Bakers to the forum

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  • Bakers to the forum
  • Premier Icon tootallpaul
    Subscriber

    Any advice for a first time bread maker?

    🙂

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    Panasonic Bread machine..

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber
    myti
    Member

    Buy good organic flour and keep it dry

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    Why did the baker have brown fingers?.

    He was kneading a jobbie.

    cannyj
    Member

    Flour water yeast book. Easiest bread making ever. No kneading, no sour dough mixtures just fantastic crunchy bread. Does take time to make each loaf though. Bout 24hrs including the ferment/poolish/sponge mixture. Uses much less yeast than the automated methods. Our panasonic bread machine just sits there now. Anyone want to buy it? :D,

    Junkyard
    Member

    not a bread machine whatever you do

    Terrible things that rush the process to make a load IMHO

    Best thing is to just practice and get used to the textural change as you knead bread and then decide how doughy/stodgy/light fluffy you want/ like it

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    myti – Member
    Buy good organic flour and keep it dry

    ?? Just buy good quality flour.

    Best thing is to just practice and get used to the textural change as you knead bread and then decide how doughy/stodgy/light fluffy you want/ like it

    Sort of get a good quality hook mixer to save the arms and then learn the touch and feel.
    https://www.amazon.com/Bread-Bakers-Apprentice-Mastering-Extraordinary/dp/1580082688
    This book is great at explaining

    Premier Icon Burger
    Subscriber

    Some generic advice first:
    Always weigh the ingredients, including the liquids.
    The yeast I use is Doves Farm. Choose yourself a yeast and flour and keep using the same variety unless you have a good reason to change. Every loaf you make will be a little different, control the controllables (ingredients, method, etc.) and accept that things like ambient temperature during proving will cause some unavoidable variations.
    Keep a mental note of any variations you make (more kneading, longer prove, fresh yeast, etc.) and try and see what results.
    I’m no pro, but this recipe works for me and is very repeatable.

    Basic loaf

    • 450 grams Strong White Flour
    • 310 grams Warm Water
    • 9 grams Yeast
    • 6 grams Salt
    • 15 grams Sunflower Oil

    • Mix the dry ingredients – keep the salt away from the yeast initially
    • Add in the water & oil – some flours will require a slight adjustment to the water quantity, but 310grams works well with Asda, Tesco, Allinsons. Morrisons needed a touch more.
    • Mix in the bowl with a wooden spoon until the ingredients combine to leave the side of the bowl clean.
    • Turn out onto a clean dry work surface (no flour or oil required) and continue to mix by hand. At this stage, the aim is to produce a smooth lump free mixture. The processes of ’mixing’ and ‘kneading’ blend into one, but start by working the mix hard into the surface to achieve an even consistency.
    • When in the kneading stage, concentrate on stretching the mix.
    • After 5 minutes of kneading, leave the mix on the bench while cleaning out the mixing bowl and then applying a thin smear of olive oil to the inside of the clean bowl.
    • Return to the dough which will have become a bit smoother while it rested for a couple of minutes. Continue kneading for another 5 minute, then roll the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Roll the dough ball around to get an even coating of oil – this helps retain moisture. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise. The cling film doesn’t have to be an air tight seal, it is there to keep the dough out of drafts, and to retain moisture.
    • Rising will depend on the freshness of the yeast, temperature of the water when mixed in, room temperature during rising. An hour and a half is a minimum, two to three hours is normal.
    • Prepare the baking tray with a minimal coating of sunflower oil (a spray works well) and a dusting of polenta. This maybe overkill, but avoiding the mix sticking to the tray is ‘a good thing’.
    • Put a generous costing of flour on the work surface (the dough is now sticky) the aim is now to keep the surface of the risen dough smooth so avoid allowing to stick to the worksurface.
    • Tip the dough out onto the floured surface. The face of the dough that is now touching the surface will become the top of the loaf so if it starts to stick at all to the work surface, add a little more flour. The dough will collapse on itself when it comes out of the bowl. Encourage more air out of the dough with a brief manipulation of the dough then start to form the desired bread shape. Turn the dough over – hopefully revealing a clean smooth surface. From here, press the side in underneath the dough, creating a stretched surface to the top of the dough.
    • Move the dough to the baking tray and finish off any required shaping. Give the top surface a good dusting of flour before putting the tray into a large plastic bag where the final proving will take place. Keep the plastic from touching the dough – the freshly floury surface shouldn’t stick to the plastic, but the flour will be partially absorbed during proving leaving the dough stickier. Having the dough stick to the bag at this stage is not funny.
    • Leave to prove for about half an hour. This can (probably) be longer if the bread is in a tin, but if it is ‘freeform’ on a flat tray, it will start to collapse and spread under its own weight if left for much longer.
    • During this time, heat the oven to maximum temperature and make sure the oven shelves are arranged to accept the bread. The oven wants to be as hot as it can be when the bread goes in, our gas oven takes about 15-20 minutes to achieve full temperature. The temperature will drop rapidly when the door is opened – hence making sure shelves are in the right place before the oven is up to temperature.
    • Carefully remove the tray from the bag. Avoid the dough touching the bag and handle the tray gently. Any knocks or shocks will lead to the dough losing its shape.
    • Add a further dusting of flour and then slash the top surface as desired. The slashes are not purely for decoration, they allow the bread to expand in the desire direction – usually upwards. To avoid dragging and pulling the dough, the knife must be ultra-sharp. There are specific knives for this (baker’s ‘lame’), but a well sharpened vegetable knife seems to work well. A little flour on the knife can help to stop it dragging at the dough.
    • Now put the bread in the oven, again avoiding any knocks and minimising the time the oven door is open. Set the time for 27 minutes. After a couple of minutes (the time to clean up a little?) turn the oven down to gas mark 7.
    • At the end of the cooking time, take the bread out. Tapping the bottom of the bread should give a hollow sound. If not, the bottom – which is the last part to cook – is probably not quite done in which case return to the oven briefly. Otherwise put the bread on a wire tray and admire.

