Saturday, February 19, 2011

10 Things I've learned about baking bread...

10 important things I’ve learned about baking bread…

  1. A good bread making book by an expert bread maker will make a huge difference in your skills, if you read it, that is.
  2. A Kitchen Aid is a God-send when you’re learning to knead.  If your recipe says to knead your bread for 10 minutes then you can turn your kitchen aid on to a medium low speed with the dough hook on and let it work its magic for 10 minutes.  Your bread will be kneaded satisfactorily.  Check for the “baker’s window”* to see if it’s done.  Allowing the Kitchen Aid to do the kneading for me, allowed me to understand what fully kneaded bread looked and felt like.
  3. When my Kitchen Aid stopped working, I became an even better bread maker.  If you want to make a better loaf, knead by hand.  I followed the kneading advice of an expert bread maker (from his book) and found that when I knead by hand, my bread has uneven holes which is what I prefer.
  4. Start with pizza dough. You’ll be wasting fewer ingredients if you mess it up.  And you can still use it even if it doesn’t rise properly.
  5. Perfect a loaf of white bread, then attempt wheat.  Using whole wheat can be a little tricky; you’ll feel better if you ease yourself into it.
  6. Once you can REALLY bake a good loaf of white bread, you can bake dinner rolls, which is just kind of fun.
  7. Don’t give up! You CAN learn how to make a good loaf of bread with a little practice.
  8. A pan of water in the bottom of your oven during baking creates a lovely crispy crust on French and Italian breads. Spritzing the bread and the oven is totally unnecessary.
  9. Always read the recipe thoroughly, all the way to the end, BEFORE beginning.
  10. Yeast is very sensitive. 
*A baker's window is a thin window pane of dough that is created when you stretch a small handful of dough.  If the window pane is created (you can almost see through it) before the dough breaks, then you have kneaded the dough long enough.
Baking bread is very rewarding.  If you want to learn how to bake bread, buy a book and start practicing. 
Thanks for stopping by today!
This is the book I read and highly recommend!  See if your local library has it and read a bit and even try a recipe before you buy.  Then you'll know it's worth adding to your own library.

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