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Basic Bread Questions
November 13, 2009
9:01 am
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Kathie
Asheville, NC
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Thank you so much, both of you. I will try again tomorrow, and I will try to wait until it cools.

Kathie

Who would have thought a city girl would live halfway up a mountain…and have chickens?

November 13, 2009
9:40 am
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Pete
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Now you'll hear from a side cutter!  That's the way I was taught to do it, and that's the way I still do it.  Most of the time!  (Might explain why I don't like those square breadmaker loaves?  Which is the side of one of those loaves??)  It does help some when cutting into a warm loaf – less distance from side to side than from top to bottom.

The knife really is key.  More important than any other factor when cutting bread, imho.  The thinner and smaller (in height, not length) the blade the better, as long as it is serrated.  (Although, we have a very old that has nearly no blade left that does a good job as well.)  Not quite as important when cutting cooled bread, or day old bread, but absolutely necessary when cutting warm bread.  And I cannot wait longer than 10 minutes for the first hunk of warm bread!

Cindy – I had one of those bread drawer slicing/storage gizmos.  It was great, but I don't know where it went!  Seems like it was a promotional deal with flour packed inside it about 15 years ago.  I may have broken the insert.  Sharp knives and plastic are not a good match.

A friend swears that she gets a perfect slice every time using an electric knife.  Not so much for me, but whatever works for you, go for it!

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

November 14, 2009
4:56 pm
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Kathie
Asheville, NC
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Ok today's loaf was a lot better than the first.  It was softer on top than before, but I took it out of the oven a bit too soon. Next loaf will be perfect!!!!

Thanks so much.

Kathie

Who would have thought a city girl would live halfway up a mountain…and have chickens?

November 14, 2009
6:15 pm
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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Yay, Kathie!!  Practice makes perfect!!!Shimmy

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

November 15, 2009
8:52 am
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Kathie
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While cutting my loaf for toast this morning I found a big ole hole.  Grrr. I am assuming that I folded it during my final kneading, which I should not have.  Also, I found the center of the loaf to be doughy. I am wondering if I should bake it longer.  But should I lower the temp to 340 and bake 30 minutes or keep it at 350 and bake it 30 minutes. 

It is delicious, but is too doughy in the center to use as sandwich bread.

Kathie

Who would have thought a city girl would live halfway up a mountain…and have chickens?

November 15, 2009
9:01 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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just bake it longer, kathie……..did you knock on it to see if sounds hollow?  or was it getting too dark?  i bake mine for about 30 minutes.  i think it depends on what you bake it in….some pans take longer than others.  one of my glass dishes is wider so the loaf doesn't get as high, and that doesn't take as long as my other one.

when you mention the final kneading……..is that before you put into pans?  you don't have to knead it, just punch down to get all of the air out, then shape into loaf.

it's all a practice to find what works best for you, your kitchen, your pans.  But don't give up, when you find that perfect spot, you will be giddy Shimmy

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

November 15, 2009
10:16 am
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Pete
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Besides, there is ALWAYS a use for every loaf of bread.  If it's a bit doughy/chewy, toast is the answer.  For any slight imperfection, there is still a good way to eat it.  Too dry?  French toast.  and on and on and on…

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

November 15, 2009
10:28 am
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Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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And croutons! 

Clover made me do it.

November 15, 2009
11:12 am
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ChrisUK
Netley Hampshire UK
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Pete said:

Besides, there is ALWAYS a use for every loaf of bread.  If it's a bit doughy/chewy, toast is the answer.  For any slight imperfection, there is still a good way to eat it.  Too dry?  French toast.  and on and on and on…


Please,Pretty Please.  Bread Pudding………..Mash it up with currants,sultana's,milk and a egg,mixed spice to taste ,bake with a crunchy topping of brown sugar…………..Ohhhh,Ive gone all unnecessay at the thought of warm from the oven .mmmmmm

Im a lonely little Petunia in a Cabbage patch

November 15, 2009
11:48 am
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Helen
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Kathie said:

While cutting my loaf for toast this morning I found a big ole hole.  Grrr. I am assuming that I folded it during my final kneading, which I should not have.  Also, I found the center of the loaf to be doughy. I am wondering if I should bake it longer.  But should I lower the temp to 340 and bake 30 minutes or keep it at 350 and bake it 30 minutes. 

It is delicious, but is too doughy in the center to use as sandwich bread.

Kathie


Large holes in the loaves used to happen to me, too, until an Amish woman showed me a trick:  after you have shaped the loaf (but before it's risen, of course), stab it all over with a fork, going all the way through to the bottom.  That will allow any air that been trapped during shaping to escape.  I've done that ever since, and I have no more large holes like you describe.  You may end up with some fork-marks in the top of your loaf, but to me, its a small price to pay to eliminate those big holes in the middle.