    myti
    Member

    Just made my 1St sourdough. Bit of a drawn out process but omg it is the nicest most flavourful bread I’ve ever had. A real umami quality so really nice with just some cornish butter. I posted on here awhile back about how to get a bread with more flavour and lots mentioned slowing down the proof by putting it in the fridge overnight and this really worked.

    sharkbait
    Member

    I’d second not being a bread maker but do get a good mixer, it makes the whole process simpler and therefore you’ll do it more often. I bought a commercial Hobart N50 and its brilliant.
    Yesterday I made a malted cob, a white loaf and ciabbata….. Love it!
    Not made sourdough yet but got a starter in the fridge.

    Oh and Paul Hollywood’s ‘how to bake’ book is very good.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    For years I always made bread by hand, more recently have been using a K-Mix but IMO the fun is in the mixing and kneeding.

    OP get a good book and just try a few different styles. Pay attention to recipes and temperatures, as Burger says baking its key to follow ingredient quantities etc (unlike lads chuck it all in 1 pot stews). Making your own Pizza dough is great too (I use Jamie Oliver’s recipe)

    @myti yes you realise how rubbish supermarket bread is (it does last ages but there is a chemical reason for that)

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    OP get a good book and just try a few different styles. Pay attention to recipes and temperatures, as Burger says baking its key to follow ingredient quantities etc

    I’d have to disagree (and the backup is in the book I linked) there are too many variables in the ingreediants, the best stuff I’ve made is by rough cup and spoon measures and then adjusted by feel and sight during the process. Learn to make by feel and then the recipie is simple – it became very appartent that is where a lot of recipes fell down, they told you how much and for how long but not what you were trying to achieve so anything that was off/out didn’t work that well.

    Premier Icon jonnyboi
    Subscriber

    I’d agree with some of the comments above that a breadmaker gives unsatisfactory results. It’s great at the start when you actually have the satisfaction of making your own loaf, but the eating part ends up being underwhelming.

    A slow rise will give you much better flavour and structure in your loaf, I often use cool water instead of warm now and just let it do its thing. A basic 400g/300ml/7g yeast/5g flour/20ml oil loaf can be used for a range of breads and makes great batch loaves..but don’t be a slave to quantities, you may not need all the water all the time to get the right consistency in your dough. the best two tips I could give is start with a wetter dough than you think as it will become smoother and more elastic as you kneed it, and avoid flouring your work surface as that flour ends up in the dough, use oil instead

    mrjmt
    Member

    If you want a good place to prove your dough, stick it on top of your sky box. 8)

    Mine is a nice 26-27 ish degrees.

    sharkbait
    Member

    I do agree about there sometimes being a slight variation required in the ingredients – but that’s usually just the water content.

