Monday, March 29, 2010

Making Homemade Bread

Making Homemade Bread

There are virtually hundreds of different recipes in making bread. However, it will be more advantageous if you start with the basics. Homemade breads is very easy to prepare, more nutritious and has a personalized touch that cannot be copied by machines and commercial bakers. You can learn the basic steps then develop your own creative form. Here are tips.

What You Need

You will need 1 big mixing bowl. Experts recommend that you prepare a second one just in case. If you only have one, you can wash it in the middle of the bread making process. Other tools you will need include 1 spoon to stir the dough, 1 measuring cup, 1 measuring spoon (1 teaspoon recommended), 1 bread pan to bake the bread in and 1 hand towel to cover the bread as the dough rises to prevent dust and drafts from making contact.

The food ingredients you will need are 1/4 cup of milk, 5 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 pack of active dry yeast from your local grocery store, 5 teaspoons of butter, 2.5 to 3.5 cups of flour (preferably unbleached white) and non-stick cooking spray or corn starch to keep the bread from sticking to the pan and bowl.

About the Process

Mix the dough first using a stand mixer, instead of the usual stirring and kneading. Warm the bowl by filling it with hot water. Mix the yeast by following the instructions on the package. Adding a cup of warm water to the yeast then stirring will lead to tan-colored water with a few bubbles. Melt the butter in a microwave oven, then add the salt, milk and sugar to the yeast liquid, stirring everything until it appears light tan. Add 2 cups of flour. Start stirring then add 1/4 cup of flour every 1 minute or so. Continue adding flour until the dough becomes sticky. Try to aim for the dough just leaving a thin layer of flour.

Kneading the Dough

Kneading is done next. Take some flour between your hands then rub it together over the area where you plan to knead. Get the dough ball then place it on the table. Beat the dough for 10 minutes. Punch the dough flat and fold it into a ball again and again. Put the ball of dough back into the bow.

Place a cloth over the bowl and set it in a slightly warm place for 1 hour. Ideally, this should be set over the stove top. Expect the dough to rise after an hour. It should at least be twice as big as its original size. Lay it out and make a rectangular shape. Place it in a bread pan afterwards.

Final Steps

Take the towel and use it to cover the homemade loaf. Wait for another hour. Clean all the rest of the tools and ingredients. Expect the bread to raise more. Place the loaf of bread in the oven and set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Afterwards, pull the bread out and take it out of the pan to cool.

Happy baking,

Friday, March 26, 2010

How to Make Bread

How to Make Bread

Bread has been a staple food of human beings for hundreds of years. However, almost majority of people still do not know how bread is made. The process is actually very simple, although more advanced techniques are also used to make special kinds of bread. Overall, the principles are very much the same. It is important that you practice safety at all times and watch how the experts do it to get the most benefits. Here are some tips and tricks.

The Ingredients

To begin, you will need 16 ounces of bread flour and a bit more for shaping. Get 1 teaspoon of instant rapid rise yeast, 2 teaspoons of salt and 10 ounces of filtered water. You will need more of these ingredients if preparing for more people.

Other optional ingredients you may need include 1/3 cup of water, 2 teaspoons of honey or sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Functional ingredients include 2 quarts of hot water, 2 tablespoons of cornmeal and vegetable oil to grease the rising container.

The Process

Mix 5 ounces of flour together with 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, the bottled water and all of the honey inside a straight-sided container. Cover everything loosely then refrigerate for a period of 8 to 12 hours. Leaving everything overnight is recommended. Yeast does a couple of things for bread. First, it leavens the bread and second, it adds texture and flavor to the bread. To properly leaven the bread, the yeast has to be reproduced immediately to create the gasses found inside. Reproduction has to be slow to give the right texture and flavor.

Make the sponge or pre-ferment. Put the yeasty mixture into the refrigerator and slow down the whole fermentation procedure. The dough will absorb some of the gasses left by the yeast, leading to softer dough later on. The bread will also have an aged flavor. The added hydration and time will form gluten strands which are essential for bread dough.

More Steps

Next, put the 11 ounces of flour, the rest of the yeast and all the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the pre-ferment you made from the refrigerator. Use the dough hook attachment to knead the mixture on low for 2 to 3 minutes until everything mixes. Cover the dough in the bowl using a kitchen towel and let everything rest for 20 minutes. Knead the dough on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes after 20 minutes or until you can slowly pull the dough into a sheet, wherein light passes through. The dough will be sticky, but not so much that you cannot manage well.

Final Process

Flatten the dough using your knuckles, then fold it into itself. Put the dough back on the counter and roll slowly between your hands. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slash the top surface of the dough balls about 1/2 inch deep. Add more hot water if the pan tends to be dry. Once the bread reaches an internal temperature of about 210 degrees F, remove it and place on a cooling rack. Let it sit for 30 minutes then slice.
Happy baking,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Breadmaking Ingredients

On Breadmaking Ingredients

You can use different ingredients to make bread. It is important understand the characteristics of each, so that you can fully take advantage of the process, thereby adding more flavor, texture and quality. Each ingredient will determine a certain feature which will be displayed by the bread as well. Here are some tips about the things you can use.

