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Old 01-09-2004, 08:17 PM   #11
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looks great oldcoot!!

I personally like a heavier bread. With the leftovers why don't you make a Panzanella salad? That should make a wonderful lunch out in your garden with a glass of some sort of wine!!
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:13 PM   #12
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Your panzanella seems little more than a compllicated attemmpt to improve on perfection: insalata caprese, to which Coc introduced me.
I see no point in messing up that delicious combination of tomato, basil, mozarella,, garlic and olive oil with all that other junjk. I frequently put that combination on my bread(a bruschetta) and enjoy it with a glass of chardonnay at the garden table. Sadly, of late it has been a bit too chilly for that. And BW informed me this evening that we're out of chardonnay!

I was forced to down chianti with her mac & cheese, steamed broccoli, italian sausage with sauteed onions and bell pepper, and a tomato-cucumber salad with gorgonzola and olive oil.

Woe is me!
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Old 01-10-2004, 01:25 PM   #13
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Hi Coot & Kyles- That texture looks superb! If I can add to this: the problem is following recipes to the T. With bread (and I bake daily) it is the feeling that counts - thus I do everything by hand. Whether you start with water or flour makes no difference, just add the one to the other gradually till you have a soft dough. Also knead until you feel it changing under your hand into a silky, pliable dough.

Perhaps Kyles' bread just needed some more rising. Here too it is no use following times given in recipes. All depends on the temperature in the kitchen, where it is proving and how often you bake. Yes, where bread is baked regularly yeast spores are found floating in the air which adds to faster rising.

Softer breads can also be made with milk/half milk and half water. If you just go on trying everything will fall into place and you will really enjoy your daily loaf and all its variations.

Stay well, all.

Maws
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Old 01-10-2004, 05:50 PM   #14
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This is not exactly on the subject, Maws, but I've gotta ask, to dispel what I believe is a myth about the time and effort required to bake bread at hoome.

How much time do you spend actually working with the bread? (Excluding rising and baking times.)

I find it takes only about 15 or twenty minutes - whether I do it by hand or with the Kitchen Aid Mixer.

You're sure right about rising times. Our house is kept a llittle on the cool side (BW's personal thermostat is shot! :) ). So last week I stuck a 100W lamp in a cardboard carton and put the dough inside it to rise. Boy, what a difference!

I'm a bit skeptical about a sufficient number of yeast spores floating around in the kitchen to make any real differenc,e however.
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:40 PM   #15
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That's a really nice looking loaf of bread!

I find that I never use all the flour that the recipes call for. Sometimes 1 cup to cup & 1/2 less. I go by look and feel of the dough.

I use a heating pad set on low under my rising bowl. May have to use the medium setting now since it has been really cold the last few days( it is 1 degree F now!- BURR!!!!!!!
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Old 01-11-2004, 06:41 AM   #16
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Dear Coot - I know the spores theory sounds like and old wives' tale, but there might be some truth in it. I have noticed that when we go on holiday and I have to bake in a kitchen where bread is never made, it takes longer to rise. At home I bake two large loaves with one packet of yeast and the first rise takes no more than forty minutes. Recipes mention 1 to 1 hours.

I write quite a lot about wine and have to visit many wine cellars. There it is known that "wild yeast spores" exist in older wine cellars and really adventurous winemakers make use of this and not added yeasts. It is tricky since the wine has to be monitored more closely during fermentation, but it can work and leads to superb wines, often very expensive. But only a handful of winemakers here try that.

I find that mixing and kneading at the first stage never takes more than 15 minutes. But in some cases the dough seems elastic enough after five minutes of kneading. Sometimes I add the yeast (rapid rising) to the water and then the flour and start kneading immediately. Or else I encourage more flavour by adding only a cup of flour and leaving the starter for anything from five minutes to overnight.

I also tried the Italian way of sourdough starters by mixing a cup of boiling water and a cup of flour. Covered, left for a day and then "fed" with a bit more water and flour each day for a week. After kneading I pinched off a small handful of dough, covered with cling wrap and left that in the fridge. Two or three days later this dough can be covered with lukewarm water, stirred and then used as yeast for a next batch. I used this "yeast plant" which had never seen a grain of commercial yeast for six months. I gave it to a friend when we had to go on leave.

Will start one again and report to you.

Love
Maws.
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Old 01-11-2004, 08:31 AM   #17
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To back Maws up; There are, indeed, wild yeasts that occur naturally and can wreak havoc with winemaking and beer brewing. It is why such strict hygenic and sanitary conditins atre necessary to these proocesses. These same wild yeasts CAN infiltrate your baking but have much less effect than they do on beer and wine.
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Old 01-11-2004, 11:54 AM   #18
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It is probable that wild yeasts contaminating batters and juices were the means by which yeast leavening and fermentation began. Grapes, particularly, are coated with wild yeasts naturally, so that grape juice will become wine or vinegar if left to stand with no additional effort by Man.

I have a grape arbor just outside my kitchen door, so it is probable that I have a good supply of "atmospheric" wild yeast. Bit on the short time involved in bread making, I dooubt that yeast - while almost certainlly contaminating the dough, has time to grow enough to be an appreciable factor. In the case where Maws leaves the batter for several days, the yeast colonization would have ample time to grow.. Of course, Maws kitchen may well be a "hotbed" of yeast spores for the reasoons Maws states - that is certainlly possible.

As mentioned, I have been making smaller loaves, but using a whole packet of yeast all the same. Yet I find the rising time to be the same as when making a larger batch also using a single packet of yeast. My first risings a generally about 1 hour, the second 30 to 45 minutes. So my experience has been that the amount of yeast (within llimits, of course) has little effect on rising time. Temperature, however, has a major effect.
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