Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sourdough and Leavening

Sourdough and Leavening

There are different agents used to make bread, thereby resulting to a variety of characteristics and properties. The yeast does not produce the sour taste of sourdough. It is actually lactobacillus, wherein the yeast lives in symbiosis. The lactobacillus feeds on end-products of yeast fermentation, in turn, creating the culture that goes sour through the excretion of lactic acid. This protects everything from spoiling.

All breads before were sourdoughs, and the leavening process was not fully known until the 19th century. Only with the development of microscopes did scientists find out that dough can rise through microbes. The strains of yeast have been chosen and packed as Baker's Yeast. Bread created using Baker's yeast is not sour due to the absence of the lactobacillus. The yeast was then embraced by bakers all over the globe.

More on Sourdough Bread

Sourdough breads are usually made using sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is a culture of lactobacillus and yeast. It is a pancake-like flour and water mixture wherein the lactobacilli and yeast live. A starter can be managed nonstop by regularly eliminating a part then refreshing by adding water and fresh flour. There are starters owned by families and bakers that are many generations old. Starters can be acquired by getting a piece of starter and growing it. These can also be made from nothing. There are groups online who can send you starters. Other companies also can send you starters through mail order.

Other procedures can also be done to bake and culture sourdough. A more traditional approach is the process followed by peasant families all over Europe in the past. The family usually bakes on a regular basis, like once a week. The starter is saved from the dough made the previous week. The starter is then mixed using the new ingredients, and the dough left to rise. A piece of it will be saved to become the starter for the following week. The others are formed into loaves and marked with the family sign. The communal ovens will evolve into bakeries, with people beginning to specialize in bread baking.

On Bread Bacteria

Salt-risen bread uses a type of bacterial leavening that does not need yeast. Even though the leavening action is not consistent and needs close attention to the incubating conditions, the bread is become more common because of its special cheese-like flavor and smooth texture.

Fats and Preparation

Fats like vegetable oils, butter and lard can change the gluten development in breads by lubricating and coating the single protein strands and helping in holding the structure together. If there is too much fat inside the bread dough, the lubricating effect usually leads the protein structures to separate. The greatest leavening action is achieved by using fat content of 3% by weight.

Bread preparation among cultures will vary. The crusts, body and texture will change depending on the ingredients used and the methods incorporated. Some bakers will use special personalized methods to give it a sense of originality that no other can copy.

Happy baking,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Make Whole Wheat Bread

How to Make Whole Wheat Bread

It is important to understand the special techniques in making whole wheat bread. Homemade whole wheat bread has a distinct taste and texture, not to mention, all the nutrients that will keep you slim and fit. Some individuals use 100% whole wheat flour but fail to acquire the right firmness. You may end up with a very hard loaf if you do not follow the guidelines strictly. Here are some tried and proven tips from the experts.

The Basic Factors

To make the best 100% whole wheat bread, you need 3 things. First, always use adequately high protein flour, or alternatively, add some vital wheat gluten to the bread dough. Second, avoid adding flour a long while before you need to. Third, knead consistently and nonstop. You will find that using a food processor helps you with the kneading process, since you get to save more time and effort. You can also use your hands or a mixer with a dough hook to get the job done.

Whole wheat flour is heavier compared to white flour, so you need to develop good strong gluten to make a soft crumb and pleasing texture. The higher protein content you have, the more gluten available. Avoid adding too much flour or you risk creating loaves that are hard as a brick. Kneading continuously leads to gluten forming a consistent and strong matrix.

The Recipe

To make a full loaf, you will need 3.5 cups of 100% whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 package of dry yeast, 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 tablespoon of liquid lecithin and warm water. If you are using food processors to do the kneading for you, always use ice water. Once you master the recipe, feel free to add more ingredients like seeds and nuts.

These ingredients are enough to make a loaf weight about 1 1/4 pounds, baked inside an 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan. This pan is ideal compared to metal or glass pans. The metal can create an ideal exterior crust along the sides, baking the loaf evenly throughout. The smooth hard surface will let go of the loaf quickly after baking. This pan also cleans up very easily.

Understanding the Process

There are a number of processes to be followed to make 100% whole wheat bread that has soft and crumb texture. You can knead using a food processor, your hands or the mixer, but the process is radically the same. The 4 processes included are the mixing process, the kneading process, the rising process and the baking process.

Using Bread Machines

You can also use bread machines that provide you the exact amount of every ingredient added in a certain order. You can have the machine operate independently to do the four processes. This is excellent with dough that is made with some white flour. It is not ideal for dough that is 100% whole wheat flour. Whole wheat bread generally requires more rising and kneading times.

