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Subject: rec.food.sourdough FAQ basicbread

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Archive-name: food/sourdough/basicbread Posting-Frequency: 18 days Last-modified: 1997/10/27 URL: http://www.nyx.net/~dgreenw/sourdoughfaqs.html
Basic.bread.faq.10-93 Frequently Asked Questions on Bread Making Prepared for David Adams's Sourdough Mailing List LAST CHANGED 02/18/92 Edited by John Trinterud - Comprising an introductory and commentary on the manual method of bread making, with an emphasis on commercial yeast recipes. Once you feel comfortable with the basics of bread making, reveling in the successes and learning from typical mistakes, we'll turn you back over to the lore & mystique of the sourdough mailing list. - All corrections, differing opinions and views are most welcome, but bread making is not a science, nor should it have rigid parameters. Much of the joy in bread making is the treat to the senses, the tactile feedback from a living thing, and the delight in sharing the results with friends and family. Table of Contents Section (I) Raw Materials Section (II) Beginning Tools Section (III) Beginning Recipes and Suggested Techniques Section (IV) Debugging Typical Problems Section (V) Beginning Options, Additions and Variations Section (VI) Reference Material & Resources Section (VII) Beginning Toys for the Compleate Baker (sic) ___________________________________________________________________________ Section (I) Raw Materials At its simplest, bread consists of yeast, water and flour. We've added and subtracted ingredients over time to create everything from anadama and brioche to lefse, naan and injera, but the basic materials remain the same. Yeasts Yeast is a living thing, a plant/fungus whose preferred food happens to be gluten, the protein portion of wheat flour. It feeds and multiplies on the gluten, starches and sugars you provide, and produces carbon dioxide. This gas becomes trapped in the stretchy gluten components of the flour, and causes the entire mass to rise. Some flours have high gluten content, and work well for bread. Other brands, notably the so-called "pastry flour," is more finely milled from softer wheat, and not intended for bread baking. I can't imagine a yeasty pie crust made from high gluten flour, rising nicely over the top of the plate and pushing the apples out, or worse, chewy and flat. Low gluten pastry flour works admirably for pie crusts and products that don't need to rise - but not for our purposes. In this FAQ, and for those of you starting out, I recommend buying commercial yeast - strips of three envelopes are available in almost any grocery store. Each envelope contains about 2/3 of a tablespoon of yeast, one or two of these are just right for many bread recipes. You may also find cakes of yeast in the cheese or lunchmeat section, but they're probably more trouble to use than the envelopes. Typical brands are "Red Star" and "Fleischmanns," and are usually grown commercially on molasses substrates. If you become serious about bread making, try and find a good 'health food' store, or bulk food store nearby. You can usually find yeast in bulk, and many types of flour and other ingredients at better prices. Mail order is also available, but quite expensive. Check the 'pull date' on the yeast envelopes to make sure you're not buying old product - we'll "proof" it to be on the safe side. "Proofing yeast" is a simple process, and means just what the name implies. You run a bit of warm water, usually about 1/4 cup, into a large warm bowl, add a small amount of sweetener (white/brown sugar, molasses, honey, etc) for the yeasties to feed on, and sprinkle the yeast into the mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to help the yeast dissolve - now wait 5 to 10 minutes. The 'proof' the yeast is working will be obvious - the mixture will thicken and tend to rise a bit - proving the yeast is viable. If you use hot water, more than about 115 F, you'll kill the yeast and prove the opposite. Too cold, and the yeast refuses to get up, just like you'd like to do on cold mornings. To be safe, run the water over your wrist like you'd do for a baby's bottle. If it's comfortably warm this way, it should work just fine. Warm the bowl up the same way. When you go back to sourdough starters and cultures, 'proofing' will be similar - you're encouraging and verifying the vitality of your leavening agent. Flour A wide range of flours are available commercially, white, whole wheat, oat, triticale, rye, pumpernickle, soy, gluten, etc. If you're beginning, try and find an unbleached white flour such as Stone-Buhr, rather than simply picking up a bag of Gold Medal. I've not had much luck with Gold Medal or its ilk, the bread tends to come out soft and flavorless. Stone-Buhr comes in 5 pound packages, in whole wheat and white, and makes good beginners