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Thread: bread baking

  1. #1
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    bread baking

    i was wondering if anyone has a good bread recipie (white, whole weat, anything!) i'm fine at making quick breads, but i've tried a few different recipes for rising breads and they always turn out really dense and just not good. if i dont learn how to make a nice loaf of bread soon i might cry.

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  3. #2
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    Oh, I hear your frustration!! I only make yeast breads (in the oven, no breadmachine) and it's truly hit-or-miss, it seems. It always ends up edible, but sometimes it's just really dry... ugh. Although I do LIKE dense breads (the bread you buy in the store usually has so many flour conditioners or whatever in it that it's unnaturally light, and really unsubstantial. I don't like the idea of being able to flatten a slice with my fingers without even trying!).

    Anyway, here are a couple of recipes I've been playing around with lately. You can use whatever kind of flour you like (but keep in mind that whole wheat absorbs more water. I've never done ALL whole wheat before; it's usually part whole wheat and part unbleached white).

    #1.
    3 cups lukewarm water
    2 tsp. sugar
    1 pkg yeast (equals 1 TBSP -- not the instant kind)
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup oil
    flour (enough to make a smooth, elastic dough).

    Dissolve sugar in (big) bowl of lukewarm water, then add yeast and let stand for 10 minutes 'til it's all poofy-like. Add the salt and oil, then gradually, the flour. How much you use depends on what type... usually 4, 5 or more cups? keep working it with your hands until it's smooth, adding a bit of flour at a time if need be. Get in there and knead it (awesome arm workout!), then put a dot of oil in the bottom of your bowl, put the dough in, and roll it to coat. Cover with a tea towel (or the lid if it's a real old-timey bread bowl), and let rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (I use the oven, turned onto the lowest setting and then let cool a bit before putting the bowl in. After rising, punch down the dough, then cover and let rise again for another hour. Then, form into loaves. I can't remember for the life of me how many this recipe makes -- 2, 3? Depends on your pan size, too. Place in greased pans, then let rise ANOTHER 1-1 1/2 hours. Finally, bake at 375 degrees "till done", the recipe says -- I'd stay until they're beginning to get glowy and brown on top, and sound hollow when knocked on the bottom. Turn out and let cool. If you want a darker crust, brush the top with beaten egg and water before baking.

    #2.
    3 cups lukewarm water
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 TBSP yeast
    Mix these as in above recipe in a bowl. Let rise ten minutes.

    Add:
    1/2 cup oil
    2 eggs, slightly beaten
    1 to 2 tsp. salt
    1 TBSP vinegar
    6 cups (or more) flour

    As in 1st recipe... let rise w hours, punch down and then make into loaves or buns. I made these as buns once and they were amazing! Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes for buns, bread about 45 minutes or longer (this is the recipe talking, I think these times might be wonky).

    I hope that helps. I'm still searching for the perfect recipe, though...

  4. #3
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    thanks so much, i'm gonna try these very soon!

  5. #4
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    i've never made bread myself (although i really really want to; i just haven't had the time), but there are a few things you should know before you do it.

    1. you should use a high protein flour (i learned this from "cookwise" by shirley corriher, the chick who teaches alton brown about food science!). this means using flour made with northern wheat. i good brand is king arthur.

    2. you should weigh your flour and water. this is because the day's humidity will affect how much water you need. believe it or not, flour will absorb the humidity and on a dry day 1 cup will be different than on a humid day when weighed out.

    here is a great blog entry with excellent comments (make sure you read all the comments) that explains this principal:

    http://www.stuttercut.org/hungry/arc...345.php#000345

    hope this is helpful. :-)

  6. #5
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    Also, you have to knead the dough properly. If you just blend all the ingredients together the bread won't rise properly and will become dense, no matter what recipe you use. Knead it for at least a few minutes (or until your arms can't take it anymore...). I don't think you can overdo the kneading.

    Breads also need to rise for longer than you think, and it depends on the temperature as well. They can't be rushed. Some people can tell just by touching the dough if it's ready for the oven or not...I don't, but I'm sure there is information somewhere on the web... :-)

    We always use the same bread recipe (a generic one that can be used with different flours etc) and it's pretty much fool proof, but it's in metric and adapted to Swedish products, so I don't know if anyone is interested in it.

    I never weigh the flour, but as athena mentioned it's a good idea if you live in a place where humidity changes a lot, or if you have problems with the same recipe turning out differently...I'm just too lazy to weigh it. :-)


 

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