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Old 12-23-2006, 05:14 PM   #11
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A very nice gentleman who has travelled in France extensively for many many years and is a "fixture" of help on the AOL French travel boards has "perfected" French bread to his enjoyment.
I would love to post the recipe as he posted it recently on the board. It is detailed and not difficult.
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel!
Thanks Walt and JDP

Is it a special bread mixing machine, u use, to mix the bread?
Steam and mixing in a machine. I never did these things. Maybe they will be what works.
Hopefully it will work, with ordinary white flour. I have no idea where i would buy special French flour here.

Mel
Sorry Me i didn't so your post till now. I'm am pretty new to baking and I have been making my loaves with Pillsbury unbleached all purpose flour. My machine is not special. It is a Cusinart DC 11 food processor. I put a pan of boiling water directly on the bottom of the oven when I put the loaves in to create the steam and I use baking stones. I just got done baking 2 loaves. One I added raw sliced leeks, and the other I added kalamata olives to the dry ingredients and then added the water and processed for 45 seconds. The additions added some moisture so I put the dough onto a board and kneaded a little more flour into them. I also brushed the loaves prior to baking with a mix of 1/3 cup water and 1 T cornstarch. Instead of 2 loaves out of each batch I made single loaves. Long story short best I've made yet. Crisp crust, great bubble formation, great texture and wonderful flavor. If you have any questions send me a note.

Merry Christmas

JDP
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Old 12-24-2006, 06:30 AM   #13
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Thanks for that JDP

I never though about brushing the loaves with water and cornstarch, before baking. I think i will try that, next time.
I often put onions or apples, in my bread. These seem to create better results. Probably, because of the moisture they release. I think the more moisture one can get in there the better the bread rises. Yeast seems to need a lot of liquid.

Would anybody know, if using a mixer creates better airier bread, than hands and spoon mixing?

Mel
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel!
Would anybody know, if using a mixer creates better airier bread, than hands and spoon mixing?
No, it doesn't. A mixer can save some time, especially if you're making enough dough for several loaves, but if you know how to knead by hand, the dfference in work time is really not that much. There are, however, different kneading techniques depending on the kind of bread you're making.

I personally believe in hand kneading, or a combination of machine kneading and then finishing the kneading by hand. It will educate you to the feel of different doughs.

There are a few exceptions to this: a dough with a very high amount of butter, such as a brioche, is much easier to make with a mixer and there are a few speciality artisan breads that are easier to make with a mixer too.
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:00 AM   #15
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Hello Superfuspersona

I will put off getting a mixer, for a while, then.
I have not yet tried making brioche. I suppose, it is time enough to get a mixer, when i start to learn how to make that.

Mel
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:12 AM   #16
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Bread mixing does not produce and "airier" product. The purpose of kneading bread dough for any bread is to build up gluten--the structure which gives bread, and particularly typical French bread, its pully and "pocketed" look. Rather than use all purpose flour use bread flour, which contains vital gluten. Or add vital gluten to the all purpose flour. This is one of the characteristics of European flours--a varying amount of protein content.
DO NOT use pastry flour--or White Lily flour for bread making.
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:15 AM   #17
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Thanks candocook
I did not know that, about the gluton. I thought the kneading was just to make everything stick togethere.


Walt
What is the sponge method? I am quite new to bread making, and really dont know much about it.

Mel
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:21 AM   #18
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Mel the sponge method I believe is when you take part of the flour, yeast, sugar, water and let it set refridgerated overnight and then build your bread off that. The mix will grow kind of like a sponge. Look at the recipe I posted earlier from good eats. It uses that method. I made it yesterday and it was great. I only had all purpose flour so I substituted it for the bread flour and it was fine. I will be getting some of the bread flour though to see if it is any better.
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Old 12-27-2006, 12:53 PM   #19
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Mel,

JDP's sponge method works (make sure you have an extra large bowl to contain the rising dough - have you ever seen the '50's movie "The Blob").

I use a flourless sponge method form Shirley Coriherr's book "Cookwise".
The night before you plan to make bread, pour 1/2 cup of warm water into a cup and stir in 1 pkg. (or a tablespoon) of active dry yeast. Just let it stand on your counter until the next day. Substitute it for 1/2 cup of the liquid in the recipe. The yeast does it's thing without climbing out of the container. This is to enhance flavor. The yeast makes CO2, and alcohol until it just about kills itself (hic!), and then the everpresent acetobacter bacteria (don't worry, theyre there) turns some of the alcohol into vinegar, thus enhancing the flavor. You should probably add more yeast when mixing up the bread, as most of the first batch are now lazy drunks , and it will rise very slowly if no more is added. But, if you have the time, try it without. Even more flavor. This is why sourdough bread tastes so good.

As to bread flour, the extra protein makes for more gluten, when it's kneaded, and smaller holes, and a lighter loaf. The breads I've made with AP tend to be heavier. Sometimes a good thing, but not for baguettes.
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Old 12-27-2006, 12:54 PM   #20
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Mel. JDP has the recipe and directions for you. The machine is a Food Processor (Cuisinart). The flour: King Arthur Bread Flour...or any Bread Flour you can purchase in a Natural Food Store or try your grocery store. You can create steam in a home oven by throwing water in a pan in the bottom of the oven or by spraying the oven with water from a plastic spray bottle. The type used to mist plants.

Just before the bread goes in, I throw about l cup of hot water into a tray to create the steam. If you use a spray bottle, about six to eight good blasts of water should steam the oven.

Be careful when you toss water into a hot oven. A hot gush of steam can burn your hands. If you use baking stones: don't throw water on the baking stones as this will cool them off and lower your oven temperature.
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