bread. You should also check for a good 'health food' store in your vicinity, and ask what they have to offer. Mary Shafer, (shafer@ra.dfrf.nasa.gov) one of my favorite net-people, (and NASA Dryden's best baker!) made another good point on flour selection commenting on a recently posted biscuit recipe: > Buttermilk Biscuits > 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used high-gluten or sometimes sapphire) " Don't use high-gluten flour for biscuits; it makes them a little tough. Use all-purpose flour instead. The national milling companies even make the all-purpose flour sold in the South lower gluten than that sold elsewhere, because so many Southerners use it for biscuits. Also, don't handle the dough any more than you have to, as this will also make them tough. You want just barely enough structure to hold the CO2 in. " <end Mary's quoted material> I buy hard-wheat high gluten white flour in bulk, 15 to 20 pounds at a time, and grind my own whole wheat, rye, oat and triticale flours. We'll talk about mills in a later section, but they're unnecessary for a beginner. Your first task is to find good quality, high gluten content, unbleached bread flour. ___________________________________________________________________________ Section (II) Beginning Tools Bowls for mixing and rising For the beginner, metal or even plastic bowls work just fine. When you go back to sourdough, you'll need to stay away from any type of metal containers, measuring cups, spoons, and etc - you'll damage or kill the culture. One additional disadvantage of typical stainless steel bowls, warm water tends to cool very quickly in them. I have used a large teflon lined spagetti pot/stock pot many times for rising 3 loaves of whole wheat bread, and a heavy duty plastic small washtub-like container for mixing. Pottery bowls are best if you don't mind the investment, but beware of the weight and handling them with wet or greasy hands. A good sized mixing and rising bowl(s) will hold 3 to 4 quarts. Mats Wichmann (mats@netcom.com) has another thought on mixing bowls: "Regarding mixing bowls, the problem with plastic is that it scratches, and as a result, becomes rather hard to keep clean. I find Pyrex to be a nice choice; it weighs less than a ceramic bowl of the same size, and it tends to have a lip which makes it easier to hang onto with greasy hands (of course, it's not that easy to find a *large* Pyrex bowl, and even it gets heavy)." Wooden spoons Do yourself a favor now, and find some sturdy wooden spoons. If you skimp and buy cheap and flimsy ones, they'll break when you apply a modest bit of torque while mixing dough. You'll use them to begin the mixing process, and then your hands to finish. Do remember to take your rings off before making bread - you can't believe the mess you'll make of them otherwise! Bread Knives Try and find a serrated edge knife to slice bread - they work much better, and you won't crush the slices or smush the loaf. Baking Pans You can find perfectly adequate loaf pans quite cheaply. Check in many grocery and discount stores - glass is nice but expensive and fragile, while aluminum or coated steel pans are easy to care for. One particular brand has a dark non-stick coating and works quite nicely, they also offer cookie sheets and etc. You may find several sizes, let's stick with the 'standard' loaf pans measuring roughly 8 by 4, or 9 by 5 inches. Stay out of Williams-Sonoma and the mail order wish books for now. See the section on beginning toys.... Measuring cups and spoons, and misc Find yourself a set of simple nesting measuring spoons, and two types of measuring cups, one for liquid, and one for dry ingredients. This may seem petty, but its hard to measure flour in a typical pyrex glass measuring cup that has the line well below the rim. A simple metal or even plastic cup that holds exactly 1 cup, or 1/2 cup, etc when full to the rim works well with dry ingredients. Add a rubber spatula to scrape out the bowl, and a pastry brush or small 1 inch wide CLEAN, NEW :-) soft paintbrush and you're all set. Work Surface A large sized pull-out breadboard on a countertop works best, dampen a kitchen towel and put it under the board to prevent sliding. If you don't have a breadboard in your kitchen, you can also tape a pillowcase or a flat textured dish towel (NOT terrycloth) down to your counter with lots of masking tape around the perimeter, and rub an abundant amount of flour into the weave of the fabric. If all else fails, make certain the countertop is spotlessly clean, and use it! You WILL make a mess, you WILL have flour on the floor, the tip of your left ear will always itch when you have both hands full of sticky dough, and if you wear glasses, they WILL slide down your nose at the most inopportune time. Relax and enjoy the process, and be patient - it will rise, and it will taste