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A few secrets to consistantly delicious bread

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Roller and his Amish Bread recipe has turned me into a bread baker, though I concentrate on rustic and Italian breads (little to no kneading, and with rustic bread only 4 or 5 ingredients). 


I've learned quite a lot about flours, gluten, and technique.  I'm no expert baker by any means, and was surprised at how the bread changed from batch to batch.  I learned it had more to do with flours and technique than the weather. 


1.  Select the correct flour.  There are quite a few different types; cake, pastry, all purpose, bread, whole wheat, etc. Flours can be made from different types of wheat too.  The one main difference is how much protein/gluten is in the flour.  The more protein, the chewier the flour.  Less protein, the softer then chew.  There are also different bread flours.  Check the protein content. A good, all-around bread flour should have 4-5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup of flour.  One protein gram can actually make a BIG difference in how a bread chews.    


2.  Weigh your flour, don't measure.  THIS WAS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I LEARNED FOR CONSISTANCY.  Pick up a digital $10-$15 food scale to add to your kitchen tools.  Select grams as your weight measure.  Put a bowl on the scale and zero it out.  Then just scoop the flour into the bowl until the desired weight is reached.  You bread will come out much more consistent.  Below are some flour weights of flours I've used. The rustic bread recipe I use calls for 3 cups of flour. I have that list taped to the back of the cabinet door where I keep flour.


Winco AP Flour:                                 1 cup = 124 grams.     3 cups = 372 grams. 

       12g protein/cup.       36g/3 cups.


Gold Medal AP Flour:                        1 cup = 120 grams.     3 cups = 360 grams. 

       12g protein/cup.       36g/3 cups.


Gold Medal Bread Flour:                   1 cup = 120 grams.     3 cups = 360 grams. 

      16g protein/cup.       48g/3 cups


Bob's Red Mill AP Flour:                   1 cup = 136 grams.     3 cups = 408 grams. 

      16g protein/cup.       48g/3 cups


Bob's Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour:             1 cup = 144 grams.     3 cups = 432 grams. 

                   20g protein/cup.       60g/3 cups.


Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour.  1 cup = 152 grams.  3 cups = 456 grams.

        24g protein/cup.       72g/3 cups.


3.  Use Vital Wheat Gluten to fortify low protein flours.  If you make the same recipe using all-purpose flour one time, and bread flour another time, you will notice a difference.  AP flour gives a white bread kind of texture.  Bread flour with at least 4 grams of protein/quarter cup gives a firmer bite.  With 5 grams of protein/quarter cup it gives a very firm bite.  Instead of buying a bunch of different flours you can make great artisan breads, rustic breads, and tossable pizza dough by adding Vital Wheat Gluten to all-purpose flours (I use Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten).  Here's a bit of a guideline for vital wheat gluten.


                                                     1 cup = 120 grams. 

1/4 cup = 23g protein.

1 Tbs = 5.75g protein.  (4 Tbs/¼ cup) 

1 tsp = 1.92g protein.   (3 tsp/Tbs)

Use 2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten per 1 cup of flour

                                                     Add 1 1/4 teaspoons more water per teaspoon of vital wheat gluten.     


Using AP flour and Vital Wheat Gluten I can make a loaf of rustic bread for 48 cents a loaf, about 1/8th the cost of a grocery store loaf, and have fun in the process.   Even using the pricier Artisan flour it still is only 92 cents a loaf, about 1/4th the cost of the grocery store. 


Bake bread, almost as easy as smoking meat!


post #2 of 11

Ray that looks great, my problem with bread is, it becomes hard as a rock over night.Going to give Rollers a try one day.


post #3 of 11
Sounds like you've been reading Ken Forkish's book, Flour Water Salt Yeast.
post #4 of 11

Do you make a "sponge" when making breads....   I find that helps with consistency also....

post #5 of 11

I'm not exactly sure what she does but my wife just seems to know how to make great bread.


I'm going to print out your post & give it to her.


Thank-you for sharing!



post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Haven't read any books. Just trial and error and reading off the Internet.

Biga is like a sponge, kind of like an Italian starter. Rustic bread is basically one big sponge. Love the no kneading of rustic bread.

The bread that is hard as a rock? Sounds like it could be overworked, causing too much gluten formation. Or not enough yeast, or bad yeast.

post #7 of 11

Good info...JJ

post #8 of 11

Thanks guys I'll try the sponge and less kneeding


post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by Noboundaries View Post

Haven't read any books. Just trial and error and reading off the Internet.

Pick up a copy of Forkish's book. Its a good read and really gets into artisan bread making.

post #10 of 11

I love homemade bread, this no knead thing sounds

like a good thing to me.

I will look into this.

Thank you.



post #11 of 11

Thanks for the info NB.... I've been making hard rolls lately and my results are different every time but very good. I'll go by weight instead of volume to better keep consistency. I did find to give bread flavor you add a starter to the mix while using lower amounts of yeast and longer fermentation times..... Ive been using the king Arthur AP unbleached flour

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