George Orwell - 1984
- Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

November 15, 2009
3:25 pm
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Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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That's an interesting technique, Helen!

I find if I knead it well, I don't have too much trouble with holes.

Re the doughy center, that makes me wonder if either your oven isn't cooking at the right temperature or what kind of pan you're using?  I recommend glass loaf pans–they cook evenly and you can see through them, which helps when you're deciding if the bread is done.  I've never found a loaf that's properly browned all over to be doughy in the center.

Clover made me do it.

November 15, 2009
5:42 pm
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Kathie
Asheville, NC
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Thanks to all of you. I will follow your suggestions and become a good bread maker. We have been using it for toast, which is really, really good.

Kathie

Who would have thought a city girl would live halfway up a mountain…and have chickens?

November 15, 2009
7:58 pm
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Flatlander
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Helen said:


Large holes in the loaves used to happen to me, too, until an Amish woman showed me a trick:  after you have shaped the loaf (but before it's risen, of course), stab it all over with a fork, going all the way through to the bottom.  That will allow any air that been trapped during shaping to escape.  I've done that ever since, and I have no more large holes like you describe.  You may end up with some fork-marks in the top of your loaf, but to me, its a small price to pay to eliminate those big holes in the middle.


Hey..My aunty does that too….I think I know why now

November 15, 2009
10:09 pm
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Debnfla3
North West Florida
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Do you use a regular sized fork?  I have never heard of doing that to the dough after shaping into a loaf.  Interesting fact, I will try it next time.  I try to roll the loaf tightly, pressing each roll of the dough firmly.  The only time I have a big problem with holes is when I make cinnamon swirl bread.  I brush the rolled dough with egg before putting the cinnamon and sugar layer down.  But it is hard to roll the dough into a loaf shape with all that sugar/cinnamon layer on it.  The dough doesn't touch dough and stick.  Then when baked the layers separate and that drives me crazy. I can not make David's beloved peanut butter and honey sandwiches with separated swirl bread. 

Tomorrow I think I'll make a loaf of bread just so I can try that fork method!

Deb

November 15, 2009
11:03 pm
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Helen
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Yeah, I use just a regular-size fork.  I think this trick works because it gets rid of any air pockets that come from shaping the loaf.  I know what you mean about cinnamon swirl bread, but as you say, those holes are due to the butter/cinnamon/sugar filling…not from shaping.  But you've got nothing to lose by seeing if it works, either.  Good Luck.  I can almost smell the cinnamon now… 

George Orwell - 1984
- Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

November 18, 2009
7:07 pm
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Joelle
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Smiley PuppyI had a problem when making the Grandmother bread, when I used the amount of flour in the recipe, it was so sticky, I had to add quite a bit more to make it workable? What am I doing wrong?

  "Be kinder than necessary, everyone is fighting some sort of battle."

November 18, 2009
8:27 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Wrong?  Probably nothing wrong at all, how did it taste?  Laugh  Lots of things can affect the moisture of bread dough though, it can depend on the brand of flour, the time of year, if you have central heating or a wood stove etc…  It is probably ok.

Located in N.E. Ohio

November 18, 2009
10:01 pm
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Helen
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This spring and summer, my bread took alot more flour than the recipe indicated because the weather was so damp. 

George Orwell - 1984
- Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

November 19, 2009
2:05 pm
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TXLady
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The temp of the water should be as mentioned at least 100 degrees and I usually aim at 110 but up even to 115 is OK.  While the truth is it should still work with luke warm, most people are not great at judging temps and the rule of warm to the touch is really less than it should be ….I suggest you wait until it is quite warm and then use it….not hot …get an instant read thermometer …they are wonderful.

one other point that I find helps…I have been more successful at bread making since I learned to add the last of the flour in small increments and use the last of it on the kneading board.  Too much flour ruins the bread…I like the dough a little slack….

November 19, 2009
2:54 pm
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Debnfla3
North West Florida
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Something I have read in all my bread books and in online bread forums.  They all say that a longer rise gives the bread a better flavor.  I have baked one loaf and the other loaf put in a pan, the pan in a plastic bag in the fridge for a slow final rise over night.  The next day I take it out about 2 hours before I want to bake it.  That loaf will have a better taste than the one I bake immediately after the second rise in the loaf pan.

All of my pizza doughs I make the day before I want to bake a pizza.  The dough is so good, chewy with a crisp bottom crust and a fabulous flavor.

I read also that the difference between sticky and tacky is that when you press your hand down on the dough, pull your hand up if the dough is sticky it will stick to your hand.  It needs a dab more flour if the recipe calls for tacky dough.  Tacky means that when you press your hand down on your dough, pull your hand up the dough may feel sticky but it doesn't stick to your hand.  I had problems trying to figure out what was the difference between sticky and tacky when the books always talk about that.  Now I know! 

Deb

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