wonderful. ___________________________________________________________________________ Section (III) Beginning Recipes and Suggested Techniques I'm going to suggest you follow the basic approach outlined in the Tassajara Bread Book, and we'll work from Beard on Bread's basic white bread recipe. Basic White Bread (From Beard on Bread) (1 large loaf 9x5 pan, or 2 8x4 loaves) Ingredients 1 package yeast 1 3/4 Cups warm water 2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon salt (I use less salt in any recipe) 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour, or just over 1 pound softened margerine for bowl and loaf pans In a 2 to 3 quart bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the warm water, add the sugar and stir gently for a minute or so. Remember how I described yeast proofing? OK, wait for the yeast to proof and then proceed. Mix in about half of the flour with a wooden spoon one cup at a time, but don't add the salt yet. Take your time and make certain the flour is well incorporated, don't leave lumps. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and put in a warm place till doubled in size and nice & bubbly. This will usually take about an hour - don't rush things - this is a relaxed thing you're doing!! Sprinkle the salt around the top, and add another cup of flour with your hands (you DID remember to take your rings off??) mixing until the dough holds together. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto your floured work surface Sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour over the dough and we'll begin the kneading process. Knead with the heels of your floured hands, not your fingertips. Try and push the dough away from you, then fold the back half over the front, turn a quarter turn in either direction and continue. This cannot be easily described in text, so refer to the books we've recommended, and learn by doing. Try not to add too much flour, but don't treat the dough gently, you're trying to encourage the gluten and make certain the ingredients are throughly mixed. Put your weight into it, not your just your arm muscles, put on some music with a good beat and get with the program! If you have small hands, try using both to knead. Kneading times and the amount of extra flour needed will vary by recipe, temperature and humidity, experience level and phases of the moon ( :-) ) The dough will take on a suppleness and elasticity, loosing the sticky texture you started with - the process is quite magical. When it's 'done', push your finger tips into the mass, it will spring back - that's the effect of gluten. Coat the dough with a bit of margerine, and put it in a bowl. Cover as before, and place in a warm spot - on top of the refrigerator, or in a draft-free space on your counter. I have good luck placing the bowl in our electric oven(s), I just turn the interior light on. Allow the dough to double in size, usually 1 to 2 hours. If you don't understand the concept of doubling, pour 4 cups of water in the bowl first, then add another 4 cups and note the difference. Dump the water out, dry and butter the bowl, then let the dough rise till doubled in size. It will be ready when you push your fingertips in and the dough DOES NOT spring back. Butter one or two of your loaf pans, then take the dough out, marveling at the changed texture and feel of it, and put it back on the floured work surface. Punch it down, flattening it and knead it for a few minutes as you did previously. Shape it into a rough cylinder about as long as your bread pan, and let it rest for a few minutes. Transfer it carefully into the pan, smooth the top out. Cover the loaf pan(s) as you did before, and let it double in size again. The second rising will usually take less time, keep an eye on it every half hour or so. Preheat the oven - 350 degrees. Brush the dough gently with cold water, and make 2 or 3 diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch deep across its surface with a sharp knife. When the oven is ready, place the pan in the middle of rack, in the lower third of the oven. Set a timer for 35 minutes, but be aware it may take a bit longer. To test doneness, rap the loaf with your knuckles, it should sound hollow. Turn the loaf out into a towel in your hand, and rap the bottom. You can put the bread directly back on the rack and continue baking, but watch it carefully. When the bottom seems done (sounds hollow) take the loaf out and allow it to cool. Defend yourself from the throng of "Fiendish Butter Slathers" that magically appeared in the kitchen just when you took the bread out of the oven. Honest, it will taste just as good when it's had time to cool a bit, and it will slice cleanly. Congratulate yourself! You did it! Now, for heaven's sakes, clean up the flour and the mess you made of the kitchen! ___________________________________________________________________________ Section (IV) Debugging Typical Problems If the