there are good reasons for each step in the bread making process. If you try to take sortcuts, you set yoursef up for a less than perfect end result.

So learn from my mistakes, so that you don't have to repeat them.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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