What are your tips and tricks for making bread???

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HowlingDog

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Thanks Everyone for your helpful suggestions. I do need to write them down.

I did order this off Amazon and from what I read this, along with the aging, water and salt will likely give me the flavor I have been looking for.
IMG_5086.JPG

Once I stop being lazy, I will get around to making another batch of griddle muffins and let ya all know how they turned out.

I have only tried to make a sourdough starter once and it was a mess. May have to try again someday.....

Mark
 

noboundaries

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You can get a lite sourdough flavor with both a poolish or a 2-3 day long ferment.

I ferment my bread dough covered overnight on the counter. All the ingredients, wet and dry, mixed together, but I only use 1/4 tsp instant yeast. Next morning I toss 2 tsp instant yeast on it and turn on the mixer to smooth ball stage. Rest 15 mins, shape on a floured surface, then second rise for about an hour. Bake, cool, slice and eat.

If I want more sour flavor, I'll cold ferment it for 2-5 days before warming a little, adding the yeast, kneading in the mixer, then the rest like I said above. Works for pizza dough, too.
 
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Fueling Around

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If on municipal water, it is a good idea to use purified or distilled water.
If treated with chlorine only, you can dissipate it by a light boil and then standing overnight.
But ....
I try to keep a couple gallons of distilled water around for such things. I know at times I can smell the chlorine in our water. Maybe it doesn't matter. Things usually are spur of the moment around here.

Ryan
I assume you're on a rural water distribution being you can smell the chlorine.
If you can really smell it, chances are they did a secondary treatment with chloramine.
Chloramine is NOT removed by boiling water and standing until cool.
 

bakerman

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Great timing on this thread. I just recently got a huge French oven. So far I have baked 2 loaves of bread. They were okay, but tasted like the OP said. Flour and water. I will try some of these helpful hints and see what the outcome is. I have to see if I can source some malted flour too.
Baking bread in this French/Dutch oven is so easy and fun. I was surprised how much I enjoyed making the bread.
 
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noboundaries

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Salt: I'm not a fan of ionized Morton's for baking. Why? Prof bakers say it can add a metallic taste to baked goods. I use fine sea salt or kosher salt. Check the bulk section of the supermarket. I use ionized Morton's for table salt.

Water: My supertaster wife is a morning tea drinker, and she's as fussy with her tea as I am with my home-roasted coffee. She refuses to make tea with water that has been previously boiled. She says it makes her tea taste flat. She's always up before me because she still works.

I make pour-over coffee every morning, using a 2L electric hot pot. The day I'm going to start a bread bake, I'll put extra tap water than I need in the pot so it will boil, cool, and be ready to use later for the bread.

I used to bake two loaves at a time and freeze one. Since I love to experiment and start my overnight loaves in the evening, I prepped one loaf with the degassed water from the kettle, and the second loaf with water straight from the tap. The yeast activity on the tap water loaf was noticeably less.

The tap water was probably 15°F cooler than the room temp kettle water. Temp does impact yeast activity, but I've noticed several times, whether making same day or overnight breads, that straight tap water results in less yeast activity compared to water that has been boiled and offgassed.

BTW, if anyone is wondering, it was SMF that turned me into a bread baker. Roller's Amish bread was the cause of it all.

Happy baking!

Ray
 

noboundaries

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More input: Baker's Math.

Bread, in it's most basic form, is just flour, water, salt, and yeast.

I weigh my flour, water, and salt. I used to weigh yeast, but found it didn't make much difference so I use my 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full teaspoon measuring spoons.

Flour weight = 100%
Water weight divided by flour weight = hydration percentage. Example: 400 grams water / 600 grams flour = 67% hydration.
Salt weight divided by flour weight should typically be around 2-3%.
Yeast weight is typically 1-2% of the flour weight.

Yeast comes in 2 basic types; fresh and dry. I've never used fresh because it won't keep as long as dry.

Dry comes in 2 types; active dry and Instant (aka Quick). Active dry is little beads that must be dissolved in water to get the best distribution. Instant/Quick is tiny flakes that can be mixed with the dry ingredients. I use Instant for simplicity. Active Dry and Instant/Quick are the exact same Yeast just formed differently

If dry yeast of either type is kept in the freezer (large amount) or refrigerator (smaller amount), you can ignore the expiration date. Just make sure when you buy it that it is still well prior to the expiration date.
 
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HowlingDog

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I weigh my flour, water, and salt. I used to weigh yeast, but found it didn't make much difference so I use my 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full teaspoon measuring spoons.

Flour weight = 100%
Water weight divided by flour weight = hydration percentage. Example: 400 grams water / 600 grams flour = 67% hydration.
Salt weight divided by flour weight should typically be around 2-3%.
Yeast weight is typically 1-2% of the flour weight.
Thanks Much!! I weigh ingredients when doing bacon/sausage/cure/meat, but I have tended to "wing it" when it comes to baking. No More!!

Question on hydration: Is there a recommended hydration #?? You mentioned 67% water to flour. I assume different types of bread would have different hydration. I am starting with English Muffins. If I get brave, I may even begin a sour dough starter at some point.

I need to do some organizing of all these suggestions.
 
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noboundaries

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Above is my answer to your question about hydration.

