I would be interested in hearing different views on types of oils used in your breadmaking. Although more experienced in years, my breadmaking successes are spazmodic. I have been using both butter or canola oil so far but would like to know if anyone has ventured to other oils like Macadamia, grape seed etc.
I assume you're talking about yeast rising breads here so, based on over 30 years baking bread at home using very ordinary equipment, here are some of my humble opinions:
on butter: typically used as the fat in sweet doughs (coffee cake - cinnamon rolls - etc) which are made with all white flour. I do use butter for these kinds of doughs but for a typical "loaf" style bread I use oil - the additional steps of melting and cooling the butter are not worth the time for the flavor result.
on oil: in general, there is no need to purchase fancy/expensive oils for bread making. For most of my bread making I simply use a decent quality corn oil purchased at the supermarket. If I am making pizza dough I use a decent (but not super expensive) extra-virgin olive oil. (I do
refigerate my olive oil, tho I keep a small amount in a glass container in a cupboard for convenience. Olive oil solidifies under refigeration; it will liquify when returned to room temperature.)
Unfortunately I have baked enough bricks to build a house
I had the identical problem when I first started to make bread. Here are my hard-won epiphanies:
>use at least some white bread
flour even if the recipie calls for mostly whole grain (wheat) flour. Many recipies for white bread say to use all-purpose white flour. All-purpose flour is precisely that - designed for anything made with flour - from pie dough to biscuits to cakes to breads, etc. etc. Basically, all-purpose white flour is a mix of soft wheat (low gluten/protein content) and hard wheat (hi gluten/protein content). Breads need a high gluten flour. In the USA, the actual porportion of soft to hard wheat in all-purpose flour actually varies by geographical region. Only wheat flour milled from hard wheat contains any appreciable amount of gluten.
>knead well but, when kneading, don't incorporate too much flour. I do use a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook for the initial incorporation of ingredients and kneading but I always finish the kneading by hand incorporating only small amounts of flour at a time. The kneaded dough should be feel smooth but ever so slightly tacky. The "feel" of a dough only comes from experience but once you've got it, you've got it. ...Which leads me the the 3rd point:
>don't rush the rise - this epiphany came to me courtesy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol II
published 1977. Every other cookbook I had consulted prior to then was full of tips 'n tricks to hurry up the rise. Once I relaxed and let the dough rise on its own schedule my results immediately improved. Bread dough is amazingly flexible. You can let a "sponge" or
the kneaded dough itself rise in the 'frig over night for example, and the result is as good or better than just letting it rise at room temperature.
>adjust the amount of yeast for the type of bread you're making (btw, I use active dry yeast). Actually, by "type of bread" I'm really talking about the mix of flours you're using for the bread. For a recipie that yeilds 2 1-lb loaves:
- If I'm making a white bread using only hard white flour, I use only 2 TSP
active dry yeast since this flour maximizes the gluten content in the bread.
- If I'm making a whole-grain loaf (primarily stone-ground hard wheat flour) or a "hybrid" loaf that uses low-gluten flours (such as rye or oat) or even legume flours (such as soybean or lentil flour) with whole wheat I use 1 TBS
active dry yeast.
You can see I'm a bread-making fool. I love to talk about bread making - so many wonderful breads to make - so little time... poster sighs and signs off...