    I like to be accurate with my volumes and have found the single best bit of kit is a set of digital scales – great for measuring out grams of yeast and salt

    Basic loaf

    • 450 grams Strong White Flour
    • 310 grams Warm Water
    • 9 grams Yeast
    • 6 grams Salt
    • 15 grams Sunflower Oil

    • Mix the dry ingredients – keep the salt away from the yeast initially
    • Add in the water & oil – some flours will require a slight adjustment to the water quantity, but 310grams works well with Asda, Tesco, Allinsons. Morrisons needed a touch more.
    • Mix in the bowl with a wooden spoon until the ingredients combine to leave the side of the bowl clean.
    • Turn out onto a clean dry work surface (no flour or oil required) and continue to mix by hand. At this stage, the aim is to produce a smooth lump free mixture. The processes of ’mixing’ and ‘kneading’ blend into one, but start by working the mix hard into the surface to achieve an even consistency.
    • When in the kneading stage, concentrate on stretching the mix.
    • After 5 minutes of kneading, leave the mix on the bench while cleaning out the mixing bowl and then applying a thin smear of olive oil to the inside of the clean bowl.
    • Return to the dough which will have become a bit smoother while it rested for a couple of minutes. Continue kneading for another 5 minute, then roll the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Roll the dough ball around to get an even coating of oil – this helps retain moisture. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise. The cling film doesn’t have to be an air tight seal, it is there to keep the dough out of drafts, and to retain moisture.
    • Rising will depend on the freshness of the yeast, temperature of the water when mixed in, room temperature during rising. An hour and a half is a minimum, two to three hours is normal.
    • Prepare the baking tray with a minimal coating of sunflower oil (a spray works well) and a dusting of polenta. This maybe overkill, but avoiding the mix sticking to the tray is ‘a good thing’.
    • Put a generous costing of flour on the work surface (the dough is now sticky) the aim is now to keep the surface of the risen dough smooth so avoid allowing to stick to the worksurface.
    • Tip the dough out onto the floured surface. The face of the dough that is now touching the surface will become the top of the loaf so if it starts to stick at all to the work surface, add a little more flour. The dough will collapse on itself when it comes out of the bowl. Encourage more air out of the dough with a brief manipulation of the dough then start to form the desired bread shape. Turn the dough over – hopefully revealing a clean smooth surface. From here, press the side in underneath the dough, creating a stretched surface to the top of the dough.
    • Move the dough to the baking tray and finish off any required shaping. Give the top surface a good dusting of flour before putting the tray into a large plastic bag where the final proving will take place. Keep the plastic from touching the dough – the freshly floury surface shouldn’t stick to the plastic, but the flour will be partially absorbed during proving leaving the dough stickier. Having the dough stick to the bag at this stage is not funny.
    • Leave to prove for about half an hour. This can (probably) be longer if the bread is in a tin, but if it is ‘freeform’ on a flat tray, it will start to collapse and spread under its own weight if left for much longer.
    • During this time, heat the oven to maximum temperature and make sure the oven shelves are arranged to accept the bread. The oven wants to be as hot as it can be when the bread goes in, our gas oven takes about 15-20 minutes to achieve full temperature. The temperature will drop rapidly when the door is opened – hence making sure shelves are in the right place before the oven is up to temperature.
    • Carefully remove the tray from the bag. Avoid the dough touching the bag and handle the tray gently. Any knocks or shocks will lead to the dough losing its shape.
    • Add a further dusting of flour and then slash the top surface as desired. The slashes are not purely for decoration, they allow the bread to expand in the desire direction – usually upwards. To avoid dragging and pulling the dough, the knife must be ultra-sharp. There are specific knives for this (baker’s ‘lame’), but a well sharpened vegetable knife seems to work well. A little flour on the knife can help to stop it dragging at the dough.
    • Now put the bread in the oven, again avoiding any knocks and minimising the time the oven door is open. Set the time for 27 minutes. After a couple of minutes (the time to clean up a little?) turn the oven down to gas mark 7.
    • At the end of the cooking time, take the bread out. Tapping the bottom of the bread should give a hollow sound. If not, the bottom – which is the last part to cook – is probably not quite done in which case return to the oven briefly. Otherwise put the bread on a wire tray and admire.
    –or–
    get a breadmaker
    put the ingredients in
    push the button

    nicko74
    Member

    The River Cottage Bread book is great, and turned my bread from drab stuff into very edible.

    Make sure you’re using bread flour (duh, but it helps!)
    Check the yeast you’re using. If it’s dry in a block, it may work best being mixed with some warm water and sugar before being added to the dough mix. If it’s quick rise or similar, you can chuck it in dry.

    If you’re on the second prove and getting impatient, putting the loaves into a cold oven – rather than preheated – can give them that final rise as they begin to bake.

    johndoh
    Member

    Why did the baker have brown fingers?.

    He was kneading a jobbie.
    Was that deliberately not the correct punchline?

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    kneading is key, 10mins should see you right.

    yeast is a wet ingredient, not dry.

    Use hand warm water.

    Oil will make your loaf last longer, but you don’t need to add if you don’t want to.

    Don’t bother with a loaf tin, just bake a boule, it’s a bunch easier.

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