bread sags, and is soggy, you probably had too much liquid and not enough kneading. Work in a bit more flour and knead longer. If it tastes damp, it may have not baked long enough. Check your oven temperature, or start with a lower setting and let it cook longer. If it's REALLY flat and doughy tasting, or you see streaks of raw dough in the slices, the second rising was probably too long and the bread collapsed under the heat. Watch the second rising, don't let the loaves rise so high before baking. If your slices seem doughy or have small lumps, it wasn't mixed properly. Try holding back on the flour and knead more throughly. ___________________________________________________________________________ Section (V) Beginning Options, Additions and Variations If you're the type that likes raisins, why not knead in a half cup or so just as you're finishing the initial kneading process? Another variation is to add shortening and milk to improve the texture and make the bread richer in taste. Notice M'Linda Taylor's procedures are simpler (she's another beginner!,) and will work just fine when you gain confidence in your techniques. Basic Milk-based Bread (adapted from Fanny Farmer) M'Linda Taylor mlinda@novell.com Gently heat 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons butter/margarine, ~1 teaspoon salt ~1 tablespoon sugar. (I don't use measuring spoons). You should still be able to stick your finger in this without burning yourself. Put this in a large mixing bowl and stir in 3 or 4 cups of flour and 1 packet of yeast (I use quick rise). Stir in more flour to make up to a total of 6 cups. You want a somewhat soft dough at this point. Turn this out into a buttered (oiled or whatever) bowl (large enough for the dough to double in size) turn once to coat the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and set somewhere warm to rise. (I turn on my oven to low while I get it to this stage, then turn it off so it doesn't get too hot) When doubled, "punch" down and turn out onto well floured surface to knead...incorporating more flour as needed. (You want a somewhat "soft" dough to get a nice light texture). Divide into two loafs, place in oiled pans and let rise until doubled in size (at least to the top of the pans) turn oven on to 350 and let bake for about a 1/2 hour or until brown. Turn out on cooling racks and avoid temptation of slicing until cool (otherwise it will be gummy and you will think you haven't baked them long enough...I KNOW about this part!) You could probably use 2 cups of milk and no water in this recipe. Here's a few more variations, with increasing complexity ************ Sesame Bread ************ [adapted from a recipe on the back of a Pillsbury Flour package] Golden Sesame Loaves 5 cups bread flour 1/2 cup instant dry milk 1/2 cup oat bran 1/2 cup toasted sesame seed 1 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. sugar 2 tbsp. active dry yeast 1 3/4 cup water 1/4 cup oil 1/4 cup honey 1 egg 1 beaten egg white 1 tbsp. untoasted sesame seed Combine 2 cups flour, dry milk, oat bran. toasted sesame seed, salt, sugar, and yeast in mixing bowl, blend well. In small saucepan, mix water, oil, and honey and heat until very warm. Add to flour mixture along with egg. Blend until mixed, then gradually add remaining flour until dough pulls cleanly from sides of bowl. On floured countertop, knead dough until elastic, about 10 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, and cover loosely with towel. Let sit in warm area until doubled, about 1 hour. Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. Punch down dough several times to remove air bubbles. Divide dough and shape into balls. Let sit covered for 15 minutes. Roll out dough into rectangles with the shortest side slightly shorter than the longer dimension of the loaf pan. Roll up the dough, pinching edges to seal, and place in loaf pan. Set in warm place until dough has risen enough to fill pan, about 45 minutes. Heat oven to 350 F. Brush tops of dough with egg white, and sprinkle on untoasted sesame seed. Place in oven, and bake until loaves sound hollow when tapped, about 35 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. aem -- aem@mthvax.cs.miami.edu ....................................................... You are what you watch. - The Media Foundation *********** squaw.bread *********** 1 package yeast 1 Tablespoon brown sugar 2 cups bread flour 1 cup rye flour 0.25 cup nonfat dry milk 1.5 teaspoon salt Wet ingredients: 1.25 cup warm water 2.75 Tablespoon oil 2 Tablespoon honey 2 Tablespoon raisins 2 Tablespoons brown sugar To make in a bread machine: combine wet ingredients in a bowl. stir. Put dry ingredients in machine in order. Put in wet ingredient mix. select "white bread" setting. press start. To make by hand: Mix ingredients. knead. let rise. punch down. knead. put in two medium loaf pans (about 