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Old 12-13-2002, 11:54 PM   #1
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Yeast bread help

I just "discovered" this site, and must say, I like what I see. I have been a regular contributor to several other foodie sites and hope to become a regular here too. Although not professionally trained, with all due modesty, over the past twenty plus years I have become an accomplished yeast bread baker and would like to offer my experience and expertise to answer any questions readers may have in that area. If I know the answer I will tell you. If not I will make one up....Just kidding. Pizza, breads, rolls, bagels, pretty much any questions dealing with yeast products, I will try to help with. I do not mean to sound cocky, its just that I have a lot of experience and love teaching and helping others. I also have experience with cookies. Anyway, if I can help, just let me know and I will do my best.

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Old 12-19-2002, 12:08 PM   #2
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docpat,

Welcome to DiscussCooking. I would give anything to be an accomplished bread baker!!!!! Ciabatti is one of my favorites - and a good baguette!!!!!!!!

If I want to make pizza at home what is a good, basic dough. Also, I have had pizza with a whole wheat dough - do you have a recipe for that too? I will take any information you can give me.

Thanks for offering your expertise. Now, let me offer my expertise - I will try ANYTHING you make!!!! :D :p
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Old 12-20-2002, 12:01 AM   #3
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Bread baking, in fact, the creation of any yeast dough product, is the magical blending of both art and science. Whereas cooking is the art of combining flavors and textures, baking is all that plus chemistry. Once you learn the "rules and reasons why" things happen, a wondrous door opens before you, and only your imagination and the laws of chemistry will limit you.

If you have any further questions, need clarifications, or just want to let me know how you made out, please feel free to write. I'm glad to help and enjoy trouble shooting baking problems. To make this crust into a whole wheat version, simply substitute approx. (to taste) 1/2 cup of WW flour for the All-purpose or bread flour.

I promise I will teach you to make ciabatta, but you must first master the simpler doughs. Ciabatta is not difficult, but it requires a more experienced hand, technique and knowledge.


PIZZA DOUGH

3/4 Cup hot water (104-106F)
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp plus 2 Tbls sugar (divided)
4 - 4 1/2 cups flour (divided)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil

1. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar into hot water and stir gently to dissolve. Let stand for five minutes. A foam will appear on top of water letting you know yeast is active and alive.

2. Place one cup of flour in bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast mixture and mix with paddle blade for two minutes. (At this point you can let the mixture rest, covered with plastic wrap for thirty minutes to two hours for improved flavor and texture, although this step is not mandatory if time is limited).

3. Add olive oil and approximately three cups of flour, 2 Tbls sugar and 2 tsp salt and knead with dough hook for seven minutes. Dough will become elastic and form a ball of dough around the dough hook. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, if necessary until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and very slightly sticky to the touch.

4. Place the dough in a glass bowl that has been coated with olive oil, that is at least three times the size of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm draft free environment until doubled, approximately one and a half hours.

5. Press your fist into the center of the dough to deflate it and then gently reach underneath the dough ball and pull one side of it up and over the center of the dough to stretch it. Repeat this process twice around the bowl.

6. Gently place the dough ball on a lightly floured counter and gently stretch, knead and shape into a desired shape and half the desired final thickness. Place on a nonstick baking sheet or a pizza pan and let rise again in a warm, draft free environment until doubled in volume, approximately one hour.

7. Brush very gently with olive oil and top with sauce, cheese, etc. Bake in a 400F oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the edge browns and the crust is toasty on the bottom.

Notes: Placing the pizza pan directly on a baking stone on the lowest oven shelf (available at baking supply stores) will give you a better crust.
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Old 12-20-2002, 09:38 AM   #4
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docpat,

You have a most interested student here!!! Thanks for your answer.

Pertaining to the pizza crust. You say put the pizza pan on the pizza stone. So, does that mean I shouldn't put the crust directly on the stone and bake it on that?

