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mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Great thread! I love bread. Like, in a sinful way. It has been said that good bread is better than cake.

So. True.

The admonishment to wait is a good one. Cutting in early will let all the steam escape from your cut face, resulting in a large piece of really gummy bread. That's no fun.

One thing to remember - most breads are done when they hit an internal temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit or so. If you're baking a loaf, just stick a temperature probe in it, set it to beep when it hits that temperature, and you won't need to check on your bread for doneness ever again. It's been a big help in my baking endeavors.

Oh also: as said, bread without salt is just...not bread at all. Certainly not bread worth eating. If you forget to add salt (or even yeast) until after you make your dough, don't worry too much - it's still fixable. Add the missing component to a bit of water, and then really (I mean really) work it into your dough. If the dough is too wet after, add a bit more flour to compensate. I've done this more than once to good effect. It's worth tasting and smelling your dough to make sure you've put in all the things that you wish to put in.

P.S. - if anyone is looking for an excellent, excellent book, I have to recommend The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is a tremendous compendium on how to bake what will likely be the best bread of your life.

mediaphage fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2012 around 13:47

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mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


Mr. Wiggles posted:

I make all the bread that we eat.

Bake bread all the time it's the best thing.

Yessssss this.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


baku posted:

Please don't over do this you guys
bread has an enormous health impact on the human body and I wouldn't want to see anyone get hurt.
Ugh, go away.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


Voronoi Potato posted:

My apartment cannot fit an oven. I can get a toaster oven, or a bread maker. I loved making bread in high school (even though I was terrible at it) and would like to continue making it. I think I might prefer a toaster oven but I'm not sure I can afford the bread maker AND the toaster oven. As a result I need a toaster oven big enough to accommodate the bread. Do any tiny apt bread goons have recommendations or will any decent toaster oven do. The one i'm looking at is .6 cubic feet which seems like it should be enough.

Oh heavens, buy the toaster oven!

I haven't bought one in a while, but we went and measured the internal space of a few - as I'm sure you've found, they're all of such varied sizes. I would take care to buy the tallest one you can, since it will let your bread rise without worry.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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FishBulb posted:

I make my bread in a loaf pan that I put inside my Dutch oven with a couple ice cubes for steam and oven spring. It's pretty good but the Dutch oven isn't really that tall and sometimes when I have an especially puffy loaf the top of the loaf hits the bottom of the Dutch oven lid. Is there like a long, tall, heavy oval cooking unit anyone knows about? I've seen oval Dutch ovens but I don think they are any taller...

You could get one of those enameled roasters. They're quite large.

Alternatively, I take an old jelly roll pan that I don't care about (e.g. warping) and let it preheat in the oven. Then I toss some ice cubes or some sprays of water onto it when I put the bread in. Works pretty well, though I only bother when I really am going all out for "artisan" bread. Just the small oven itself and the offgassing of water vapor from the dough is generally sufficient.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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TychoCelchuuu posted:

you might want to use some whole wheat flour since that has more organisms in it

Uh.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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TychoCelchuuu posted:

Sorry, I guess enzymes aren't technically organisms. They're... whatever enzymes are. I'm an American who only ever made it past high school biology, it's a miracle I even learned about evolution.

Organisms are living things. Enzymes are molecules that speed up a chemical reaction. That's what an enzyme is.

And I don't think you're going to find more "enzymes" in whole wheat flour over white. The flour is definitely compositionally different - it has the wheat's germ and and bran, in addition to the wheat's endosperm. That means it likely has more fat and fiber, and potentially more protein, though that's not always the case.

When I do use whole wheat flours, I tend to add extra gluten, especially if I'm using it to make rolls or sandwich breads.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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dad. posted:

"enzymes" comprises more than just alpha and beta amylase. There certainly is more protein in anything milled whole, it's just not structurally beneficial, like how rye has approximately 14% protein but you're not getting brioche-like volume in loaf made of it; also again, enzymes and pentosans etc.

Right.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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therattle posted:

I think you mean "I stand corrected"!

Regarding starters, I keep mine in the fridge and feed it every week or so when I bake. I've left it for a couple of months without feeding and it revived. They're more robust than you think. The longer you go without feeding, as a general rule, the more sour. I am imprecise about my measurements and keep it pretty loose and batter-like. I tried the countertop every day feed method, but couldn't take the the hassle and the waste. I know is cheating but I supplement the starter when baking with a bit of yeast for sourdough flavour and guaranteed rise. I am more concerned with a consistent good outcome than the purity of the process. Others are free to differ.