8x4x2) bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Source: DAK Bread machine advertising pamphlet. I've tried it. It is good. -- -- David Phillip Oster - Note new address. Old one has gone Bye Bye. -- oster@well.sf.ca.us = {backbone}!well!oster ********** crt.alaska ********** Recipe below is from my wife's collection of Alaska recipes, and is the bread served at the Bridge Restaurant in Anchorage... Both the cracked wheat and whole wheat flour are ground in our Excalibur Flour Mill - I use hard red winter wheat berries. You can substitute whole wheat flour for the cracked wheat and it will work just fine. This is about as simple a recipe as you'll find, and is a good introduction to whole wheat bread. Cracked Wheat Bread For 3 loaves (you DO have enough loaf pans, don't you?) 4 1/2 cups warm water 1/4 cup honey/molasses (to taste, molasses makes the bread darker) 2 tablespoons yeast 3 cups cracked wheat (or 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour) 3 cups white flour 2 tablespoons salt 3 cups whole wheat flour white and whole wheat flour for kneading Add yeast to warm water in large bowl or heavy pot (I use the spagetti pot) Add honey/molasses and stir to dissolve. Add cracked wheat and white flour, mixing well between cups. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in the oven with the light on. When doubled and bubbling, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt on top, and add 3 cups of whole wheat flour, mixing by hand. Scrape out on a floured board and knead in additional white flour as required. (I usually knead in a mixture of white and whole wheat flour) Place the kneaded dough in a large buttered bowl, or back in the pot, cover and let it rise till doubled. Shape loaves and place in bread pans. Cover and let rise again till doubled. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, remove from pans and place on a cooling rack. Spray the loaves with cold water, on top and sides, put back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes. This is an excellent bread, consistently good results. Tastes wonderful with homemade Mango / Lime jam - we usually bake every other Saturday and it barely lasts two weeks. Freezes very well too... John Trinterud One last recipe, this looks like fun! ************** Two Tone Bread ************** 2 pkg. active dry yeast 2 1/2 cups milk, scalded and cooled 1/2 cup warm water 5-5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 3 Tbs. dark molasses 1/3 cup shortening, melted 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour 1 Tbs. salt Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, salt and milk. Mix until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add about 3 cups of all-purpose flour and beat well, about 5 minutes. Divide dough in half. To one half, stir in enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead til smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. Place in a well greased bowl, turning once to grease surface; set aside. To the remaining dough, stir in molasses and whole wheat flour. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes, kneading in enough additional all-purpose flour to form a moderately stiff dough. Place in a well greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover both doughs with damp towels, and let rise till double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Punch down. Cover and let rest on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. Roll out half the light dough and half the dark, each to a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Place dark atop light; roll up tightly, beginning at short side. Repeat with other halves. Place in two greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Cover, and let rise till double in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes. Bake at 375 deg. F. for 30-35 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and let cool on wire rack. <net-author regretfully lost> David Adams (dadams@cray.com) made these comments on typical ingredients and techniques in bread recipes... Salt: Hardens the gluten, and acts as a check on the growth rate of the yeast. Oil or Fat: Conditions the dough. Helps it to rise well. "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" indicates that real butter, not melted but solid grated bits, kneaded into the dough toward the end of the kneading process will lubricate the gluten and help it rise as no other oil or fat can do. See "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" for more information on how to make your loaf rise well and be a fluffy light loaf. Slashes: After you have done every trick in the book for making the loaf rise and fluff up, if you expect it to give some oven spring, or fluff even further in the beginning moments in the oven, slashes provide the dough some more room to spread out. You really need to learn every trick in the book