Also, can you give me a recipe for a very simple bread I can actually make during this "infant" stage of baking bread. I want to get to that ciabatta so I will be stuffing bread down my family fast!!!!!! LOL :D

My son is not fond of sourdough so just a plain white bread would be eaten faster and I can get to the next loaf that much quicker!
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Old 12-20-2002, 12:27 PM   #5
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Hi Kitchenelf,

Although you can bake the pizza directly on the stone, I tried to keep it as simple as possible, not knowing your level of experience. Placing it directly on the stone requires a peel, cornmeal and a quick wrist. Personally I have never made one directly on the stone. Three reasons: 1) It requires using cornmeal to facilitate moving the pizza around and I do not like cornmeal on my crust.
2) using cornmeal makes a mess in the oven and being a guy, well, lets just say I don't want to clean the oven each time I make a pizza (or any other time for that matter!!). 3) I make my pizzas rectangular and larger than my largest peel, so turning them on a sheet is easier. 4) I get great results doing it the way I've been doing it.

I did forget to mention one important thing in the recipe and that is the fact that the last three minutes of baking, I remove the pizza from the baking sheet and place it directly on the stone to crisp the crust. You can make the pizza on parchment paper and place it on a stone, so I am told.
I am just now beginning to discover the world of parchment paper.

Ciabatta is actually a simple bread to make, but it does require skills that take time to develop. Let's start with another simple bread that is more forgiving, one that I recommend new bakers start with. In fact this was the very first bread I made and the one that got me hooked. It is known as a Cuban bread, although no-one seems to know why. It is similar to a French bread, but does not require the shaping skills. It is also better for making sandwiches for the kids with.

Ingredients:
5-6 cups of All-purpose or bread flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp, plus 1/3 cup sugar (divided)
2 cups hot water (104-106F)
2 1/2 tsp salt

1. Sprinkle yeast on hot water and add 1/2 tsp sugar and stir gently to dissolve. Allow to stand for five minutes. A foam will appear on top of water. This is known as the bloom and lets you know the yeast is active and alive.

2. Place three cups of flour in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and add yeast mixture. Mix with paddle attachment for two minutes on low speed, stopping halfway through to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Allow to sit covered with plastic wrap for thirty minutes to two hours. Although this resting time is not necessary, it will allow the dough to develop a better depth of flavor and texture, as the flour has more time to hydrate.

3. Add in additional sugar and the salt and mix to combine. Switch to dough hook and begin working in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a ball of dough forms around the hook and the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Now here is your first and most important lesson: the more flour you add, the denser your finished product will be. It will mean the difference between a light airy loaf filled with air holes the size of rice grains,or a doorstop that even the ducks at the pond won't eat. The dough must be stiff enough to hold together into a workable dough, but not too stiff. In baking circles, we say "The wetter the better". Obviously this is something that is best demonstrated in person, however in lieu of an apprenticeship with me, you'll just have to just experiment. Be happy you have family to eat the trials..

4. Knead the dough with a dough hook for eight minutes, adding additional flour if necessary to maintain ball of dough. Kneading can also be done by hand instead.

5. Place the finished dough in an oiled bowl large enough to allow it to rise to at least double its volume and cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place (80-90 F) until doubled in volume, approx. 1 hour, depending upon temp., yeast type, humidity, etc.

6. Important lesson number two: Most recipes will say to punch down the dough to remove all the air bubbles. WRONG. Push down in the center of the dough with your fist once to deflate. Then gently reach under the dough, and lift one side of it up and stretch it over the center of the dough. Now do the same with the opposite side, then the left and right sides. Repeat this procedure once again. Doing it this way is similar to the concept of folding in egg whites in a cake batter. It will help to maintain the air bubble structure and lightness of the loaf.

7. Place loaf on a lightly floured counter top and divide into two pieces. Important lesson number three: Pick up one of the pieces with both hands and begin gently but firmly tucking the sides under the loaf while forming it into a flat bottomed , dome shaped loaf. The purpose of this is to create a surface tension which will hold the loaf together when baking. If it is not done properly, the dough will tend to flatten out during baking. Don't get frustrated with the beginning loaves. This is another one of those talents you must practice to learn. You can always just get a loaf pan, but if you want to learn to make artisan loaves, this technique must be learned.

