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Old 12-16-2006, 02:03 PM   #21
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Kadesma, I forgot to ask for the name of the book you had in mind. I'd appreciate it.

Ayrton, that book looks great. It reminds me of something Alton Brown would write, and I like Alton Brown's approach to cooking.

Also, I have to thank everybody for advice. Maybe my problem is too much flour... I think that I'll try to bake something in the yeast category at least once a week, from now on. And I have a ton of recipes that I am afraid to tackle because I haven't managed to make the simplest!
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:41 PM   #22
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As for recipe, I go by my mother's guidelines: 1-2tsp of yeast proofed with 1tsp of sugar and some warm water, 250gr flour added when bubbly, together with 1tsp of salt and enough water to allow the dough to pull away from the ball. Kneed on a flour surfice to get a smooth, elastic dough, let rise till doubled, punch down, kneed gently, shape and let rise again on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F till done (the toothpick check).

I made buiscuits this morning and my southern husband approved:) I make pretty decent pizza dough. But bread seems to trump me every time![/quote]

Pizza dough is just bread dough that hasn't been allowed to rise much. You could make foccacia.

The type of bread you are trying to duplicate is a French baguette type and as Skilletman said, it is some of the hardest to make. And as I think we have touched on, that is not very much yeast.
Please just find a white sandwich bread recipe that has a bit of sugar, some shortening/oil, and flour and try to make that in a loaf pan.
I have never done a toothpick check for bread doneness--only cakes. If it is nicely browned and crusty and a bit hollow sounding when thumped, it is done.. If you are going to prick it with something to check for doneness then a thermometer (instant read) would be better. I'll try to find the temp.

Please take a look at some of these for a possible try.

“white bread” 93 Recipes | Recipezaar
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:32 PM   #23
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Biberche, Candocook's last post more clearly posed the same question I was trying to ask earlier. The sandwich type loaves with some percentage of fat, oil, butter, etc. are usually easier to master. I also remember in your first post a complaint was that the bread was edible only edible for an hour or so. To the best of my knowledge, any bread with the ingredients you listed will be good for several hours but seriously poorer the following day. I can't explain how or why but the fat lengthens the shelf life of the loaf. Having said all that the sandwich loafs are going to have a lot different taste, texture, and feel and if that isn't a type of bread you ever want to make it doesn't matter that it is easier or lasts longer.

If you want to stick with the lean batter you described, although I don't claim to be an expert, here are a few things I've learned about that type of bread.
  1. Make sure the dough is very well kneaded and easily passes the windowpane test.
  2. Make sure the volume fully doubles on the first rise.
  3. In your first post you expressed a disappointment in the crumb. "There are no nice, airy holes inside, just a bunch of smallish ones." To accomplish that you don't want to punch completely down and knead, even gently, before shaping. A lot of the gas is going to get knocked out of the dough just dropping it out of the bowl and onto the counter. One of the goals from here on is to keep as much of that gas in the dough as possible. At the same time you are going to want to handle the stuff a fair bit because you want to stretch the outside, tucking it into the bottom in order to create a skin, of sorts, that combined with the well developed gluten formed in kneading, will force the second rice up instead of out, and help prevent collapse in the first few minutes in the oven.
  4. You say you are not getting a second rise. Could it be that the volume increase is more of a spread than a rise. If you are punching down and kneading gently after the first rise you wouldn't really expect those small holes without a second rise. The timing of the first rise is much more sensitive than the first. If it goes too long the loaf is likely to collapse when scored or in the first few minutes of baking.
  5. Baking-well, lets talk about that after we determine if we're on the right path so far.
By the way, thanks explaining my earlier misunderstanding.
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:37 PM   #24
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[quote=Biberche]No, no, no, Skilletlicker, I WAS not offended at all! I am sorry if I came off as arrogant, that was not my intention at all. Otherwise, I would not have come here asking for help! And help is what I need. I just wanted everybody to undestand that I was not attempting to produce a "La Brea Bakery" type of bread, just your most basic white bread that everybody seems to produce without thinking twice.

As for recipe, I go by my mother's guidelines: 1-2tsp of yeast proofed with 1tsp of sugar and some warm water, 250gr flour added when bubbly, together with 1tsp of salt and enough water to allow the dough to pull away from the ball. Kneed on a flour surfice to get a smooth, elastic dough, let rise till doubled, punch down, kneed gently, shape and let rise again on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F till done (the toothpick check).

I made buiscuits this morning and my southern husband approved:) I make pretty decent pizza dough. But bread seems to trump me every time!

[Biberche - I have read two recipes that call for only a tsp on yeast, but I always used a tablespoon. Are you making traditional french type bread? Those breads only use a little yeast and require a preferment. they are wet doughs and are a lot more difficult than standard white loaf bread. From what you said, I think you want to start with the easiest and get that to come out right first. If thats the case, than I suggest using a tablespoon of yeast proofed as you said with a little sugar and some water. When in is bubbly add flour. I am not familiar with how much 250gr of flour is. I go by cup usually, but more often, I dont measure. I really dont think you have to except with some of the preferment breads where more flour than necessary can lead to unwanted results. I suggest adding enough flour (start with unbleached white) to make a thick but still stirrable batter, usually 2 cups. Let that bubble up for an hour. This is called a sponge and will give the yeast a head start before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add all of the rest of your ingredients: fat, sugar and salt if you are using and just enough flour usually 2 cups more, so that the dough can be kneaded in the bowl. When the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl, you may have added to much, dump onto a lightly floured board and continue to knead. be careful to only use enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board. After kneading for 10 minutes, the dough should have developed sufficient gluten to feel springy and feel smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, lightly oil the top cover with clean cloth or parchment paper and let rise to double, about 1 hour. Punch down, and knead briefly. Shape into oblong by stretching into a rectangle and rolling up the long way, pinching the seam and placing the seam on the bottom of a loaf pan. Let rise a final time until not quite doubled, usually 45 minutes. The loaf should have reached the top of pan by this time. Slash if desired, paint with butter or oil or water or water plus egg. each of these will give the crust a different feel. bake 350 for 30 minutes until golden brown and well risen. test for doneness by tapping on bottom, it will sound hollow.

This is recipe for a basic white bread loaf in which the crumb will be small holed, if thats what you are interested in making. Your ingredients do sound as if you are trying to make an artisinal french bread, but if its not working for you why dont you start with the white bread loaf just to get the hang of it.

Good luck
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