first. Moisture or humidity: This will keep cracks from forming in the dough while the bread is rising. This prevents some of the gasses in the dough from escaping. This helps the dough to rise well. In the oven this is true to a lesser extent. Check the net for more suggestions, a.e. mossberg's huge archives of rec.food.recipes, and the suggested bread books for more ideas. Enjoy the process and the results, bread making is so satisfying to the heart and soul! ___________________________________________________________________________ Section (VI) Reference Material & Resources Bread Books "Beard on Bread" James Beard Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0-394-47345-0 Perhaps my personal favorite next to the Tassajara book, and the best section on helpful hints and trouble shooting. Good recipes, and I've modified some of them for sourdough with good results. Highly Recommended "Bountiful Bread Basics to Brioches" Lynn Kutner Great American Cooking Schools ISBN 0-941034-03-8 I found this small paperback in a (Berkeley) used book store, a wonderful source BTW, try and find one near you. The recipes are noteworthy for including potato as an ingredient, promoting a moist loaf with excellent crumb/texture, and improved keeping qualities. The book also has a reasonable help section, but her techniques for slowing up yeast dough rising times, and long term preparation are confusing at best. Kinda lukewarm recommendation, don't spend a fortune trying to find it. "Sunset Cook Book of Breads" Sunset Magazine SBN 274 ?? I started with this one in the '70s, and still use it today. The egg twist will make you a hero, and is fun to make. I had no luck with their sourdough starter recipe, your mileage may vary. Highly Recommended "The Book of Whole Foods, Nutrition & Cuisine" Karen MacNeil Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-74012-2 An exhaustive collection of food and diet information, with good background information on raw materials, flours and etc. Good source, but far more than a bread book Recommended, but not mandatory for a beginner "The Grains Cookbook" Bert Greene Workman Publishing ISBN 0-89480-612-2 A wonderful book on grains cookery of all kinds, written with tongue firmly in cheek. Excellent discussions on grains, historical data, typical uses, and etc. Recipes from all over the world. Highly Recommended (Reviewed by Lynn Alford) cplma@marlin.jcu.edu.au The Tassajara Bread Book by E. Brown Whenever I hear someone saying that they would like to learn how to make their own bread, this is always the first book that I suggest. Perhaps because it was this book that convinced me that I could bake bread. The first thing you will find in the Tassajara Bread Book is a description of ingredients (flours, yeast, milk, eggs and oil) that can be added to bread dough, and what they will do for your bread. The second section in the book is 'General Directions for Tassajara Basic Yeasted Bread'. This is the section most needed by new bread bakers. It goes through the bread making procedure, step by step, and there are even illustrations to help you through. All of the later recipes are based on this one. What I really like about this is that he tries to take some of the mysteries out of making bread. Instead of just telling you to knead x number of times, or for x number of minutes, he describes what the dough should be doing when it has been kneaded properly. You will also find the mysteries of shaping loaves, and rolls of different types, explained. The next section of the book consists of a number of yeasted breads, based on the basic recipe, with a variety of flours, seeds, and other things added to the dough. Each recipe is preceded by a quick description of what the bread will be like. The next section is yeasted pastry, also based on the basic yeast bread recipe. As he says in the intro to Cinnamon Rolls 'What a revelation, making cinnamon rolls for the first time.' Then comes other recipes. There is a section for unyeasted bread, one on sourdough bread (though sourdough fanatics may disagree with one of his methods for making a sourdough starter), one on breakfast stuff (including pancakes, popovers, scones, and biscuits), one on muffins and quick breads (we use the basic muffin recipe regularly), and the last section is on desserts. A good book, that you will use again and again. I find that no matter which bread recipe I use (i.e. from other sources), I always use the method from the basic Bread recipe in this book. Highly Recommended (Reviewed by Lynn Alford) cplma@marlin.jcu.edu.au Bread Winners Too Mel London A bread book that makes for entertaining reading, along with many good recipes. Bread Winners Too is actually by a lot of people. There are 50 featured bread bakers, with their favorite recipes. Each baker (most if not all of whom are not professional cooks) gets a brief biography and then the recipes