No, I don't. Because I'm not incorrect. I just don't feel like continuing a discussion in a thread where people are using whole wheat flour for all the magical enzymes.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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colonp posted:

How do you guys soften up grains/seeds? I've been boiling them, then letting the resulting porridge cool off, then putting in the wet yeast etc. but the smell of the porridge have been dominating my bread. Maybe just leave 'em in a bowl of water over night? Or am I just overcooking?

I don't use them in breads really, but you could just leave them in a bowl of water in the fridge for a day, and avoid the cooking issue entirely.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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The Doctor posted:

Can there be a rule or something where we stop apologetically calling ourselves poor? I don't know man, it's ok to not have money, and you can even be proud that you do everything by hand. I certainly do not use a mixer.

I think he was talking about bread machines, which make terrible bread anyway.

Also hand kneading is a glorious way to work out stress, and you can take as long as you want because it's basically impossible to overknead.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Reinhart's challah has 5.5% oil, 18% eggs, 7% egg yolks and ~45% water by weight. Salt is at 1.4%, sugar at 5.5%, and flour, of course, is 100%.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


For what it's worth, I'm not sure how challah-y that challah is. Traditionally, challah is way more eggy - like enough yolk to turn it golden. It's a bit stiffer, too.

That said this bread is probably more appropriate to eat on a regular basis since challah can be pretty rich.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Butch Cassidy posted:

This was the result of a bout of insomnia I tried to battle with gin and then decided I might as well bake a loaf of bread if I couldn't sleep:



Also, don't dump the whey if you make cheese. It is great as liquid in bread dough.

Dat crust.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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FooF posted:

Came to post that I just gave this a whirl and came out with a 9"x5"x8" loaf of white bread that was soft, spongy and delicious. I halved the recipe because I only had 1 Tbsp of yeast (but forgot to halve the sugar) but it looked a lot like Charmmi's picture, sans cat attack.

I just got into baking bread about six months ago and the basic white/wheat loaves I've been making are good but I'd like to branch out into some crustier or maybe some sourdough stuff. I'll give the OP's no-knead bread a try in the near future.

For future reference that would have been fine - yeast will grow and divide, so it just would have taken longer to rise (but not by much since it's going to multiply along a logarithmic scale).

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


ALso I just noticed the recipe only called for 1Tbsp yeast (which is actually quite a bit) so I have no idea why you halved this recipe unless it was just to make less bread which is a totally fine reason but not the one you stated.


I've got some pâte fermentée fermentéing in the fridge tonight. Gon make some goooood bread tmurr.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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I baked some more bread this morning.




mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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daggerdragon posted:

Yes. However, I never got a dough, it just immediately went to pulled-chicken crumbles. Beating it for another half hour juuuust barely let me squish it hardcore into small loaf-shaped lumps that looks like brains. It looks like bread (and brains), it smells like bread, might as well bake it and see what comes out. I'm fully expecting it to just explode and make a mess in the oven, but who knows.
You almost certainly didn't have enough water. Is important to remember that unless you weigh everything (and sometimes even then), you can't be certain how much flour you have in a cup, or how wet that flour is. How much water you need can vary between flours and between locations.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Flipperwaldt posted:

I guess I'll have to adjust that a bit for a smallish loaf and for working with a freaking halogen lamp toaster oven that will burn your poo poo because the heating element's so close.

But I didn't try with this almost sugar free recipe, so, yeah, good point there. Thanks. I think I just needed someone to pull me over that line to try it.

For what it's worth, you should look into getting an oven probe. After you've been baking a bit, shove the probe in and cook until it hits around 200F depending on the type of bread. Sandwich bread might only get to 190. It is a fantastic way of judging dough doneness that takes out the guesswork.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Devoyniche posted:

Yeah it definitely seems like it doesn't have enough liquid, if it isn't actually forming a cohesive mass. I've found that some people have a few rules like holding back 50 g of flour (between 1/3 and 1/2 cup if you don't have a scale - I would just hold back a 1/2 cup and add it gradually, plus, if you need it, whatever the recipe will specify for "dusting/kneading"), or adding in flour a cup at a time and mixing until it is fully incorporated before adding more, the idea being that it is better to have a wetter dough and add flour while kneading rather than trying to incorporate water into a dough that has already sort of come together.

