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Bread Bakers Unite - Page 2

post #21 of 89
: Sorry, you asked a question about the potato water, yes, I think the starches DEFINITELY help. Whatever it is, it's worth boiling taters for something and keeping the water for bread making.

I've never refrigerated 'potato water', It would be fine, the 'starch' will settle, but a good stir would help. I have even heard of 'sourdough starters' made from using potato water as it helps it to 'grow'. I have no clue atm why, maybe I can look it up. At the moment, it's one of those 'grandma's secrets' that I happened to have discovered when we boiled some potatoes up and I didn't want to pour all this lovely water down the drain (it has some expensive organic bouillon in it too). So here is what I did:

I measured how much water I had left (was about 6 cups). So I added 6 cups of organic, unbleached whole wheat flour and one packet of yeast. I stired this 'soupy' mix (this is your 'sponge') and poured into a large ceramic crock (the kind g'ma used to make pickles in) and covered with a damp cloth and let it sit overnight.

Next morning, I added in my sea salt (about 2 tsp), a bit of grapeseed oil (maybe a 1/2 cup) and stirred. Then I added in orgainc, unbleached all purpose flour (since it doesn't have time to soak like the whole wheat did)until it was 'stiff' (around 4 cups). Then I poured this in two batches onto a floured countertop and 'kneaded' it gently to incorporate more flour until it was a smooth, yet kinda soft bread dough.

I shaped them into 'logs' and put them (got 4 long loaves, two on each baking sheet) that had been greased with expeller (no smell) coconut oil. I always put a slightly damp (flat cotton birdseye diaper that is only for kitchen use) over the tops. I let them puff for 30 min in a warm area near my stove.

Then I baked them for 25 ish min at 400 deg F. They were so good, me, dd and the DH ate one loaf while standing around finishing the rest of our dinner!!

I brushed melted butter with a pinch of garlic salt over the tops and put a dry cloth over them once they are removed. This makes the tops get super soft (easy for the dc to munch on too).
post #22 of 89
Oh, some interesting notes:

If you use sugar to feed your yeasts, you should use plain ol white sugar...I know! You are thinking what????

Honey has natural antibacterial, fungal (yeast) and viral properties. So it can retard or stop yeast growth (good for inside us, not so good for your bread yeasts).

Sucanat (Rapadura type sugars) also have been found to retard yeast cultures (which suggests that baking with it in general will not contribute as much to the 'internal yeast issues' some folks have...but again, I guess it's a no no for your yeast 'sponge' starter, if you are having 'rising' issues.

So keep a small box of white or 'Florida crystals' for feeding your yeast when getting a bread starter going.

Just some interesting info I found out from a lady who does culture testing with various sugars.

HTH somebody!
post #23 of 89
You don't really need to feed yeast sweeteners, you should be able to make a sponge with no sugar. I find that when I use sugar that the yeast doesn't eat it all up anyway, because the bread is still sweeter. The idea with an unenriched dough is to let the dough ferment long enough for the compex flour starch molecules to break apart into simpler sugar molecules. Peter Reinhart (baking teacher to whose book i am devoted) claims that commercial yeast (as opposed to the wild yeast in sourdough starter) doesn't eat sucrose, only glucose and to a lesser extent fructose and maltose.

I did know that honey could put a shoe in the works. It's a good sweetener to use in bread generally, but not raw honey and not at that yeast proofing stage. Maple syrup is a no-no according to Laurel ('s Kitchen) Robertson, it can tear the dough for some reason.

I still think the neatest thing is to get the bread to be sweet without sweeteners.
post #24 of 89
So what I want to know is, how can I keep on top of my breadmaking?
I would really love to never have to buy it anymore, but we run out and then I've got no time, ykwim?
So what are you schedules, so to speak, for your breadmaking? I work early mornings, so starting in the morning most days doesn't work. I guess I should just start early on my days off. Would it work if I started at night and then let it rise in the fridge or something like that?
post #25 of 89
I make nearly all of our bread (sandwiches, toast, etc.) and my hands down favorite recipe is from LLL Whole Foods for the Whole Family.

I use honey or molasses as a sweetener and have never had a problem. (I guess I should say here, that I've been doing this for years )

The key I think is kneading it enough (I usually knead for 10-15 minutes) and not using too much flour.