they contributed to the book. It is interesting to read the many techniques people use when baking bread. I think it shows that yeast isn't nearly as picky about things as some books would have you believe. There is an introductory section about baking bread, on various flours, and on other additions you can make to the bread. Then a brief section on utensils, some non-rules of baking like 'remember that recipe amounts are approximate and should be used as a preliminary guide. Flour measurements will vary upon weather, altitude, type and leavener.' Another short section on general rules for baking bread, such as mixing, kneading and rising the dough. And then a vast array of breads. Recommended (Reviewed by David Adams) dadams@cray.com Laurel's Kitchen Breadbook The expirement for this week was making the "Loaf for Learning" from Laurel's Kitchen Breadbook. This is a book with an attitude! I learned a lot. Since someone else has already submitted a book review for this book, I am only posting my experience. This book was written by a vegetarian, but it is not preachy. It simply is operating under the assumption that you need all of the protein of whole grain, which is a more urgent fact for one on a vegetarian diet. I am not a vegetarian, but I still would like to learn to bake well with whole grains. The book promisses to help you learn to make a light fluffy well risen loaf of whole grain wheat bread without any added gluten or white flour. I was somewhat skeptical when I checked the book out of the local library, sure our ancestors only worked with whole wheat, but then somehow I had the notion that they made these dense loaves, and that was why they were only to happy to convert to the use of processed flour. I was wrong! Dead wrong. The book really came through on its promise! I followed the instructions for the "Loaf for learning" and I kept saying to myself, this is never going to work, it is going to come out flat and dense, just like all the loaves I have ever made, but what the... I'll try what they say. I kneaded and kneaded. I let it rise, and deflated, and rounded, and folded, and let it rise, and deflated and rounded and folded again. I had a difficult time with the shaping, and then I let it rise for the third time in the loaf pan. The shape was ugly, due to my ackwardness, but I was dumbfounded at how well it rose, and for the third time! Well I baked it and it came out light like a sponge; not heavy like all the other bread I had ever made. It had puffy holes, evenly distributed. I could not believe this texture! There was no crumbling or cracking like always happens when we used to bake whole wheat with active dry yeast. The crust was thin and crisp and flaky. It somehow reminded me of Vietnamese egg rolls, how the thin wrapper flakes and cracks. I had added no gluten, nor any white flour. All the flour came freshly from my home stored hard red winter wheat, using my own flour mill. And in the process I learned an awful lot. I learned that when I have kneaded enough I should be able to stretch the dough paper thin without ripping it. I learned that I always make my dough to heavy-- not wet enough. I learned that yeast ripens the gluten, and that I need to learn how to tell when it is ripe. I used to think that the yeast was consuming nutrients from the wheat, nutrients that I would otherwise have used. I came to realize that this was another mistaken notion. Wheat has many nutrients locked up in forms that I cannot use until yeast unlocks the structures that have stored them. Yeast has an enzyme (lets see if I can spell it-- amalyse?) that breaks starch into sugar, and other enzymes that break protein into usable parts. Our symbiotic relationship with yeast (and lactobacilli for that matter too I suppose) goes much deeper than I had ever previously supposed. One of the major ingredients to making a fluffy loaf, I learned, is time. And this was inspite of the fact that I was using active dry yeast. It took time for the yeast to process the flour, ripen the gluten, and unlock nutrients. All in all I spent about 6 hours in the kitchen making this loaf. (I was reading about the process while the dough was rising.) Then, when my wife had a taste she said, "Oh, I can make a better loaf." Grrr.........! Well she has a different set of criteria that determines what makes a good loaf I guess. I know she can't make a light and fluffy loaf from 100% whole wheat. Now as I recall, when I first bit into the loaf, it seemed to me that it had a residual waxy taste. Not bitter, but it was a suprise to tase bread that had been so thouroughly processed by yeast. I was so used to home-baked whole wheat bread that had only risen once. After a couple of hours, that taste had made such an impression that I didn't want to go back to the old "fresh ground wheat" taste. So far the portion of this book that I have read has made such an impression