Sourdough is something I've done and left behind. I may return to it someday. You'd be surprised though how a close a poolish can get you to sourdough flavor.
 
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bakerman

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I was keeping my yeast in the fridge. I bought some new and I will keep it in the freezer after I open it. I guess the fridge yeast is going to the garbage.
Thanks for the tip.
BTW this weekend I am attempting Pumpernickle bread. Can't wait to see what happens.
 

noboundaries

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Don't throw away the fridge yeast if it is still good! I bought a pound of instant recently and put it in the freezer. In my fridge, I have the last of 4 oz of instant and 4 oz of active dry. Those two little jars never saw the freezer and were kept in the fridge the entire time. They are both still within their expiration date. Before that, I had a jar of active dry that had been refrigerated the entire time that went a year beyond the expiration date and was as good as new. If you ever have any doubts, you can proof yeast in water with a little sugar.
 
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bakerman

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I haven't tossed it yet. But I want to see the difference in the bread using brand new vs. 3 month old in the fridge.
FWIW I always proof mine with a tsp. of sugar and 100 degree H2O. Gonna try the bottled water next see if there is a difference.
 

FreshGround

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Thanks Much!! I weigh ingredients when doing bacon/sausage/cure/meat, but I have tended to "wing it" when it comes to baking. No More!!

Question on hydration: Is there a recommended hydration #?? You mentioned 67% water to flour. I assume different types of bread would have different hydration. I am starting with English Muffins. If I get brave, I may even begin a sour dough starter at some point.

I need to do some organizing of all these suggestions.
My no-knead bread dough is 73%. 463 g of flour and 12 oz (340 g) of water.
 

BGKYSmoker

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May I suggest a good book for you Flour, water, salt, yeast. By Ken Forkish
User friendly and easy to follow recipes. His poolish is pretty easy and simple. You can also follow Rose red homestead on YT, she shows how to make his poolish.
 

BGKYSmoker

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I find that water with minerals works much better. If you have chlorinated water you will have to filter it. Dont use distilled.
 

noboundaries

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I haven't tossed it yet. But I want to see the difference in the bread using brand new vs. 3 month old in the fridge.
Whew. Good. If you're talking fresh yeast, I can't say yeah or neigh since I'venever used it. If you're talking active dry, instant, or quick yeast, 3 months in the fridge will perform exactly like the new. By all means test it. I never stop testing things, recipes, etc. Sometimes it's by mistake, most times on purpose.
 

drdon

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May I suggest a good book for you Flour, water, salt, yeast. By Ken Forkish
User friendly and easy to follow recipes. His poolish is pretty easy and simple. You can also follow Rose red homestead on YT, she shows how to make his poolish.
I was just following this thread to gleam some tips. This lady is pretty easy to follow and understand. I always learn more by watching than reading anymore. (Just lazy) Thanks for pointing this YT site out Rick. Between you and Ray you guys have taken alot of the fear and mystery out of bread.
HowlingDog HowlingDog Mark I'm really glad you posted this question. Sorry, I don't mean to hijack it.

Don
 

Coach JoeQB

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I have used fresh yeast many times. Usually when I go to Restaurant Depot I will pick up a block it's cheap enough so I don't worry about not using it all. Otherwise I always keep my yeast in the fridge.

Fresh yeast does give bread a smoother taste. The rise is about the same as when I use a poolish (most times). Actually the best rolls I have ever made are with Fresh Yeast.

Joe

FRESH YEAST ROLLS

24 G FRESH YEAST 1 1/2 TBLSP
170 G WARM WATER 3/4 CUP
1 EGG
30 G SUGAR 2 TBLSP
28 G OIL 2 TBLSP
361 G AP FLOUR 3 CUPS
6 G SALT 1 1/2 TSP

MIX THE FIRST 4 INGREDIENTS LET SIT FOR 15 MINUTES
MIX THE REST AND KNEAD FOR 8 MINUTES (15 BY HAND)
LET RISE UNTIL DOUBLED 1 1/2 HOURS
DIVIDE INTO 6 AND ROUND INTO BALLS
REFRIDERATE OVER NIGHT.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375

LET SIT ON THE COUNTER 1 HOUR TO RISE.
BRUSH WITH EGG WHITE AND SPRINKLE EVERYTHING BAGEL MIX
BAKE FOR 20 MINUTES.
 
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noboundaries

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I've got a baker's dozen batch of Eng Muffins in the second rise as I type. I intended to do these yesterday but my wife wanted a batch of my chili, which takes several hours. So, the muffins got pushed to today. I started the poolish last night.

This recipe uses an interesting poolish of 90g AP flour, 120g water, and a pinch to 1/2 tsp dry yeast. The less yeast you use, the longer the poolish will ferment before it collapses. So, if timing is an issue, use less yeast in the poolish

Most poolish recipes are 50/50 water and yeast. Recently I saw a YouTube video that explained there are definite flavor differences between a 50/50 poolish and a poolish that has more water than flour. The water heavy poolishes taste more sour.

Normally, I use muffin rings when I make EMs, but each one has to be greased then cleaned. PITA. The rings do make the EMs look like they came off an assembly line. Today I skipped the rings.

Muffins on the rise. I use a second half sheet to cover the lower half sheet while they are rising.

20230303_103102.jpg
 
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