Here's my recipe (if you want it)

2 cups of warm potato water (I store mine in the fridge until I need it...and then just heat it up)

1 tsp. honey or molasses

2 T yeast (not the quick stuff...just regular yeast)

Mix the above & let sit for 10 minutes or so.

Add 2T honey, 2t salt, 1/4 cup of butter or oil, and 3 cups of flour. Beat 200 strokes (by hand) or 2 min on Med speed in a heavy duty mixer w/ a dough hook.

Add one more cup of flour & beat briefly.

Add 2 eggs. And 3-4 more cups of flour.

Knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough should be "silky" It takes practice to know when it's been kneaded enough. If you're not sure....just knead for the whole 15 min.

Let rise (in a warmish place) in an oiled (or unoiled if you prefer) bowl (covered) until double (for me, that's usually 1.5 hours) Or let rise in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Punch down & form into loaves. The easiest way for me to do this is to roll it out flat w/ a rolling pin & then roll it up (like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls) & tuck the edges under. Oil the top lightly & cover. Let rise again until doubled. (45min-1hr) Or let rise overnight in the fridge.

Put it in a 350 degree oven until it's a golden (darkish) brown. Cool in pans for a minute or two & then take the bread out (so the crust doesn't get soggy) and cool on racks.

post #26 of 89
talk about cheap my dad makes bread and he think it cost maybe 30 cent and half if that is for the silly bag.

His bread won blue ribbon at the state fair. I just got 6 loaves from him on Sunday. I slices it and freeze the bread just taking a loave out one at a time. My daycare kids LOVE this bread. I mean when they ask for it without any thing on it its gotta be good.

Our next project is to make hamburger/hotdog buns.
post #27 of 89
Have any of you ever made a Herman starter? I made my first today and was afraid it wouldn't work because I can't get bread flour. I put the 2 cups of starter mix in a pitcher and was sitting at my keyboard an hour later and heard this strange bubbling sound. I thought, "Oh,no! My radiator's leaking again." But when I turned around I saw this weird glob on the desk behind, "What IS that?" I thought. And then I knew. It was my starter. It had bubbled up and out of my 2 QUART pitcher into it's very own version of Mt. St. Helens! Is this normal??? I've been having to stir it down every hour or so to keep it from bubbling over. So much for it not working. BTW, I'm using plain white flour that's sold to make dumplings because that's the only kind of flour that had "plain flour" on it in English. The only other flours with English were "self-raising" and I knew I didn't want that. Please help. Did I do something wrong? The recipe called for 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 pkg yeast, and 2 cups warm water. I'm hoping it will calm down after I stick it in the fridge tonight. I'd hate to wake up to a globby mess in my fridge!
post #28 of 89
What a great thread! I love baking bread. I try to make all of our bread, unless it gets too hot to use the oven in the summer, then I occasionlly buy from the bakery. The thing I love most is that it's an easy way to get ds to eat something healthy. My favorite stand-by recipe is the whole wheat bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. It is for 100% whole wheat loaves, and they turn out really well. They have always risen really nicely. I think that making a sponge really helps with the nice texture. I usually tweak the recipe though to add some whole grains, some pureed fruit or veggies, some tahini, eggs, whatever is on hand. A few years back, I was baking lots of sourdough breads. If anyone is interested, and it's not too cold where you live, let your starter sit outside for a day covered with a thin cheesecloth layer. If you have it outside, you will get some really nice natural yeast spores landing in there and doing their thing.

I also love that breadmaking is a family activity. Ds loves to get involved, and usually shapes little "kid-size" loaves.

I have been experimenting lately with soaking some of my whole wheat flour, so we'll see how that goes. I am also trying to get a nice sourdough culture going again, but it's still too cold out where I am to set it outside!!

About the potato water, my mom always uses it in her bread, and it turns out awesome, so something in there is definately worth saving that water for. As for sweeteners, I usually use honey or molasses, and have never had a problem with it either. I tried mixing a batch of bread for the first time with my kitchenaid mixer the other day- have always done it by hand before- and it didn't rise as nicely. Maybe some of you can give me some suggestions as to why this would be.
post #29 of 89
Originally Posted by marilynmama
I am also a breadmaker, I love to make bread I really have no tips from what the others have said but once you make a really good loaf of bread *that* is when things start happening. For the longest time everytime I tried to make bread something went wrong....didn't rise, too doughy, burnt, too dense, whatever.