I guess it works, but that seems awfully backwards to me. Usually you use 100% of the called-for flour, and add sufficient water to make a dough. Not 100% of the water and add sufficient flour.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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turtle_hermit posted:

Use a baking sheet with no rim or a piece of cardboard as a peel.
Just rub some flour on it and give it a shake before loading to make sure it's loose.

I dump a big handful of cornmeal on the peel.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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therattle posted:

I have a problem. My starter has gone bitter. Not sour, bitter (I know the difference!) - so much so that bread made with it is inedible. I had been keeping it in the fridge, feeding about once a week prior to a bake, then removing some starter to use, adding more flour and water to top it up again, and returning to the fridge. Bitter, bitter, bitter. Any ideas why, or how to salvage it?

I would just throw it out and start over; it's not like it'd take you long to regenerate it. I won't profess to know what happened with it, but getting colonized by a gross yeast or bacteria is a good start.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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Pookah posted:

Oh dear, that looks like it was super fun to clean up.

My oven has a really annoying feature - the knob for raising the temperature is just a free-turning one with no "clicking" type stages. It is also perfectly placed to catch in a teatowel used by a left-handed person to adjust things in the oven. So perfectly placed in fact, that I have on several occasions accidentally turned the temperature up to 250 degrees celcius without noticing until smoke started coming out of the oven.

None of my ovens with analog dials had clickers. No offense, but if this has happened "on several occasions", maybe you need to stop putting your towel there.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Pookah posted:

I don't ever leave it there.

It happens because the dial is on the left side of the cooker, so that when I reach into it with my left hand wrapped in a towel, the loose-turning temperature knob occasionally catches in it. It's one of the irritations of being a leftie; devices are generally designed with the assumption you will be using them right-handed.

I'm down with this left-handed martyrism you're throwing, but as a certified southpaw I really never have any trouble.

Except for loving scissors sometimes. Also I flip the blade on the veggie peeler so my bf always complains when he goes to peel something.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Flipperwaldt posted:

You use the right amount of flour from the get go and you mop it all up with the ball of dough. If you've got an entire kitchen table at your disposal, there's really no excuse for there to be flour anywhere else (like the floor or whatever).

Maybe your family is messy people? Or maybe it's the fact that my grandmother had had almost fifty years of practice when I saw her do it like that.

It isn't inherently wasteful.

That said, I use a bowl, like every normal person.

Also even if you use too much, I've never had to scrape up more than a handful of flour afterwards, at most. At that level, flour's pretty cheap.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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The Doctor posted:

I made 80% hydration baguettes again (I bought a digital kitchen scale) and they came out vastly better than last time.

The one problem I continue to have is that I use a heavy whole wheat flour and it's just not the same as that super fine light white bread stuff and it just doesn't get as airy. It was much airier than my normal recipes and it got a great crust though, the taste of the pre-fermented biga/poolish is also really noticeable and is really tasty. I will say it tastes very salty to me though, I usually use maybe half the salt this recipe calls for and double or 2.5x the flour.

Yeah for what it's worth, it probably just won't be, especially if you basically swap out white for WW. I haven't read it yet, but Peter Reinhart, who did the GWC favorite Bread Baker's Apprentice, also came out with a book on WW only recipes you may wish to look at.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Leper Residue posted:

I was using active dry yeast, with cold tap water. It sat around 15 hours, with nothing.

I'll try again tonight with room temperature water, more yeast and regular flour. I'll test the yeast first too before I waste more flour.

Also, should I use iodized salt or kosher? I don't think we even have any iodized in the place.
There's no way you're killing your yeast with salt. If I haven't done it, and I screw up a lot, then I don't think you have. How old is your yeast? Even if it isn't expired, it does seem like there's something wrong with the yeast itself.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Leper Residue posted:

Yeah, I did the yeast test and the water got some bubbles so I thought it was ok but honestly I have no idea how many it was supposed to have, it was very little.

Another failure, I'm going to try again on sunday after I get more yeast and replace all the drat flour I've used.

So if you proof the yeast in water you should get a noticeable amount of gas and odor. If it was just a few bubbles, I'd be confident that your yeast is old. If you're going to be baking a lot, I'd do as the above suggested and just pick up a jar you can keep in the fridge.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Leper Residue posted:

Bleh. Yeah I was using the packet stuff. The difference in price is like a dollar for three packets vs. 8 for a little jar. Guess I get what I pay for.

Thanks for the help and advice. I don't plan on giving up yet.