Happy baking,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Processes of Making Whole Wheat Bread

The Processes of Making Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread requires 4 processes to be successfully made, namely mixing, kneading, rising and baking. All these processes can be done by hand, using a mixer, via a bread machine or using a food processor. Whole wheat breads can be 100% or mixed with other types of flour, such as white flour. Regardless of the ingredients and additional materials you use, make sure you follow the steps carefully to yield the best results.

About the Mixing Process

The food processor may be the best among all your options, since you can easily throw in all the needed ingredients, thereby cutting time and saving energy. Put all the flour, salt, vital wheat gluten, yeast, sugar and salt into the bowl. Only add the sugar now if you are using granulated sugar, instead of the liquid type like molasses. You can yeast-proof by dissolving it in 1/2 cup of warm water, together with a pinch of sugar. Add it to the liquid ingredients. The rising process can be jump started to reduce total rising time by 30 minutes. Add the lecithin and oil after all dry ingredients are mixed. Add about 1 cup of ice water.

The Kneading Process

The kneading process is considered to be the most important part of the whole bread making activity. You have to ensure that you do enough kneading, avoid using too much flour or water and develop the gluten properly in the wheat. To check if you have the right amount of flour and water, moisten your hand then put it inside the dough then squeeze. The dough should not resist your touch and strain the finger muscles. It should not also have a runny liquid feature or seem waterlogged. It is possible to knead too much, especially if you are using a food processor. Practice how to properly add water as you knead to get the perfect consistency.

The Rising Process

The dough should not be placed in a greased bowl. Have the right developed gluten will lead to the dough not sticking to the bowl or pot. Use a 4-quart pot. Once the dough is inside the pot, cover using the lid. The dough has to stay warm for about 2 hours or up to the time it has doubled its size. If you stick your fingers into the dough and it does not rise, the rising process is completed. After the second rising, put the loaf inside the bread pan.

Baking the Bread

Preheat your oven 400 degrees F. Transfer the loaf slowly into the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Use a thermometer to ensure that you have the right heat. Once the baking is done, take the bread out then let cool in a rack, covered with a towel. After the cooling process, slice the loaf of bread then observe the texture. This is the best time to eat the bread, while it is still warm and soft. Measure the ingredients properly to make more loaves as needed.

Happy baking,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Homemade Bread Making Tips

Homemade Bread Making Tips

If you want to bake homemade bread successfully, you have to understand that there are different available types. You need to know how each one appears and follow the guidelines that will lead to the best quality, flavor and texture. Homemade breads have been formulated by families for hundreds of years. Here's your chance to finally whip out your own recipe.

About Industrial Bread

The difference between homemade bread recipes with commercial ones is that commercialized bread is made to have uniform substance and texture, to be produced on a massive scale and to have just enough shelf-life for you to keep returning to the grocery. Excessive amounts of yeast help produce a lot of bubbles inside the bread, which leads to the light texture of the bread. Lower quality grains are also used and can lack the essential nutrients. The main goal of commercialized bread is to be produced as cheaply as possible to earn the highest profit.

Preservatives may also be used to help boost shelf life, which reduces manufacturing cost. Some of the ingredients you need to be cautious about include high fructose corn syrup, calcium dioxide, datem, ethoxylated mono and diglycerides, dicalcium phosphate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium propionate, soy lecithin, ammonium chloride and ammonium sulfate.

Advantages of Being Homemade

Homemade bread has the advantage of having high quality ingredients, better flavor, taste and texture and longer shelf life. You put in the right materials into the mix to ultimately create the best-tasting bread. Some of the things you need to know are that different flours function differently too. Try to make whole wheat bread or rye bread. The flour will also have various properties. Add the flour slowly into the bowl until it barely sticks to your hands. Whole wheat flour will need one-half cup less flour compared to white flour.

When making Italian bread, substitute salt with garlic salt. Add the Italian seasonings like rosemary and oregano before you begin to stir. Double the recipe to make two loaves of bread instead. You get to save more time and effort too. Try to experiment with different ingredients. You may want to work on pizza dough and cinnamon rolls later on.

Shopping for Ingredients

When making your homemade bread, you can shop for ingredients in different places to get only the best quality ingredients. You can actually search the internet and have some materials and ingredients shipped right to your doorstep. You can even have starters sent. You should also visit different groceries and supermarkets and look at the difference between breads. Try to determine the special ingredients that bakers add to get the appearance, flavor and texture you want.

Feel free to add condiments and other sweeteners to make special kinds of homemade bread. It will also require some more techniques to get the right crust and make toast bread. Depending on the kind of bread you want, you will have to employ different techniques and tools. Homemade bread is convenient, easy and cheap, so enjoy the experience and learn every step of the way.

Happy baking,