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Calling all makers of bread! As opposed to bread makers, which might be a bit difficult...

(59 Posts)
thestylethatdecadesforgot Fri 04-Jan-13 13:20:48

Hi all!

I really want to get good at bread making and wondered if all you great bakers out there would like to add your tips and recipes on this thread?

I have gone in fits and starts with bread, so I never get good and I give up, it's a vicious circle! We eat a lot of bread as a family and its so expensive. I want to make brown, or half rye, or half wholemeal and half white bread. Anything that's not plain white. But the result is always a very dense loaf which doesn't seem to ever cook through! Although when I knock the bottom it sounds good and hollow. So confusing! I've tried quick baking, longer baking, lots of kneading, no knead (with overnight rising) and nothing is coming out right.

I'd love to have a sourdough starter but I don't think there's any point until I can make a reliable normal loaf. What's so sad is that everyone I ask says, oh, bread is so easy, anyone can do it! Well I can't! I bake other things ok!

Would love any help and tips or good recipes you've found to be reliable and hopefully it'll help anyone else trying to get better too.

Also, I wonder if you find it easier to buy bulk flour etc. and if you do, can you buy organic in bulk or not? I have been buying (and wasting!) Doves Farm but obviously only in supermarket amounts.

kiwigirl42 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:03:46

I love reading about your breadmaking. I've got 2 new recipes I'm going to make this week. One is out of an Australian Womans Weekly book called 'Cook' for an alternative form of sourdough - basically you mix the yeast with some flour and sugar and leave to ferment for 3 days before making the bread. It sounds a bit like biga like they use in The Bread Makers Apprentice (a fantastic book).
I'm also going to make Dan Lepards Panettone. I made 2 day slow rise Pantettone prior to Xmas but they were a bit heavy. Dan uses 00 flour which should give a much softer crumb (I usually use it half and half with normal flour for waffles and it makes them lovely and soft inside)

Moominsarehippos Thu 10-Jan-13 08:57:03

Hope she's feeling better.
With the Dan Lepard no knead recipe, the timings (so about 1hr for first rise and 20-30 mins second) are the same.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Wed 09-Jan-13 20:04:27

Sorry everyone, DD2 has started with a nasty cough and has added a streaming nose to her symptoms today so she's been sorry for herself day and night for a few days and I'm tired out! She's teething too! So bread making has been at the back of my mind and not the front. Anyway, thank you, I'll try leaving loaves to cool. It's timing for me, the no knead would have to be started early am to be ready to cook by say 10pm and I need to be in bed early these days till DD2 is sleeping through again. Must try a normal loaf but I've been knocked in confidence again this time with the funny spongy turn outs.

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 17:10:04

I bake evenings too and cool upside down in the oven (door open) either overnight or wrap in a tea towel and leave on a wooden board (so that it doesnt get a soggy condensation bottom). I too have towels and napkins that I only use for breadmaking. Wash them, then rinse like mad to get rid of any soap smell and use them (wash ifrequently as they won't need it).

MousyMouse Mon 07-Jan-13 19:53:51

yes def easier to cut and 'dryer' when cooled completely.
we usually bake in the evening and only cut it in the morning.
I wrap it tightly in a kitchen towel (washed only with soda crystals just for this
urpose) and leave to cool on the counter.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Mon 07-Jan-13 19:13:32

Right, I made my all white loaf today. It looked great but same problem internally. This is a very basic question I know but could someone tell me whether its best to let a loaf cool completely before cutting into it please? It as ready at lunch time so we just tucked straight in and the same yesterday. So I wondered if it was just steaming still and whether if I'd let it cool right down it wouldn't have been so sticky.

Moominsarehippos Sun 06-Jan-13 21:44:23

Not very malty. Its a subtle taste but the cardamums are quite fragrant. Very nice though and good for browning bananas as it is also sweeeeet!

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 21:42:18

Does not 's'. Sorry, I've noticed loads of typos in my posts, I miss them on my phone.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 21:41:22

s malt add a hops type taste? I like the sound of it. Could you add it to any old loaf?

White no knead is proving. Will see how it goes. Out of bread flour now so will buy more tomorrow and start working through everyone's suggestions.

I bought a lovely organic malted grain loaf in sainsburys and its very light , I might ask them what flour they use to make it! I'd like to be able to replicate that.

Moominsarehippos Sun 06-Jan-13 21:27:52

Yup H+B for the malt extract (any healthfood shop or baking dept). You can probably use ready ground cardamum - about a quarter teaspoon.

MothershipG Sun 06-Jan-13 20:43:26

Yours looks pretty tasty too thestyle! I love a bit of rye in my bread, I think it really adds to the flavour.