on me that I intend to make it a part of my own library. (First I have to find out what it costs.) I highly recommend the book. -david adams dadams@cray.com Cathy Gearhart adds: exucsge@s16a15.ericsson.se I agree with what you (dadams@cray.com) said about the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It is wonderful and I have also made her (Laurel's) Loaf for Learning from my own freshly ground (still warm from the mill) 100% whole wheat flour. Until one follows her techniques, though, it is easy to think that the only way to make light whole wheat bread is to add white flour. I also recommend her Buttermilk Bread and the Oatmeal Bread is fabulous. Keep on baking! Cathy :) Highly Recommended ________________________________________________________________ Section (VII) Beginning Toys for the Compleate Baker (sic) I'll need everyone's help in this section. If you truly enjoy bread making, here's some resources. I'll also note mail order sources, but they're un-verified (i.e. phone numbers questionable, out of business) Mixers Kitchenaid (I own a 20 year old one. Mom passed it down to me) Bosch Bread Pans Chicago Metal Baker's Secret Antiques (Mom's, Grandma's) Misc Implements Oven Tiles Pottery raising bowls Peels Pizza Stones Dough (breadboard) Scrapers Go to any paint or hardware store, find a 5 or 6 inch wide sheet rock broadknife. Compare the price to an 'official' baker's scraper in the mail order catalogs. A broadknife works just fine for me. Grain Mills K-TEC Mills toll free number 1-800-748-5400 Excalibur Flour Mills wooden cased kits, 5 inch stones, 1/2 HP motor for about $ 250.00 I own one and am very satisfied. My health food store has run many hundreds of pounds of grains thru their Excalibur Mill. For info, call Killer Baits Co. (also make fishing lures) Sacramento CA 916 381-4274 Magic Mill Mail Order Sources Arrowhead Mills, Inc Birkett Mills Box 866 PO Box 440-A Hereford, TX 79045 Penn Yan NY 14527 (806) 364-0730 (315) 536-3391 Organically grown whole Buckwheat and stone ground grains, catalog avail flours, price list avail Butte Creek Mill Commodities Box 561 117 Hudson St Eagle Point, OR 97524 New York, NY 10013 (503) 826-3531 (212) 334-8330 Rolled grains, stone ground Whole grains, flours, etc flours, bran Gray's Gristmill Great Valley Mills PO Box 422 687 Mill Road Adamsville, RI 02801 Telford, PA 18969 (617) 636-6075 (215) 256-6648 Variety of stone ground Full line stone ground flours flours Morgan's Mills New Hope Mills Inc Route 2, Box 115 RR2, Box 269A Union, ME 04862 Moravia, NY 13119 (207) 783-4054 (315) 497-0783 Large variety of flours Water ground flours Walnut Acres White Lily Foods Company Penns Creek, PA 17862 PO Box 871 (717) 837-3874 Knoxville, TN 37901 Grains, flours, catalog avail (615) 546-5511 Unbleached bread flour, price list avail King Arthur Flour Company (sorry, I've lost their address) Nice catalog of baking needs and flours Commercial Restaurant Supply Stores Check in your Yellow Pages under restaurant supply, call and ask if they'll sell retail - most will and the quality is remarkably higher and the price lower than the gourmet speciality "shoppes." Beware, places like this have been known to extract large sums of money from tyros like me :-) I haven't been able to convince Colene that my bread would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it was baked in a Wolf Range oven.... But these stores have so many lovely accessories and kitchen toys! "Gourmet" / Speciality Stores Williams-Sonoma (And no, you really don't need their customized green KitchenAid mixer at their high price, or do you?? ) Lehmans This commentary from Anne & Heather Booth started when I was looking for a old-fashioned hand operated kneading pail. Here's my kind of 'speciality' store! >As to kneading large amounts of dough (I can manage 3 to 4 by hand) - I've >been looking at a simple old-fashioned kneading pail sold mail order by the >King Arthur Flour Company - around $ 60.00. Imagine a large stainless steel >pail, with a tripod spider on top, equipped with a handle that turns a bread >hook inside the pail. > My family had one of these when I was a kid that we used to make 8-12 loaves at a time. Great invention. Are you aware that Lehman's has this sort of kneading device for $30-40. There are two models and I don't remember the exact prices, but I'm pretty sure it's significantly under $60. Here's an article with their address: -Anne Lehman's Non-Electric "Good Neighbor" Heritage Catalog has a push mower and other useful non-electric tools. They serve the Amish community in Ohio and have everything that you would expect: iron pans, butchering tools, canning and drying equipment, hand-cranked grain mills, (big) toy windmills, yogurt-making kits, butter churns, and much more. The catalog was fun to read. To get the catalog send $2.00 to : Lehman's P.O. Box 41 4779 Kidron Road Kidron, Ohio 44636 --