BREAD BAKING 101 but not FOR DUMMIES -- for SMARTIES!
Bread making is easier than it’s cooked up to be. Here are some Bread making tips from an ordinary amateur cook who had to have free or nearly free bread cuz she and the four kids ate so much of it, and she had to learn the secrets of the great bakers because she loved to experiment and wasn’t going to use recipes. (meaning I just do it by instinct.) What taught me about bread making was just being observant when I started out with recipes, making it, and seeing what the steps involved were. Got them down, then stopped using books.
SECRET #1- GOOD DOUGH IS GLUTENOUS DOUGH. I noted that adding a quarter cup of gluten flour to my WHOLE GRAIN dough made for a more elastic, higher rising loaf. Healthfood store has it. Sometimes you accidentally buy “bread flour” which has a lot of gluten in it. A glutenous on the natch type of wheat. But most supermarkets don’t have that.I AM NOT SAYING that gluten is good for your health. IT CLOGS. But great bread has GLUTEN STRETCH .
SECRET #2 USE DOUBLE THE AMT OF YEAST that recipe calls for as half of it's dead anyway. And let the dead half go down the sink. Yes, you’ll really only end up using the exact amount as half of it’s gray water, and bitter. Here’s how you so it. “ PROOF” the yeast in stove heated, PURIFIED spring WATER (not faucet H20 with chlorine) Add some sugar or honey to the water so it’s conducive to yeast growth. LET your yeast powder SIT 15-20 min. . THEN, and only then, take the FOAM, scoop it off with a tablespoon. LEAVE THE dead gray bitter water and dead yeast below in the water.Throw it out or put it in a dish to leave overnight until it makes its own second foam. The dead gray yeast-water makes bread taste bad. In the end, you are really using HALF of the two pcgs yeast, which is the real amt. that recipe specified. But you’re using THE LIVE HALF!
SECRET #3- WARM THOSE LIQUIDS A LITTLE- You wouldn’t want to climb into an ice cold bath, would you? Well yeast is alive, and it doesn’t like it either. Milk, potato water, broth, or water, should be at room temp to give bread a running start with the yeast brewing WARMTH ISSUE. In the case of MILK, you must sterilize the milk first, bring it nearly to a boil, turn off fire, and bring it back down to body temperature.
THEN, Stir in the dry ingredients, different grains, corn meal, barley, oats, lentils that were cooked and mashed, some heavy rye flour, some sesame seeds. You might want brown sugar or honey for a slightly sweet bread. Or garlic and olives for a savory bread. You might experiment with whole grains triterated as BIBLE BREAD. HEALTHFOODERS BELIEVE in using sprouted grains not milled flours. They leave whole grains overnight in water, thusly sprouting them. Then they “vitamix” them. (that’s a triterating machine,) Doesn't have to ALL be sprouted grains but say half?Buy a vitamix machine if you can. Pour your liquids and the PUFF PART of yeast into the dry ingredients, stir well with a strong big handled spoon, wooden or steel. A flimsy spoon will bend with the weight of that much dough.
SECRET # 4 GIVE IT A WARM NAP. The FIRST RISE should be a couple of hours to make sure the PHYTIC ACID which is in all grains (and is in the flour still as it isn't sprouted) is dissipated. PHYTIC ACID causes excretion of our minerals. So for health, all bread making should entail at least two hours of the first rising. It’s done in a warm, moist place.
SECRET #4- YOU KNEAD TO STRETCH THE DOUGH! You don’t pound, the idea is to stretch, or really move the dough into long strands, elongate it as much as possible, this will DEVELOP THE GLUTEN. The strong baker will do this for a good five minutes, then will put a loaf size lump into each greased, floured bread pan.
SECRET #5 THE SECOND RISING! This is done in the loaf pan or on a heavy bread sheet. Again, done in a warm moist place in the kitchen or laundry is perfect, especially while the dryer’s going.
SECRET #6- HIT IT WITH BOTH BARRELS, HEAT WISE. The OVEN has to be very hot, 425. HIT IT WITH THAT HEAT so the dough 'freezes' in position. The crust goes WHAMMY hard as a rock. Then, lower heat, after say 5 min, to 325 or 350 tops, you don't want to burn it. And cook until done.
NEVER put dough into a slow oven. The yeast will be killed and your dough mass will fall. You have to BURN IT HARD SO FAST that although the yeast DIES and the puff might have fallen but it can't for the CRAB SHELL type crust hardens. And the hard crust won't let the loaf fall down.
If you have all the above concepts hard wired into your brain, you can make bread without a recipe for the rest of your life.
I used to make a four loaf thing, whole wheat, that had ONE WHOLE BOX OF BROWN SUGAR IN IT. Sweeter than normal bread, but drove people crazy. A LB box! DARK BROWN OR LIGHT. Didn't matter. It also had ONE entire QUART OF MILK in it AND 2 cubes of butter melted. WHEN YOU USE MILK, you have to bring it to a frizz (almost a boil) to kill the microbes in it, say sterilization temp, then cool it to dough temp to use that milk. You couldn't put milk with all the microbes it has into it, into a two hour rising of dough. It would be problematic. Go weird on you. So you always had to sterilize the milk first. And cool it. Or it kills the yeast! Burns it!
Knowing these things you can grab anything and make bread. POTATO water is good liquid for bread, they use it in Germany with rye. RYE FLOUR by itself is soooooo heavy . It has to be mixed with wheat.
I always cooled finished bread and immediately wrapped (plastic bag, real tight or foil or both) and froze most of it, just left ONE loaf out for that week.
The one thing I haven't tried, having no vita-mix grinder, is bible bread. CLICK THERE you can see recipes I dug up from master bakers. It’s FLOUR FREE. Just soaked, rinsed grain. You soak the grain overnight, when it's sprouting, you rinse it, then grind it. The VITA MIX GRINDER costs an arm and a leg and people who have to bake their own bread usually can’t afford it until after a few years of baking your own. You’ve saved so much money that you can afford one!
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