I think you need to work with someone who is good at making bread so you can see and most importantly touch what good dough and bread is like...once you can know it by touch that is all you need to be a great breadmaker IMO. You eventually will just "know" when it's all coming along right.

I really don't know if its cost effective to make your own or not, but its sooo much better for you and better tasting right? It really just depends on your ingrediants (organic, etc) and how much you want to spend like someone else mentioned.

I still would like to make a sourdough, that is one bread I have never tried to make and it intimidates me for some reason.


are you going to invite us all over to watch you make bread, marilynmama?

I tried my hand at making bread a few years ago without much luck. My breads were always to heavy and dense. I'm trying again with a bread machine that I got at a thrift store and not having much luck this time either. I really want to make 100% whole grain loaves, but am not sure what I'm doing wrong.
post #30 of 89
Just subscribing to this thread, my store is a sale on the ww organic flour so I forsee a lot of breadmaking in the near future.
post #31 of 89
i'm a newbie, too, but i did finally get a pretty good loaf going. it does have added sweetener (usu maple syrup), but it was pretty yummy with 100% ww. i use my kitchenaid (kneading is fun, but with the toddler the mixer is much faster and hands free). at first i think i had too much flour and didn't let it rise enough, but when i cut back on the flur and let the dough be sticky it had a great crumb. gotta work on the crust, though.
post #32 of 89
I have been making the same 75% ww bread/bun recipe my entire life it seems, but I would like to make some other kinds. I will be checking out some book from the library, and I am going to try the potatoe water recipe xena posted above. What I am wondering is how do you soak the flour? Does anyone have a recipe?
post #33 of 89
If I have a recipe I can follow to the T it turns out great, but I have a hard time with improvising (and I'm and improvisational type of cook)
but my biggest problem is that I'll make several loaves worth in my stand mixer (I can usually get 4 loaves at a time) and I want to freeze the dough so we can always have fresh baked kwim.... but when I freeze it I can't get it to rise again!!! HELP! This is what is keeping me from making all of our bread.
We go through about a loaf a day and I'd like to be able to make the bread for the whole week on one day and bake a loaf each morning...

I'd also like to know more about soaking ww flour... I haven't a clue as to how or why you would do this please fill me in...

I also want to know how to use different flours to acheive different flavors and textures.

And can those who are in the know please have more discussion on the use of white sugar vs honey/sucant/mollasses etc...

I currently use a really basic recipe
11 oz. very warm water
1 egg
3 T Honey
2 T Oil
1 t Salt
2 1/2 C Flour
2 C Whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t yeast

Put into bread machine in order, and let her rip! It makes a large loaf.

I generally double the recipe and use my stand mixer and bake in the oven...
post #34 of 89
I'm not an NT person, but I have been pre-soaking and prefermenting in a sponge some of the flour for whole wheat bread and it's been great! The bread comes out lighter. I have been using just water for my presoak. I put the recipe I used here:


It's in post #5. the cookbook author says you can use buttermilk instead of water, I just don't do dairy so I haven't tried that.

My guess is that the extra fermentation unlinks the complex carbohydrate chains.
post #35 of 89

Best way to store baked bread?

Hello Ladies

Could someone please share the best way to store freshly baked bread?

Thank you
post #36 of 89
If it is an unenriched dough with a hard crust, a so-called lean bread or hearth-style bread, put it cut-side down on the cutting board. If you eat it within three days, it will keep that way. You could also store it in a paper bag.

If it's an enriched dough, a soft one (with milk or fat and sweetener) I always store it in a plastic bag, again you have to eat it within three days. If I think we are going to take longer, I slice the loaf and put it in a plastic bag and freeze it, and then we eat it a few slices at a time.

