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#11 Thu 29 Apr 10 1:53am

mommyof2nc

Forum champ
Occupation Mommy, wife, chauffeur, chef, nurse, maid, occasional zookeeper...
From North Carolina, USA
Member since Thu 18 Mar 10

Re: Secrets to bread making?

I make all of our family's bread and use either bottled Spring Water or if I'm out of spring water, I use water from our filtered refrigerator water dispenser - especially, as someone else said, when I'm either feeding my sourdough starter or making bread from it. 

Also, here in the southern US, the amount of flour I need to use varies depending on how humid it is.  For example, I might use a whole cup less of flour in the wintertime as compared to when I make bread in the middle of the summer.  It just depends on how the dough feels. 

Another thing to consider is, when making whole grain bread, be sure you don't add any more flour to the dough than the recipe calls for, or you'll end up with a brick instead of decent bread.  Instead, when you're kneading the dough, just oil the kneading surface and your hands and use the oil to keep it from sticking rather than more flour.  I've found with 100% whole grain bread, it's best to keep the dough a little moister and let it rise a little longer.

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#12 Thu 29 Apr 10 2:01am

cohphanta

Forum champ
Occupation Book Seller
From Jacksonville, FL
Member since Sun 04 Apr 10

Re: Secrets to bread making?

took me over 20  years to make an edible loaf LOL.  And still sometimes it comes out wrong.

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#13 Thu 29 Apr 10 9:44am

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

mommyof2nc wrote:

Another thing to consider is, when making whole grain bread, be sure you don't add any more flour to the dough than the recipe calls for, or you'll end up with a brick instead of decent bread.  Instead, when you're kneading the dough, just oil the kneading surface and your hands and use the oil to keep it from sticking rather than more flour.  I've found with 100% whole grain bread, it's best to keep the dough a little moister and let it rise a little longer.

Totally agree with making the dough moister and rising longer. Not too sure what I think about oiling hands and surface. A well kneaded dough usually doesn't stick  to the surface and hands can be washed. But personally I don't want the oil in my otherwise oil free bread. After kneading the ball of dough comes off the surface. By then most of the sticky stuff off my hands has come off.

---

Regarding flour: Have fun experimenting with different flours! You can also use bran, groat, wheat germ, grits/semolina, etc. for part of the flour. And regarding grains, try out wheat, spelt, rye, buckwheat...... etc. They will react differently, but it is worth playing with all the different flavors and textures. Still it all depends the feel of the dough and letting it rise to the right size.

Happy baking!

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#14 Thu 29 Apr 10 9:54am

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

cohphanta wrote:

took me over 20  years to make an edible loaf LOL.  And still sometimes it comes out wrong.

Don't be discouraged by occasional setbacks. It happens to everyone wink

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#15 Thu 29 Apr 10 11:42am

That Guy

Member
Member since Mon 26 Apr 10

Re: Secrets to bread making?

Thanks everyone, there are some really good ideas here.  But the one which hasnt' been mentioned (and probably best for me) is just to ask one of you guys to bake for me! ;-)

Thanks once again!

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#16 Thu 29 Apr 10 10:26pm

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

You're more than welcome. If you have more questions keep asking. Anytime!

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#17 Tue 04 May 10 6:44pm

rcpendle

Member
Member since Tue 04 May 10

Re: Secrets to bread making?

The secret to bread?  A bread machine.

Seriously though, if you have the budget and space, they can make it much easier.

I use a heavy Kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook to mix the dough.  I let it rise only once, over 8 to 12 hours.  Then I bake it in a dutch oven at 425 (220c).

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 packet yeast
salt to taste (I use around 1 1/2 tsp)
splash of olive oil

You'll want the dough to be a bit wet.  I mix it in the mixer, then knead it in there too for a few minutes.  I drop it in an oiled bowl and let it rise for a few hours.  Then I move it to an warm, oiled dutch oven to rise again for a for a couple more hours.  Then toss it into a hot oven.  Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes.

Yes it is a process and the flour makes a difference.  I use King Arthur brand flour, but any good all purpose four works fine.

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#18 Tue 04 May 10 7:03pm

mr spice

Forum champ
Occupation Working dad...
From Germany
Member since Sat 05 Sep 09

Re: Secrets to bread making?

I've got some awesome secrets for making great bread... whistle

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#19 Wed 05 May 10 8:35pm

SusanneH

Forum champ
From Germany
Member since Mon 13 Mar 06

Re: Secrets to bread making?

rcpendle wrote:

The secret to bread?  A bread machine.

Good for you, if the machine works for you.

It doesn't for me and not for many others either:
I tend to use all or mostly whole grain flours (sorry, it's a typical German bread though), some coarsly  ground, lots of grains and seeds, and bake with sourdough. The machine would not allow for my long and slow rising times (that the natural sourdough needs) and doesn't knead a strong dough like that sufficiently.
My other issue with the machine is the shape of the loaf: a big square chunk with a whole in the bottom...
And my bread has a nicer crust than that from the machine.

But I realize that it depends on what you want. Allowed is what works for you wink

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#20 Wed 05 May 10 8:55pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Secrets to bread making?

I used a 'Beard on Bread' recipe for a completely whole grain bread, no white flour, no kneading.  It was a foolproof recipe every time and I was a rank amateur compared to the bread bakers on this forum.  If I ever get to eat gluten again, I'm going to make two breads from that book, the walnut onion and the raisin with icing.  The raisins were soaked in rum first, when that bread baked, the smell was just heavenly.

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