8. Place on nonstick baking sheet and slash an X pattern on the top of each loaf. Brush lightly with what is known as a wash. Lesson four: A "wash" is a liquid that will give color or shine or flavor to the finished loaf. Washes can include: olive oil, water, egg white, egg yolk, milk, etc.

9. Place baking sheet in the middle of a COLD oven. Place a pan of hot water on the shelf below and heat the oven to 400F. As the oven temp rises, the dough will continue to rise . The water will help to set the crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Internal temp of the finished loaf will be 200F.

10. When fully baked, place loaf directly on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing, about two hours.

Note: Do your best to allow the bread to cool completely before eating. I know its difficult but it will be worth it. Everyone thinks they want hot out of the oven bread, but if you give the dough the time to cool and set up properly, it takes on a whole new, more delicious flavor.

Let me know how you make out.
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Old 12-20-2002, 12:39 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for the recipe - I will try to try it on Sunday. As to your last request - well............ my husband probably won't like me going into detail on how I make out :D :p
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:51 PM   #7
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Glad I found you, docpat

I recently began baking bread, and am enjoying it greatly. My wife is a marvelous cook, but is not interested in baking bread. So I've been having a ball. But not as much success as I'd like.
Being one of those guys who believe in reading the instructions only when all else fails, I've been going it alone, so far.

Now, reading your instrucrtions, I find I have stumbled across some of the techniques you recommend, but didn't recognize their effect, so haven't used them as I obviously should have.

Stretching and folding the dough under itself, for example. I did that a couple of times, with good results except that the bottom of the loaf was not e venly flat. But it did stand up well. Most of my loaves tend to flatten too much.

Another was working from a cold oven. All the recipes recommend a preheated oven. Out of curiousity, I tried a cold oven, and the results were great.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. I shall try your recipe tomorrow and will follow your instructions to theletter. Then, as kitchenchef has also promised, I'll post my results. Wish me luck. I'll need (Knead?) it!

P.S. When you get to Italy, post an authentic bruschetta (sp?) reciipe for me, please. I love 'em!!
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Old 02-05-2003, 12:22 PM   #8
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Hi oldcoot!

Welcome to Discuss Cooking! I still have not really had a day I could devote to bread baking. It's one of my dreams to be able to go into the kitchen and whip up a nice rustic loaf of bread.

I too love bruchetta. Our favorite way recently to make bruchetta is still make the tomato mixture the standard way, i.e. tomatoes, red onion, basil, salt/pepper, a tad of olive oil and balsamic. But before we put it on the grilled baguette we spread a thin layer of goat cheese on it. Boy is THAT great!!!!! I'm anxious to hear your results.
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Old 02-05-2003, 08:46 PM   #9
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Bruschetta

Well, jitchenshelf - thanx for the welcome - as for bruschetta, I use a much simpler approach. Grill my home made "italian" bread slice in a llittle olive oil, then rub it thoroughly with a fresh garlic clove, add thin slices of Roma tomato, chopped basil, and fresh parmesan, a tiny touch of salt and fresh cracked pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. My favorite lunch.

The "italian" bread recipe I use was kindly given to me by the chef at our favorite italian restaurant, along with some tips on baking it. But I am really anxious to try docpat's method. Probably tomorrow. Will let you know.

As for needing a day to bake bread, I don't devote much time to it. About fifteen minutes to mixing and kneading (with a Kitchen Aid mixer & dough hook). Then set it aside to ise for about an hour. Ten more minutes to punch it down and form it into a loaf, then let it rise another half hour or so. Couple of minutes to stick it in a cold oven and set the timer for 40-\50 minutes, and another couple of minutes to take it out and put it on a rack.

By the way, can photos be posted on here? If so, how, and are such desired?

Regards from an

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Old 02-05-2003, 10:00 PM   #10
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I know you can post an image - I just have to try it first - I'll get back :confused:

But, if you understand computers at all you can go to top of page, click on FAQ, scroll down to Formatting and Topic Types and click on Can I post images.

I have seen one image posted but I still don't know how to do it :(

I know HTML but that feature is not available.
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