Don't put the bread in a plastic bag until it is completely cool or you will get icky condensation. in fact I now think you shouldn't eat the bread until it has cooled off--you get the best flavor when it has just cooled. Also that way you don't eat it before it's totally baked!
post #37 of 89
The 100% whole wheat bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book is what finally got me baking bread ... successfully! We're veg, so I just leave out the dry milk powder, plus I lessen the salt from 4tsp to 2. I also use my mixer to help me stir, although I knead it by hand for 10 minutes after the flour is well incorporated. One of my big problems was always finding a warm place for my dough to rise. So I scrape the sponge out of my plastic mixer bowl into a ceramic bowl, set it in my oven with the oven light on to rise, then I scrape it back into my plastic bowl to stir in more flour, then I knead it and put it back in my ceramic bowl to rise. :LOL If only my mixer came with a ceramic bowl!! I'm looking forward to trying this with potato water after reading this thread!

I also modify the Tassajara ww bread recipe to make a cinnamon raisin walnut bread. Again I leave out the dry milk powder and lessen the amount of salt by 2tsp. I heat a cup of raisins in about a cup and a half of water, then use the raisin water as part of my liquid. I also add a cup of chopped walnuts and use blackstrap molasses as the sweetner. Oh yes, and add 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Yummmm!

My most recent "success" was making buns. I've tried before with 100% whole wheat, but this time I used 50% whole wheat and 50% unbleached white, all organic of course. I followed my tried and true sponge method and we love them. I plan to experiment with the ratio of whole wheat and white as I'd like them to be more whole.

Oh yes, I buy my organic whole wheat stoneground flour in the bulk section of Whole Foods for $.49/lb. That's cheaper than I can buy it in bulk at my buying club. I'm waiting for a sale on the 25 lb bag though - hoping to make some room in my freezer (how?!). I like the idea of not running out of flour for a while. Then again, I'm also wondering about investing in wheat berries and a flour mill. It never stops, does it?!
post #38 of 89
So, I took the Bread Bakers Aprentice out of the library and I so want to make a bunch of different kind of breads. How is everyone doing in their bread baking?
post #39 of 89
I make bread, but haven't in a long time. It is more expensive for me to make it because we get all of our bread for free but it's store bread and not the best, yk.

When I make it, I make a 4 or 7 loaf recipe. The problem is I only have 4 pans so if I make a 7 loaf we get buns(which isn't a bad thing)

Unfortunatly my recipe is your typical white bread recipe. I have added whole wheat flour to it but never gone completely ww. I think the furthest i got was 8/12 cups ww. For bread it was heavy and didn't rise(I expected that). For buns it is fine.

I use the self-rising yeast, is that bad?

It calls for 6tbsp of sugar, can I replace all of that with honey/maple syrup?

Instead of melted margerine I use olive oil and for the salt I use sea salt.

Has anyone tried the silicone bread pans? I keep hearing that silicone is supposed to be good for you, I have red flags about it but don't know why. Right now 1 of my pans used to be moms, most likely is aluminum. The other 3 are non-stick. We are buying new pots and pans sometime this year but I don't recall seeing stainless steel bread pans anywhere.

When I cool my bread, I leave it in the pan for 10minutes then take it out to cool on a baking rack.

Because I make so many loaves I freeze 3 or 6 of them in plastic bags. We'll go through 7+ loaves a week.
post #40 of 89
I usually make all of our family's bread. I too really like the section in LLL's Whole Foods for the Whole Family cookbook. Very informative.

I use honey in my sponge, and it my bread generally turns out very well.

I will also say that the potato water makes a HUGE difference. I save all of my potato water, and freeze it in 1 cup portions. That way I always have potato water to use for my bread, and can defrost 1 cup at a time. I've also tried using pasta water, but the potato water works better.

My other hint for making really good bread is to add butter. I've tried making bread without fat or with olive oil, but it's soooo much better with butter. I usually put in about 2-3 TBsp. for 2 loaves of bread (you don't have to use a lot).

For greasing pans, it's much better to use a solid fat. I save all of my butter wrappers & use them to grease the pans, it works well. And of course, I take my bread out of the pan as soon as it is cool enough to be handled. The times I've forgotten to do this, I ended up with a soggy mess from the condensation.

I don't have a bread making schedule. But when I notice that we're running low, I'll start a batch at night before I go to bed. Then I'll let the sponge rise in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I'll let the bread warm on the counter, knead in the rest of the flour and rise a few times before baking. I usually make 2 loaves at a time, we'll eat one and I'll freeze the other in a plastic bag.
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