I get my Malt extract in Holland & Barratt.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 19:22:14

Sorry my post before the pic was supposed to say half a cup of RYE flour not the flour, which makes no sense!

Moomins, do you think you could do the same but leave out the cardamoms? I think DD1 would like banana bread, actually so would DD2 probably, (she's just started weaning) but I can't cope with cardamom! And where do you get malt extract?

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 19:19:30

Trying again

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 19:10:41

My pic of the finished loaf wouldn't upload this morning and I had to go out. Will try again. I added about a half cup of the flour and I think it was my undoing - what has been a really good loaf on previous occasions was cooked through I think as it was all the same texture internally with lots of small air pockets but it was so sticky. It had quite a thick crust all the way round and I wonder if it was so steamy inside the loaf it couldn't dry out?

Anyway we ate it all! Will try a fully white one tonight and compare.

Looks great Mothership!

Moominsarehippos Sun 06-Jan-13 19:05:31

Today I made banana and cardamum bread (2 bananas, 400g strong white flour, 7g flour, 10 cardamum pods crushed, 150g warm water, 2 tbsp malt extract). Rather nice but all gone, so no pic!

MothershipG Sun 06-Jan-13 17:19:37

All this talk of bread prompted my to try an overnight loaf loosely based on this recipe. I added about 60g of rye flour because I like the extra flavour and it turned out quite well. It has an almost sourdough flavour but a very soft and spongy crumb, I'm really rather pleased with it. smile

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 11:23:41

Thank you Westtoeast, I am going to start at the beginning of the thread and try to work through all the recipes to see what works for me. Thank you everyone for your input. Loaf just out of the oven. Will upload a photo. It looks lovely even if I do say so myself! But of course I will need to see what it's like inside. I used the cups measures on the NY recipe and it says the result should be a 1.5lb loaf. Having converted that it should be approx 680g but mine was only 530g. Any ideas or am I over thinking it?

fromwesttoeast Sun 06-Jan-13 08:16:39

I make bread 3 or4 times a week using a quick, easy method I got from a kids learning to read book. I have no time for frills or fuss but want bread without a shovel full of salt in it. I use wholemeal flour.
500g flour per loaf, 1 sachet fast action yeast, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 baby bottle of water 50/50 cold and just boiled. Mix in a big bowl. Kneaded in the bowl, about 5 mins by hand. Turn into greased lofaf tin. Leave for an hour to rise then straight in the oven, no second kneading. 40 mins at between gas 6 and 7. Turn oven off but leave the bread in for 15 mins.
Sometimes the bread sticks to the tin when I try to take it out. Then I just leave it in the tin for a little longer.
This probably breaks all chef rules but works for me every time. Even my teenage son can make bread successfully this way. I usually make 2 loaves at a time.

TheSkiingGardener Sun 06-Jan-13 08:06:18

I do love that no knead bread. Hopefully you will have a gorgeous loaf soon. Might have to make one myself this week, just for variety from the usual bread maker loaves!

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 07:59:40

Here it is 12hrs later. Just done the next step to bring it together a couple of times and rest for 15mins. Then it gets shaped and put on a tea towel to rise for 2hrs before baking.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 06-Jan-13 07:43:37

Morning all. This is my dough last night for the no knead recipe. Quite wet and just barely brought together. Just feeding Dd2 and go take a pic of it this morning after a 12hr prove. The recipe says up to 18hrs proving is good but 12hr minimum.

Moominsarehippos Sat 05-Jan-13 21:36:50

I also use a basic white dough to make 'non-accia' : squidge to about 1/4 inch, jab in olives and rosemary, sea salt and olive oil and bake. Great for starters and not as oily/greasy of proper focaccia.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sat 05-Jan-13 16:42:59

Thank you all for the input, I think I'll try my no knead one tonight for starters and post some pics for advice. I love both of those links to the Dan Lepard recipe and the RC bread book! I see two new book or bases on the horizon. Thank you both for those.

Will be back with pics tonight and tomorrow am.

Moominsarehippos Sat 05-Jan-13 10:19:58

Not stalking but on a day long course he taught (with his fiancee helping out). I use a knife to mix (a big flat one) and a scraper to handle to dough.

Pop a little oil on your board and rub your hands in it so that the dounh wont stick to your hands either.

I have made a basic dough and flattened it. I bakes some baby toms in the oven with salt, tiny bit of olive oil and herbs. I then cool it and dollop it onto the bread and roll it up. Prove it for the second time and bake. Yummmmm! Great with soup. Or pop some cooked sausages on flattened dough to make 'sausage rolls'. Great for picnics and sandwich boxes.

MrsMiniversCharlady Sat 05-Jan-13 09:32:28

This recipe based on Dan Lepard's recipe has always made a very nice, light loaf of wholemeal bread when I've made it.

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