About Yeast

Yeast is a living plant. It is a microscopic fungus that makes the bread rise as a result of its presence. It will require food, warmth and moisture to grow properly. Temperature should be around 100 to 110 degrees F to get the best results. Water is good, as well as honey, sugars and molasses. Yeast can ferment sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The gas is then trapped inside the gluten network, leading the bread to rise until all the oxygen is consumed or the yeast is killed through over fermentation or baking.

The two common yeast types available are instant yeast and regular active dry yeast. The two have been dried to deactivation, although the yeast cells are not destroyed. Instant yeast dried at lower temperatures can produce more live cells and are fast to act when water or flour is added. Compared to active dry yeast, instant yeast does not have to be dissolved or proofed in warm water. This can be added together with the flour after the initial 2 cups of flour have been added.

On Active Dry Yeast

Active dry yeast has a tough outer shell that requires warm water and sweetener to get softer for 5 to 10 minutes before you add other ingredients. Glutathione in wheat germ can break down gluten. It is also present in yeast in minimal amounts. It does not affect the bread quality, considering that it remains in the yeast cell. Under adverse conditions, glutathione can leak out. The dissolving water should not be cooler than 100 degrees F if you are using active dry yeast.

Glutathione tends to leak out of the yeast cells very quickly in cool water, leading to weaker dough strength. The instant yeast ensures that the batter or flour temperature has a minimum temperature of 75 degrees F when you add the yeast. If the freshly milled flour is warm or over 120 degrees F, the liquid should be cooler than 90 degrees F to avoid overheating the dough and destroying the yeast.

Knowing the Liquids

Water is the cheapest, fastest and easiest liquid to use. The texture of the grain tends to be chewy, and the flavor, more obvious by adding water. Milk helps make bread rise faster. The bread also gains finer texture and acquires longer shelf life. Scald all the milk except for the canned one. Buttermilk helps make dough become tenderer and acquire a nicer taste. Yogurt adds tang and can be substituted for 1/2 of liquid replacement. Vegetable juices and broth like apple juice and tomato juice can be used to add nutrition and improve texture and taste.

Happy baking,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Understanding the Kinds of Bread

Understanding the Kinds of Bread

There are several types of bread, each also having its own special features and characteristics. Bread can be eaten in different ways. People around the world prefer certain types of bread, depending on their basic needs and personal preferences. Understanding the qualities of each will help you learn how to prepare them better and with less problems.

The Different Types
Bread is a popular food in many societies. Every Asian society prefers steamed bread or noodles or rice. Bread is usually made using wheat-flour dough cultured with yeast, risen and baked inside an oven. Owing to the high levels of gluten, common wheat is the most basic grain used to prepare bread, although bread is also created from flour of other existing wheat species like emmer, durum, spelt, maize, rye, oats and barley. Common wheat is usually made for creating white bread. Other types of wheat are capable of creating black bread of good quality. Spelt bread is widely consumed in European countries. Emmer bread is a staple food in the Middle East. Canadian bread is known for its healthy consistency and high protein content.

Knowing the Breads
White bread is created from flour that only has the center part of the grain, called the endosperm. Brown bread is created using 10% bran and endosperm. It can also mean white bread with coloring added like caramel to provide a brown color. This is also known as wheat bread. Wheat germ bread has provided wheat germ for more flavor. Wholemeal bread has the entire wheat grain or the bran and the endosperm. It is also known whole grain or whole wheat bread, especially in North America.

More Bread
Wholegrain bread is similar to wholemeal bread or to white bread with whole grains added to boost fiber content. Roti is described as whole wheat bread consumed in South Asia. Another Roti variant is called Naan. Granary bread is created from granary flour. It is created using brown flour or malted white flour, whole grains and wheat germ. Unleavened bread does not have yeast and does not rise. Rye bread is created with flour using rye grain of different levels. It has higher fiber content compared to other bread types.

Quick breads are chemically leavened breads, usually having both baking powder and baking soda, plus a balance of alkaline ingredients and acidic ingredients. Some of the examples include muffins, pancakes, waffles and Boston brown bread.

Among Cultures
There are so many variations of bread such as chapattis, pitas, biscuits, naan, bagels, tortillas, brioche, baguettes, puris, lavash and pretzels. Tortillas are staple food in Mexico. There is also the pan dulce and bolillo which are commonly eaten by Mexicans during breakfast. In the Philippines, peple eat pan de sal which is rounded bread. In Spain, bread is referred to as pan. In Peru, sweet bread is eaten together with hot chocolate and butter.

Scottish people eat plain bread which is taller and thinner. The French eat pan bread used for toast or for making stuffing. Italians have several breadmaking recipes and usually eat large loaves and breadrolls.

Happy baking,