Well, so, it's not necessarily you get what you pay for; you're almost certainly paying more for the amount of yeast you get in the packets than you would for the equivalent amount of yeast in the jar.

The Doctor posted:

You can get yeast much more cheaply than this...those little jars are overpriced. Try looking for the biggish vacuum-sealed packs they usually sell to restaurants. There's a restaurant supply store near where I work and I got a pack for around $5.00, I've been using it for months and I bake bread every week.

Also I tried 80% hydration baguettes again, this time with white bread flour. I made a lot of errors but they were a big success any way. I accidentally halfed the yeast for my poolish and the dough stuck to my parchment and fell before going into the oven, but it puffed up like it should have any way and has a crumb very similar to the one on the site, pics soon.

Yeast multiplies logarithmically, so even halving the yeast only delays the final levels by one generation or so, so it's really not that big of a deal.

WhoIsYou posted:

Anyone who plans to make bread regularly without using a sourdough starter would do well to pick up a bag of SAF-Instant Red. You can mix it right in to the dry ingredients, and you don't have to use as much as the packets or jar.



You don't use a ton of yeast in the jar, which can also be mixed into the ingredients, soooo?

Not that I'm against saving money, of course, just that my jar of instant yeast is super easy to pic up at the store.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Am I the only one who never measures yeast? I just...pour a bunch in. It's all log growth that you can just figure out when something looks, you know, done.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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therattle posted:

If I'm following a recipe I generally measure. When I'm improvising I, well, improvise. For my usual no-knead I use 1/4 tsp. if there is a flour or ingredient that retards rising I'll add more, up to 1/2tsp in total. If making a kneaded bread i just toss in about 1tsp but am not too bothered about exactitude.

The reason I don't bother is because after a few generations, how much you use at the start is utterly insignificant. I honestly do not think it matters past a certain point, though I guess I should run some tests.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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WhoIsYou posted:

Yeast cells take a couple hours to reproduce once. They also need oxygen, so if you aren't doing a long preferment and regularly incorporating air, it doesn't come into play. The amount you start with will determine how fast the dough ferments. You can get better flavor from your bread with a longer ferment in the mid-70s. Using a smaller amount lets you get more flavor before too much carbon dioxide is released. Also, measuring the yeast will give a more consistent loaf of bread.

I can see that, but I dunno, if I get too much rise, I'm not opposed to just beating it down and letting it come back a bit.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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Ahahah, bread snobs itt.

Actually, there's not much different between store bought bread and homemade bread - if you buy the nicer, "artisan" loaves and the bread is baked that day or the day before.

Compared to, say, sandwich bread, or those generic "French" and "Italian" loaves, there can be a world of difference.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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Shbobdb posted:

If you are buying the nicer breads at the store, the difference is pretty minimal except:

1) You will rarely get the super awesome, fresh-from-the-oven warm awesomeness

and

2) You will spend around $5 for something where the ingredients cost, at most, $0.50.

For me, bread is a poverty food. When I am tight on cash, that is when I eat bread. And, unsurprisingly, when I am tight on cash the difference between $5 and $0.50 is critical.

Yeah, this is the big difference.

I don't know where you live SymmetryrtemmyS but I've never seen half decent bread in a store cost a minimum of $10

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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circ dick soleil posted:

I'd really like to know if there's some easy way to recreate the flavor of processed, sliced whole grain bread specifically. My palate is just too developed to stomach white bread

Ahahahhahhhaahahah jesus christ, what a completely ridiculous statement. Your palate is "too developed" but you're asking how to recreate sandwich bread from a bag. Get over yourself.




Anyway the issue with recreating most sandwich breads is twofold. One, you'll want to let it proof at least a couple of times I find, in order to get the airier sort of crumb you're seeking. Secondly, these doughs are enriched with fat, dairy, and dough conditioners. The latter includes ingredients like polysorbate 60 and mono- and diglycerides, each of which are used as bread softeners. Lecithin, too. Egg yolks are comprised of about 9% lecithin by weight, I believe.

My recommendations:

1. Find a white sandwich bread dough recipe that seems good - I always recommend Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice as an excellent, excellent starting point.
2. Use a loaf pan
3. Replace some of the water with milk
4. Add a little extra butter to the dough
5. Incorporate an egg yolk. You're unlikely to taste much of the egg when it's a ratio of one yolk to a whole loaf.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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SymmetryrtemmyS posted:

I know I'm not mediaphage but honestly I really like Reinhart's breads. read The Bread Baker's Apprentice or at least the bits about whatever bread you want and you have a good starting point in terms of technique as well as taste, IMO

^

Really though, unless you're adding some sort of weird, expensive ingredient to your breads, I find that all bread is cheap. For daily eatin' bread, I usually just do a generic two-day boule with a pre-ferment that sits in the fridge overnight.

My all time favorite thing to make, though, are buttermilk dinner rolls. They're just so, so much better than storebought rolls that many people buy - you know, the ones in the disposable aluminum tin? And so soft, so fluffy. So amazing warm from the oven, torn open with butter melting down them. Yum.

Also, you might wish to look into the no-knead bread that is still popular around the Internet. It's pretty nice for making regular little crusty loaves.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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WaterIsPoison posted:

I finally made amazing biscuits after many failed attempts. Recipe from Kevin Gillespie's cookbook (which is fantastic by the way)


Nice! They look delicious. I love making buttermilk biscuits. Practically my favorite thing to do for breakfast when I have guests staying over. Or when it's just us. OKAY FINE ALSO WHEN IM BY MYSELF.

You should make some sausage/veg sausage gravy to go with. Split one open, butter, pour gravy on top. Awesometown.

I keep meaning to try out Nancy Silverton's biscuits:



They're basically 'just' a laminated biscuit dough.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
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In re pumpkin bread: just find a well-reviewed pumpkin muffin recipe. There's essentially no difference between muffins and pumpkin/carrot/zucchini/banana breads save for baking tin.

LoonShia posted:

A bit late, but I have a recipe for gluten-free bread that tastes great, looks pretty, and can be improved upon with simple things (such as spices, psyllium husks, citrus zest, whatnot). Here we go.

Ingredients:
8 g active dry yeast
400 ml warm (37C/99F) water
25 ml vegetable oil
7 ml (1.5 teaspoon) salt
450 g gluten-free flour mix

Instructions:
1. Mix the flour mix, yeast and salt in a bowl.
2. Add oil and water. Stir until mixed.
3. With dough-hooks or similar, mix vigorously for at least five minutes. The finished dough will resemble heavy cake mixture.
4. Pour into a greased loaf tin.
5. Cover with clingfilm or suchlike. Brush with water. Leave for 35ish minutes. Go read GWS.
6. Brush with water for colour.
7. Bake in lowest part of oven at 200C (400F) for about 25 minutes.
8. Eat.

Baking gluten-free bread is surprisingly similar to baking normal bread. The main difference is in the dough. It's sticky, and doesn't lend itself to shaping. It rises fine in the oven, but not very far before then (during the first leavening). The sticky dough does not impact the finished product, which is about as fluffy as normal white bread.

I hope that helps!

This is sort of useful to people. The problem is that non-gluten flour blends vary wiiiiildly. Some are useful for 'bread' and some aren't. I will say this - even the best non-gluten breads, if we're talking about sliced loaves, aren't very good at all.

For everything else, though, I really like Ideas in Food's "What Iif Flour". It's their version of the expensive Cup4Cup blend.

SymmetryrtemmyS posted:

If breading in a cast iron skillet, is it recommended to preheat or no?

I guess it depends on the kind of bread you're making. I definitely pre-heated it for the popular no-knead breads as well as when I do cornbreads.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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NightConqueror posted:

If you're going to go the route of using pans to bake your bread in, I'd suggest you ditch the skillet and get a cheap dutch oven. With that you can get get crispy, shiny crusts by using the lid, which steams the bread. Take if off halfway through and bake, and you'll get nice loaves.

For enriched loaves the benefit of searingly-high heat isn't as beneficial. If you're making a nice soft loaf, like a Vienna bread or a pain de mie you want lower heat for longer. The added fats and sugars in the bread will brown way too quickly if you try and bake it like a no-knead bread, and you'll end up with a burnt loaf that's underbaked inside.

Agreed with this. The dutch oven is what I used to excellent result. A skillet isn't going to offer you that high hydration environment that a dutch oven is.

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mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

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One of the reasons it works well is because it creates a humid environment. You can replicate this by preheating a jelly roll pan in your oven with your stone, and setting your oven temp 50 degrees higher. When you dump your dough in, drop some ice cubes or a couple of cups of water onto the pan and shut the door.

Wait a minute, then open and spray your oven walls with water. Wait thirty seconds, and do it again. Close your oven and lower the temp back to your standard baking temperature you wanted.

This will create a fair amount of steam in your oven, and aid in the sort of spring you want from your breads.

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